Five years ago, five showbiz friends got together to produce a Chinese New Year (CNY) album.

Dr Soo Wincci, Cindy Chen, Victor Lee, Jac Wu and Joyce Lim released their first festive album Five Happiness in 2014.

That album was well-received and even scored a nomination for Best CNY album at the Malaysia PWH Music Awards.

In 2019, the friends are back at it again. This year, however, local singer-songwriter Jyin Poh has joined the team to replace Soo who is currently pursuing a Post Master Fellowship In Live Music Production at Berklee Valencia College Of Music in Spain.

Poh may be the newbie in the Five Happiness team, but she had no problem fitting in as she dabbles as a programme host on Pentagon Online TV (on YouTube) alongside Lee, Chen and Wu.

“Our new songs are lighthearted, yet do not break with tradition,” said Poh during the launch of the album.

Five Happiness Returns CNY albumAccording to Lee, they decided to make another CNY album because they wanted to gather and have fun.

“This CNY album is a musical project to commemorate our friendship. After a hiatus of five years, we got together again to make some happy music,” Lee said.

“Instead of the usual ‘dong dong qiang’, we’ve filled the album with songs that can be played during any festive occasion, not just Chinese New Year. (For example) during the Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Winter Solstice or even Christmas, all of which are occasions where families gather to celebrate togetherness. We hope to popularise this kind of festive song,” Lee added.

Titled Five Happiness Returns (Wu Fu Xing You Bao Xi, in Mandarin), the album comprises five songs: Five Happiness Returns, A Tableful Joy, Let’s Cheers, Sing Along Song and Five Happiness.

Beauty queen-turned-veejay Chen admitted to being nervous while working with a team of professional singers.

“I’m not that confident with my singing, so I get jittery sometimes. And it doesn’t help that people keep asking me whether I get nervous while singing with Joyce because she always looks so serious. I’ve to tell everyone that she’s actually very nice,” she said.

Being more accustomed to romantic ballads and folk pop tunes, singer-songwriter Wu said it took a lot of effort to sound jolly during recording and look cheery at the CNY photo shoot.

“I realised that it’s really not easy to radiate that upbeat festive mood required for a CNY song. I really admire how Joyce could maintain a consistently joyful expression throughout the shoot.”

A veteran at singing festive ditties, Lim in turn praised Wu for his songwriting talent. “Jac rarely does festive songs. So, when he tried his hand at penning a CNY song for the first time, it turned out to be really refreshing,” said Lim (former child star Xiao Fong Fong, now better known by her stage name Tong Xin).

A Tableful Of Joy was composed by Wu with lyrics by Poh.

“Our previous Chinese New Year album was nominated for best CNY album. Hopefully this year, we can also reap fruitful results,” beamed Wu, who even had to lose weight to make the album.

“I got pressured by the others to get back in shape for the new album. So, a month before we shot the music video, I embarked on a fitness regime combining Tabata training and portion control.

“There really isn’t much difference in weight, but as long as I’m getting healthier, it’s good enough for me,” Wu offered.

Five Happiness Returns is priced at RM35. You can order it from fivehappinessmal@gmail.com.