Singer Kimberley Chen to critics: I can't wear a bikini to go swimming?

Australian singer Kimberley Chen got quite a bit of attention last year, but not for her music.

The Taiwan-based star had posted photos of herself in a bikini, walking her dogs at what appeared to be a train station.

Some netizens criticised her attire as inappropriate, while others complimented her figure.

In an interview over Google Meet with Singapore media last Wednesday to promote her recent singles, the singer responded to reports on the incident.

The 26-year-old said: “I was taking my dogs to go swimming, so I was wearing swimwear. Everyone wants to put the emphasis on my body. I think it is disgraceful… I was going swimming – do you mean I can’t wear a bikini to go swimming?”

Asked if the reports had changed her dog-walking attire in any way, she replied: “Is there a problem with the clothes I wear? Why should I pay attention to what I wear?”

No stranger to the limelight, Chen started out as a child star at age six, singing and dancing on Australian national television.

As a child, she also performed the role of young Nala in The Lion King stage musical in Melbourne, and appeared as a child model for the Australian version of television game show The Price Is Right.

After moving to Taiwan, she competed in Taiwanese singing competition One Million Star. In 2012, she released her self-titled debut album, with the effervescent track Love You becoming a runaway hit.

With another two albums – Kimbonomics (2013) and #Tag Me (2017) – under her belt, Chen joined record label ChynaHouse Digital earlier this year, and has since released the singles 9 Million and 4am Calls. These deal with more mature subjects than her previous work.

For example, the spunky R&B track 4am Calls is about staying away from men who toy with women’s emotions.

In the music video, Chen plays an employee in a diner when one such man, played by her real-life boyfriend, Taiwan-born singer Albert Lin, enters.

Chen believes everyone will see the humour in casting Lin in the role. After all, their relationship is “very good”, she said.

However, she has had experiences with “rubbish men”.

For example, she once fancied a man who was not serious about relationships. “I stopped liking him because I saw through him,” she revealed, adding that this experience inspired the song.

In the groovy number 9 Million, Chen sings about doing what she wants and having nine million dollars in her bank account.

When asked if this amount was in US dollars or New Taiwan dollars, she laughed and replied good-naturedly: “Both, both.” She said she used the figure nine because she felt it was a “nice” number.

Chen’s future plans include releasing an album around the end of the year. It will include a variety of musical styles, such as ballads.

Given her background as a child star, who grew up in the public eye, might there be different expectations of her, compared with other celebrities?

“I do not really know what expectations audiences have of me. I only know what expectations I have for myself,” she replied.

“I think the fans who really support me – the very loyal fans – they will want me to be truly myself and not pretend.”

• 9 Million and 4am Calls are available on online music platforms such as KKBox, Spotify and Apple Music. Their music videos can be viewed at bit.ly/3jdd3vq and bit.ly/2EpnAUN respectively.

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