In the center of the screen, there is an electronic keyboard, and Ponay, wearing a hat, sang the song passionately, saying, “Our guest requests this song.” As you listened, you noticed that the singing style is somewhat different from the familiar one, but you were deeply drawn into this joyful atmosphere. Audiences who watch “Ponay's Original Style Cover” videos always respond like this: “It's so catchy! I even forget how the original song goes after listening,” “I always burst into laughter when I come here! It's so much fun!”
Ponay, born in Xiaogang Tribe in Taitung, was originally a dancer in the Bulareyaung Dance Company before founding the " Ponay's Original Style Cover” YouTube channel. Due to the performance requirements, Ponay first experienced the electronic keyboard. Faced with an unfamiliar instrument, Ponay spent almost every day and night holding the electronic keyboard in the room, practicing and exploring. During this process, Ponay discovered the recording accompaniment function and began to pick up the microphone and sing freely in the room. Encouraged by roommates, Ponay founded " Ponay's Original Style Cover " to share daily singing routines through videos.
"It's actually when we used to go singing in the past, we liked to imitate the tribal elders' singing. They would sing popular songs in their own style, and we found it very funny, heartwarming, pleasant to listen to, and enjoyable."
Driven by the fun of it, they reinterpret popular music through adaptation. However, within this short song, behind this joyful performance scene lies countless hours of hard work, involving weeks of lyric changes, rearrangements, and practice to finally present a recorded version of a song. They also use the song to share their love for life, music, and dance.
In “Ponay's Original Style Cover” song renditions, there are always numerous hidden surprises. Ponay not only imitates the singing style and enunciation of the elders but also focuses on rearranging melodies, adding lyrics, and incorporates elements like native languages, traditional tunes, or even playful key changes and improvisations. Creative touches can be found throughout.
"Come on, let's welcome our special guest!"
Suddenly, a celebrity appeared in the video, either by rising from their own makeshift stage or popping out from under a blanket. Ponay laughs and admits it may seem cheesy, but it brings back a sense of carefree nostalgia reminiscent of childhood playdates with friends in the tribal community.
Originally, the videos were intended simply to document and share the joy of playing the piano in daily life. Surprisingly, they gained quite a bit of attention on the internet, leading to invitations to collaborate with renowned artists like Samingad, A-Lin, Princess Ai, Suming, and more. Unbeknownst to them, some internet users playfully dubbed their space as "possibly the tiniest room where the most celebrities have sung songs."
Apart from collaborations with mainstream artists, you can also frequently spot members of the tribal community in their videos. They aim to not only blend traditional elements with songs but also collaborate with tribal friends to spark the essence of tribal life, showcasing the various facets of life. "Because this is how we sing in our tribal community!"
This joyful atmosphere continuously spreads, introducing a different way of life among indigenous people to those who have never encountered or heard indigenous people singing popular songs in this unique manner.
In recent live performances by Ponay, it's not just Ponay on stage singing and playing solo; instead, a " Ponay's Original Style Big Band" has been formed, presenting themselves to the audience in a band format. "Actually... I've always dreamt of having my own band since I was a kid. Don't let my pop song performances fool you; I grew up listening to rock music!"
The idea to form a band might also be attributed to Ponay's adventurous and playful nature, a desire to see what kind of sparks could fly from combining aboriginal singing style with rock music. Initially, there was some discomfort during band rehearsals; it seemed that the aboriginal-style was more suited for the electronic keyboard. It wasn't until a colleague suggested, "Why don't you try changing your singing style a bit? Make your voice blend in more with the band," that Ponay considered adapting. At that time, Ponay's understanding was, "I want to become a rock musician," so there were indeed some differences in singing style compared to what was seen on YouTube.
Through gradual practice and adaptation, the stage was no longer a one-person show. Adjusting the singing style allowed " Ponay's Original Style Big Band " to present themselves as a cohesive unit rather than just accompaniment. Ponay also learned to take care of other band members, harmonizing both vocally and in the casual banter during performances.
The members of Ponay's band are all highly accomplished and have received numerous awards. Some of them have even won Golden Melody Awards and are often hired by many well-known bands and artists. Sakinu, a guitarist from the Paiwan tribe in Jinlun, Taitung, So‘ir Linhan, an Amis tribe drummer from the Dulan tribe in Taitung, Kangpay, a bassist from the Puyuma tribe in Jianhe tribe in Taitung, Paylang, a keyboardist from the Paiwan and Puyuma tribes in Maran and Ali Pala tribes in Taitung, and Fan Fan, a Tayal tribe vocal harmony artist from Tai'an Township, Miaoli. They have built a strong bond and synergy among themselves through continuous collaboration and mutual support.
Ponay's performances have created a new look for the "Original Style Singing," and perhaps Ponay's Original Style Big Band is on its way to defining a new style of "Original Style Rock."
Onstage and in front of the camera, Ponay always exudes a confident and dazzling aura. When asked about the secret to building confidence, Ponay thought for a moment and said, "It's through countless hours of practice. I have to know that I'm in a good state before I can display the confidence that everyone sees."
Whether as a dancer, singer, or YouTuber, Ponay is passionate about performing on stage. However, the journey to mastering the stage is not always glamorous. Faced with initial unfamiliarity, it takes repeated refinement, scrutiny, self-reflection, and learning to turn imperfection into perfection. In Ponay, one can see the determination that turns ten years of hard work into the result of a minute onstage. Perhaps the shining confidence in performance is the beautiful fruit of self-assurance that comes after relentless effort.