As an events host, singer, actor, and director, Max Tiu has made a successful name for himself in the local entertainment industry. He also recently took part in the project, Dragon Music Season, wherein he sings and soothes the hearts of the Chinoy elderly who have been affected by the pandemic.
Tiu has always had the talent and passion for singing and has performed and directed in various concerts that caters to his beloved Filipino-Chinese community. He has also dabbled in theatrical acting with Chancel Repertory, including playing the role of an emcee and friend of Enchong Dee’s character in Mano Po 7.
Tiu is also a multilingual performer, fluent in English, Mandarin, Fukien, and Filipino. This has given him the opportunity to host and perform in numerous private events of affluent Filipino and Chinese families, overseas workers, foreign nationals, politicians, other high-profile Chinoys, and international Chinese superstars.
In an exclusive interview, we ask Tiu about his successful career journey in the industry.
1. What do you love about singing?
I have always been in love with music as a child. I remember going through all our records at home, carefully picking them out of the file, playing them on the turntable, and singing along. This would instantly lift my spirits. The same is true today. Singing for me is a way of expressing myself, sharing my emotions with the listeners.
2. How did you get into acting?
I generally love the performing arts. That said, acting is something that interests me as well. I started out with stage plays in school, eventually auditioning for parts outside school. Although in recent years, acting has unfortunately taken a back seat due to my crazy schedule.
3. What do you love about acting?
Acting is great because you get to either portray something that is totally different from your own persona or you get to dig deep within yourself and bring out all those unresolved emotions. It’s very therapeutic!
4. What were your most memorable singing and acting performances and why?
A lot of them are memorable, but due to different reasons. Whether it’s taking a risk, or people praising you for a job well done after. But the one that sticks out to me the most, as of the moment, is when a group of listeners came up to me after a performance and told me that the songs were so honestly performed, that they were moved to tears. That’s pretty heartwarming! As for acting, the 700 club stint is still the most memorable one for me because it took a lot of internalization and it was for a great cause.
5. How did you get into hosting?
I got started when a good friend of mine, Charmaine (an impressive singer who also performed in two Dragon Music Season episodes), practically forced me to host her 18th birthday bash. A lot of hesitation at first, but since she is a close friend, I had to give in. I got my first professional gig after that event.
6. You speak multiple languages. May we ask about your experience learning them? Has being multi-lingual benefited you/your career?
Being fluent in different languages is a plus in any field. Luckily, I went to a Chinese school, St. Stephen’s High School, where I learned all the basics. My proficiency in English, Mandarin, Filipino, and Fukien has helped me book clients of different backgrounds.
7. Were there any struggles that you encountered along the way career-wise? How did you overcome them?
Definitely, because I started out at a time when events hosting wasn’t a necessity, it was a mere luxury! Not all people would book a professional host for their events at that time. It was a really slow yet steady climb. It took a lot of professionalism, hard work, and perseverance to get to where I am today. And after 24 years, I still don’t think I’m there yet!
8. May we ask how your family felt about you entering show business?
My family, not unlike the entire Chinoy community at that time, has no problems when it comes to the performing arts. It only became an issue when I started to do it professionally. Typical Chinese mentality: “Business is the only way to go.” Although I completely understand where they are coming from, I am a person driven by passion, and performing is my passion. However, this has greatly changed over the years, as they are now a 110% behind me, supporting me in every way.
9. Any message you’d like to impart to young aspiring singers, actors, and hosts?
Just follow your dreams! Be professional, ethical, and in love with your job. Most importantly, never step on anyone as you climb up the ladder of success.