Fresh out of serving the Taiwan military, 25-year-old Jerome Liu is an accomplished musician, freelance model, and actor who enjoys significant screen time on TV for one who just started his career not too long ago.
Born and raised in Taipei, Jerome is an urban native who molded his adolescent interest in music into his modern day accomplishments, such as performing in the orchestra alongside celebrities Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰) and Mayday (五月天) at the Golden Melody Awards (金曲獎).
It all began during high school, when he suddenly became intrigued by classical music, and taught himself how to play classical instruments. Although he started relatively late compared to most musicians, he kept at his new passion, becoming a French horn major and piano minor at the Chinese Culture University in Yangminshan.
“It was really difficult,” he said. “For late starters, it takes way more time to practice. Sometimes I would stay in the practice rooms until they closed.”
However, his hard work paid off, and he went on to perform all over the country with the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation, which performs regularly at the prestigious National Concert Hall at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Then, his life took a turn when a friend introduced him to a commercial modeling agency. He was chosen from a large pool of applicants as one of only five models to receive a six-month contract for making commercials in Hunan, China. The five lived, traveled, and worked together, creating a nurturing environment for the young models to grow.
“That was a beginning for me,” he said. “I learned so much from the experience, so I wanted to keep it going upon my return to Taiwan.”
This experience then led Jerome to star in several TV drama and commercial gigs, including a tea advertisement co-starring Dee Hsu (徐熙娣).
Despite his achievements so far, Jerome said working in the industry isn’t easy. In the music industry, for example, men actually have a disadvantage, as most parents prefer music teachers to be female.
“The performing arts industry is tough to work in, especially for a guy,” he said. “There are a lot more jobs that are specifically made for women.”
Yet Jerome said he isn’t thinking about settling for a full time job anytime soon; he loves the unpredictability and excitement of working in the entertainment industry: “I don’t mind waking up in the middle of the night or working late. I enjoy the flexibility of my schedule, as long as the work is important.”
He spends his time attending many concerts in Taipei, since he loves the intake of music as much as the output. He also spends much of his free time listening to classical music CDs at the Taipei City Library.
Having grown up in Taipei, Jerome said the city is unbeatable for not only its attractions, but its warmth and hospitality. He said that he had seen many acts of kindness, from people sharing umbrellas with strangers during the pouring rain, to people becoming friends with someone who was asking for directions.
“I think due to its convenience, safety, and warmth, Taiwan is a really great place to start for backpacking beginners,” he said.
Having just returned from his military service at Dongyin Island in February, Jerome is currently adjusting back to the city life while keeping a look out for his next gig. While “stability” is not in his job description, to Jerome, nothing else matters as long as the passion is there.
“You need the support of your family and the community,” he said. “And most of all, you need your own passion to drive you to success.”