Alvin Chong is all ready for a change. The boy-next-door cutie has now transformed into a strapping young man, and even got his head shaved.

Granted, it was for a movie – he nabbed the leading role in local Lunar New Year flick Huat The Fish – but it was a pretty extreme move all the same, as not many young male artistes would be so willing to part with their crowning glory.

“I can’t tell you how many times friends have asked me how I could bear to do that,” shared Chong, who plays one of four foolish fishermen in the movie which was filmed at Pulau Ketam.

Chong, who hails from Penang, was speaking at a recent press conference to launch his latest single Born This Way, an easy-listening Mandarin track that has been enjoying a lot of radio play of late.

Recently signed to Hashtag Entertainment, Chong decided to try his hand at composing with his third release.

“Previously, I only tried to write lyrics. This is the first song that I composed the melody myself. I’d hum the tune and record it using my phone. When I first wrote it, the lyrics were in English. Then I asked someone to help me write the Chinese lyrics,” said Chong, 24.

He revealed that he taught himself how to play the guitar from watching YouTube videos two years ago.

Although Chong is Chinese-educated, he somehow prefers writing songs in English. “When I write songs, I tend to think in English. I don’t know why; maybe it’s because I listen to more English songs,” said the young man, who has opened for Hong Kong stars like Eason Chan and Justin Lo as well as for homegrown artiste Nicholas Teo during their KL concerts.

Alvin Chong

Chong hopes his fans will accept his new image. Photo: The Star/Ong Soon Hin

According to Chong, the single Born This Way was initially a song about heartbreak. “In the demo version of this song, it was about a girl who rejected my proposal. I’m kind of an introvert, so I don’t know how to express myself. Then I started to strum the guitar and write English lyrics for the English version of this song, which I initially titled Valentine.

“The Mandarin version is about being my own true self. Because previously, when I was signed to other labels, they had certain perceptions about how they wanted to market me.

“That is why I’ve come out with this song; I hope that everybody can recognise this new me and accept this transformation,” stressed Chong, who will also release a Malay single soon.

Chong is a multi-award-winning singer who has garnered local accolades for his hit singles The Days Without You and Sadly It’s Not You. He has also sung on the soundtracks of local movies like Ah Beng The Movie: Three Wishes (2012), Ah Beng: Mission Impossible (2013), 3 Brothers (2014), and The Dream Boyz (2015).

After cameo roles in a few movies, Chong landed starring roles in local Chinese movies like Jack Lim’s family comedy 3 Brothers and Ryon Lee’s coming-of-age flick The Dream Boyz.

Not bad for a young man who made his debut only four years ago, after taking part in Astro Star Quest 2009.