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Nat Ho: Nat-ural progression

Singapore singer-actor Nat Ho opens up about the intense artiste training course he had undergone in Taiwan over the past few months, and reflects on his journey to become a singer.

SINGAPORE: Singapore singer-actor Nat Ho has changed quite a bit.

The 29-year-old looked much leaner and more muscular than he did nine months ago, when he filmed “Soup of Life”, a Singapore drama about the lives of people working in a coffee shop which recently started airing.

He also had a sort of quiet confidence that wasn’t there before, when he met the media at a "Soup of Life" publicity event.

What happened to him in those nine months?

Ho revealed that he had been accepted by a Taiwan management agency, and had been undergoing “intense training” over these past months in preparation for his big musical comeback, after “Soup of Life” wrapped.

“Intense” is actually a bit of an understatement.

“In the morning I have to do my own preparation, then after that I go for Chinese lessons, then I have three hours of gym, one hour of cardio."

“And after that, I have three back to back dance lessons. Then the cycle just repeats,” said Ho with a chuckle.

“It was basically Artiste Boot Camp!”

He also got injured on numerous occasions due to the sheer intensity of the training and his relatively poor physical conditioning at the time.

“Somewhere in the middle of the training I was questioning myself ‘Why am I doing this?’” said Ho with a grimace.

However, he persevered, and the rigorous training regime has paid off – he has lost more than eight kilogrammes and reduced his body fat percentage to just ten.

His singing and dancing has also improved.

But why not do all that in Singapore instead of going overseas?

Ho paused for a moment to collect his thoughts.

 “A lot of people ask me why I left Singapore, even though I was doing quite well.

“I think it’s quite liberating ... starting from scratch,” said Ho.

He explained that the relative anonymity he enjoyed in Taiwan gave him the chance to do many things he probably could not do as an artiste here, like join classes to improve his skills without feeling too embarrassed about it.

“Basically, when I go to Taiwan I can just learn things without any baggage, without anybody judging me,” said Ho.

“I am taking this as a growing experience and a test, a way to prove to myself I can do it, that I’m not just lucky … that I have the goods.”

Ho would probably be the first to admit he has a long way to go.

After all, he had only recently moved out from a hostel, and is still living off an advance his management agency pays him.

But the singer, who had previously released his largely self-funded English-language mini-album "Unleashed" in 2012, remains optimistic things will work out, and says he is determined to follow his dreams.

“We have a lot of really awesome artistes that have gone before,” said Ho, referring to how Singaporean singers like Tanya Chua and Stefanie Sun are already big names in Taiwan.

“I hope to be one of them one day.”

“Soup of Life” airs every weeknight, 9pm on Channel 8.

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