She hopes to re­live mem­o­ries of 1993 for her fans

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - EN­TER­TAIN­MENT - By CHEN NAN chen­nan@chi­

It was a big year when Coco Lee was 18. It was in 1993 that she par­tic­i­pated in the an­nual New Tal­ent Singing Awards held in Hong Kong and she was the first run­ner-up by per­form­ing Whit­ney Hous­ton’s hit, Run to You. It won her a record­ing con­tract, which en­abled her to re­lease her de­but al­bum, Love From Now On, the next year.

The young singer, who was born in Hong Kong and based in San Fran­cisco, then made a great ef­fort to launch her mu­sic ca­reer. She left her home, did her own makeup and went to work by rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle.

“I would sit in the backstage for a whole day, wear­ing heavy makeup and wait­ing for my name to be called,” she re­calls. “But when I per­formed on­stage, I never felt tired and I knew I be­longed there.”

Decades later, she is one of the best sell­ing pop di­vas. With her on­go­ing tour, ti­tled 18, Lee hopes to bring back all her mem­o­ries of that year of des­tiny and share them with her fans.

Go­ing ahead

Start­ing from Shen­zhen this May, she is also vis­it­ing other Chi­nese cities, in­clud­ing Shang­hai and Bei­jing, and will take this tour abroad by per­form­ing at New York, Los An­ge­les and Toronto.

“So far, the tour is amaz­ing. I feel touched when the au­di­ences sing with me from the be­gin­ning to the end,” says Lee. “The show is very en­ter­tain­ing. You don’t have to know all my sin­gle songs. You don’t have to be a fan for very long time. But you can still be en­ter­tained. There are lots of danc­ing, cos­tumes and you re­ally get to un­der­stand who I am as a per­son and as an artist. You hear sto­ries, my views on love, life and mu­sic. Over­all, the show is about pos­i­tiv­ity, it’s about lift­ing peo­ple up. When you leave, you feel happy.”

“I par­tic­i­pate in ev­ery sin­gle de­tail of the tour, be­ing the pro­ducer, the cre­ative direc­tor. It has to be from me, has to be my vi­sion, has to be my emo­tion, and has to be my story,” she adds.

From the light­ing, the LED con­tent and laser ef­fects, to the cos-

It has to be from me, has to be my vi­sion, has to be my emo­tion, and has to be my story.” Coco Lee, pop star

tumes and mu­sic ar­range­ment, Lee says that she is a very vis­ual per­son. When she thinks of her show or one song, she thinks of the whole en­tire im­age.

As for the pro­gram list, she wrote down the songs she loves. She also asked fans to give her their fa­vorite songs to con­sider.

“That’s why it took me a long time to make a tour. I gained a lot of white hair and had sleep­less nights, but it’s to­tally worth it,” says Lee. Her last tour was about seven years ago.

Mu­sic heals souls

Ever since she broke onto the scene, the pop star has been known for her wide vo­cal range and en­er­getic im­age on screen and on­stage. She is the only Chi­nese-Amer­i­can singer to per­form at the Os­cars and has been a hit in Asia since 1993, with her unique mix of R&B and hip-hop as well as her love bal­lads.

With about 30 al­bums re­leased in Man­darin, Can­tonese and English, Lee has kept a bal­anced life af­ter mar­ry­ing Cana­dian busi­ness­man Bruce Rock­owitz in 2011. Fans can only get a glimpse of her by watch­ing some singing-com­pe­ti­tion re­al­ity TV show, in which Lee worked as one of the judges.

Her last al­bum, Il­lu­mi­nate, was re­leased in 2013, for which Lee per­formed not only trade­mark dance elec­tronic mu­sic, but also rock ’n’ roll and reg­gae for the first time.

Her most re­cent per­for­mance on screen was early in 2016, when she par­tic­i­pated in the fourth sea­son I Am a Singer, pro­duced and aired by Hu­nan Satel­lite TV Sta­tion.

She won the night with songs, in­clud­ing A Love Be­fore Time, the theme from Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Dragon that had taken her to the Os­cars stage in 2001. Re­vis­it­ing that ca­reer high­light, Lee per­formed that song while wear­ing the same red gown she wore at the Academy Awards.

“As the cur­tain went up, I was to­tally in the zone,” re­calls Lee of her mo­ment at the Academy Awards. “It was like when I per­formed at the singing con­test in 1993. I saw the stage as my own place.”

For Lee, singing and per­form­ing are about shar­ing sto­ries.

“Some­times you feel you are lost or sad. You need an in­spi­ra­tion. You need an an­swer. You can find it in mu­sic, in a song. Or the song gives you com­fort. That’s what mu­sic does to me. I want my songs do the same thing to my fans,” Lee says.

Lee’s father died be­fore she was born. As the youngest of three daugh­ters, Lee says that she is grate­ful that all her fam­ily mem­bers are very sup­port­ive of her ca­reer.

Balanc­ing work and fam­ily, she says, is some­thing she is still learn­ing.

“I have a great sup­port from my fam­ily,” she says. “They come to ev­ery sin­gle show. My hus­band un­der­stands how hard I work.”


When Coco Lee thinks of her show or one song, she thinks of the whole en­tire im­age.

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