CHAIYA MITCHAI became the top of Thailand recently when his debut single, ‘Krantong Long Tang (The Lost Krantong),’ became a retail and radio hit for the Right Music label. At 19, Mitchai offers a rags-to-riches tale of the ’90s. He was a ‘temple boy,’ or orphan, of the Sa-Kaew temple and has been a singer since he was 7. While other pop stars in Thailand have entered show business via TV or movie exposure, Mitchai emerged as an actor on Likay, a less recognized channel featuring Thai pastoral performing arts. His good looks and feminine voice attracted fans within and beyond the urban center of Bangkok, and his current concert schedule is booked into next year. Yet it was an accident involving Mitchai last year during the filming of a music video that prompted front-page stories about the singer in the country’s biggest newspaper, Thai Rath, and propelled him into the national spotlight. Tales of his background as an orphan provoked pity and affection among female fans ranging from teens to senior citizens, many of whom were already fans of his Likay performances.