With 'Simply Bird', Thongchai McIntyre evokes the plain life he cherishes which everyone else wants to complicate
Published on December 12, 2007
Is this man simple?
The simple life is the way Thongchai "Bird" McIntyre wants to go, a considerable ambition for the acknowledged superstar of Thai pop music these past two decades. At 49 he remains unshaken in his determination to live his life offstage just the way he wishes.
That determination is evident on his latest album, "Simply Bird", an easy-listening selection that he says accurately reflects his private life.
"Simply Bird" the album features music that runs to rock and R&B as well as his patented brand of pop.
Meeting the press in a black jacket covering a white hooded sweatshirt, he kept the sunglasses on, as he's been doing in public for a long time now. It's another nod to the privacy he covets after 22 years in the business.
The GMM Grammy singer (and shareholder) is now tremendously wealthy as well as famous thanks to his unparalleled success in album sales and concert sell-outs. The competition never gets close, no matter what year it is. Pretenders come and go.
"Simply Bird" - the life, not the album - means shunning the limelight and skipping the celebrity events. At home he's just an ordinary guy.
"I just wear a T-shirt and jeans and I love eating rice topped with an omelette," he says. "If you don't believe me you can ask the angels in the sky whether it's true."
Bird the entertainer is a different matter. When he puts on a show he gives it his all and there's nothing simple about it. His now-legendary 1987 concert - the first in the ongoing "Baeb Bird Bird" ("Bird's Own Style") series - was such a knockout that matching its standard in every subsequent appearance has been a major challenge.
Selling tickets, of course, proves to be no challenge at all: He can perform for a week or more in a row and there's never an empty seat. (This is in spite of the popular wisdom that anyone who attends a Bird concert loses his voice singing along.)
"I've heard nice stories from my fans about how they met someone at one of my shows and fell in love and ended up getting married," he says.
As driven as Bird is when he performs, he insists that he's being entirely himself when he's onstage. "There's nothing artificial."
Not everyone is convinced. Sceptics - and there are enthusiastic fans among them - believe something is hiding behind the sunglasses. He might reveal some of himself on the new album, but he's not giving everything away.
"What about his love life?" people forever want to know. Bird isn't saying, and he's as good at weathering gossip as he is at singing. He remains a steadfast role model - few parents would mind their children emulating him.
In his music videos he's always the third party, ready to console whoever gets heartbroken. He's like an older brother when he tells kids to take it easy.
"Don't wander too far from who you really are when it comes to hope, love or effort," he says. "Try being simple, and you won't break your own heart."
Five facts for Bird-watchers
l His first album, "Haad Sai Sailom Song Rao", came out in 1986.
l More than two million copies of 1990's "Boomerang" were sold, the all-time Thai record.
l There have been 16 solo albums, 13 "special" albums and nine collaborations.
l He's starred in eight movies and 13 television series.
l He won MTV's Inspiration Award last year.