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Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards for music to rock on Saturday

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Singers nominated in this year's Golden Melody Awards: (from left) Wakin Chau, Ayal Komod, Fish Leong and G.E.M.

Singers nominated in this year's Golden Melody Awards: (from left) Wakin Chau, Ayal Komod, Fish Leong and G.E.M. (CNA photo)

The 2020 Golden Melody Awards for music, Taiwan's equivalent of the Grammys, will be held Saturday in Taipei, with over 160 nominated entries vying for 27 awards.

A total of 1,348 albums and extended play records were submitted to this year's awards, in which a total of 163 nominations will be determined by an 83-member jury, according to the Ministry of Culture's Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development.

Leading the pack this year is Indigenous Taiwanese singer Abao's (Aljenljeng Tjaluvie) second solo studio album "Kinakaian (母親的舌頭)," spearheading the way with eight nominations, including best album of the year, best album in an indigenous language and best album production.

Various tracks on the album were also nominated for awards in the categories of song of the year, best composer, best lyricist and best arrangement, while Abao was nominated for best vocalist in an indigenous language.

Abao's "Kinakaian" reflects the traditions of indigenous people and covers a wide range of topics, such as indigenous children and food, said renowned producer and lyricist Issac Chen (陳鎮川), who chairs this year's jury.

The production quality of the album allows the listener to be moved by the music even if they don't understand the language of the songs, according to Chen.

The Paiwan R&B singer received a Golden Melody Award for best duet in 2004 as a member of female duo Abao & Brandy. She received another Golden Melody Award in 2017 for best album in an indigenous language for her album "Vavayan."

However, it will be a tough decision in the song of the year category, as Abao's "Thank you" will be up against 9m88's "Airplane Mode," which features last year's best mandarin male singer Leo Wang, Lin Sheng-xiang's "Distant Journey," OSN's "Without You," G.E.M.'s "City Zoo" and Namewee's "Ghost Island," featuring rapper Dwagie.

The Taiwan-raised, New York-based soul singer 9m88 has been grabbing attention with high profile collaborations with other established artists such as American-Taiwanese R&B crooner and 2019 GMA best new artist ØZI.

Taiwanese rapper OSN also made huge waves in the Taiwanese music scene with unapologetic swift delivery of bilingual rhymes that switch between Mandarin and English with ease, such as in his romantic and confessional single "Without You."

The best female Mandarin vocalist award will probably see one of the most fiercest competitions, with singers Joanna Wang, Fish Leong, G.E.M., Peggy Hsu, Faith Yang and Waa Wei vying for the title, while Wakin Chau, J.Sheon, Ayal Komod, Namewee, Wu Qing-feng and Chiu will contend for best male Mandarin vocalist.

The nominees for Best Mandarin Album are Wang's "Love is Calling Me," G.E.M's "City Zoo," Hsu's "hypnocity," Sandee Chan's "Juvenile A," Waa Wei's "Hidden, Not Forgotten" and Wu's "Spaceman."

Meanwhile, the Special Contribution Award will go to Rich Huang, a renowned Taiwanese jazz drummer and music educator, who has been involved in the production of 100,000 singles over more than 50 years.

The 31st Golden Melody Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday at the Taipei Music Center and broadcast live on Taiwan Television Enterprise.

Music stars and pop divas will rub shoulders at the red carpet event beginning at 5 p.m., followed by the ceremony itself at 7 p.m.

The Golden Melody Awards recognizes excellence in music and is one of three major annual awards presented in Taiwan, along with the Golden Bell Awards for television and radio, and the Golden Horse Awards for film.