There isn’t much this man couldn’t do with his charming, pearly-white grin, accented by his deep dimples as words of the English language roll off his tongue, a stark difference from his performances on the Chinese-speaking talent competition, Project Superstar, in which he won, beating 6,000 other hopefuls.

Which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise to us that he’ll be on the big screens in That Girl in Pinafore, in August, playing lead character Jia Ming, a free-spirited, music-loving teenager who sets up a band with his 3 friends.

Whether the Ngee Ann Polytechnic alumnus will make a good fit for Jia Ming, we’ll have to wait to find out.

“It’s (acting) a totally different type of skill and interest from singing. There’s much more skill involved in acting. Before every scene you have to analyse how you’re going to bring out the role. There’s a lot of research between [the director and I],” Daren tells UrbanWire.

The jump from singing to acting may also be attributed to the arduous process of creating these songs. “What people always hear on the radio—it’s beautifully recorded. What the artist is actually going through is really many, many hours of recording, in fact to a point… where the artiste will actually get sick of that song,” Daren laments.

This is Daren’s first performance on the big screen. “I’m exactly the opposite, because Jia Ming is a very down to earth, and very boy-next-door,” he says.

Despite years of being under the spotlight, Daren still forgets that he’s a public figure and hasn’t quite adjusted to fame. “People around me know me, even when I’m having my meals,” he says, “the bad thing is I’ve got to watch what I’m doing and what I say.”

Another downside of fame? “People around will expect you to do things, and expect you to grow in a certain way. But sometimes if you don’t grow in a certain way…, they’ll be kind of disappointed,” he adds, “I just want to keep an open mind about things, and do the things that I’m happy with.”

Indeed, it doesn’t seem like it takes a lot for Daren to be happy. He derives inspiration from “many things, in fact. I draw from relationships, friendships, life experiences, basically, and also… from singers that I admire”.

Daren is also set to appear in the upcoming Channel 5 series, Mata Mata, alongside the likes of George Young and Cheryl Wee.

Will Daren give up singing, though? Well, for now, the up-and-coming actor plans on more movies, but an album’s definitely in store. Taking a break from the usual Mando-pop tunes, Daren tells us, “Not really in the near future, but I definitely want to have something… like maybe a dance album or something.”


Photos courtesy of Elyss Tai—Klix Photography.