“No mat­ter how high you reach, you are never go­ing to reach higher than the sky.”

HK Magazine - - FIRST PERSON -

Think­ing back to my child­hood, I was do­ing ex­tra work most of the time.

I was a good stu­dent and I didn’t mess around much.

My mom wanted me to have a good ed­u­ca­tion. I stud­ied in two kinder­gartens and three pri­mary schools, each one bet­ter than the other. Each time, I had to work to get bet­ter re­sults to get into a bet­ter school.

But it made me more in­de­pen­dent and gave me less of an emo­tional at­tach­ment to these mat­ters.

No mat­ter how close I was with my friends, our friend­ships would fade away as I moved to an­other school.

This in­flu­enced me as I grew up. Many peo­ple might have strong at­tach­ments to spe­cific peo­ple, places or things, but I seem to find it eas­ier to let things go.

When I was in pri­mary six, I was se­lected to be a team mem­ber to take part in the In­ter­na­tional Math­e­mat­i­cal Olympiad.

Dur­ing the sum­mer train­ing camp, a teacher asked me to pho­to­copy some ex­er­cises in the staff room.

There was no one in the room so I messed around. I turned all the medals and cups into a golden ro­bot. Also I faked some love let­ters be­tween the teach­ers.

I was kicked out of the team.

As a mem­ber of Hong Kong Chil­dren’s Choir, I was lucky to have more chances to see the world than other kids.

The places we went on tour aren’t the usual places that Hong Kong peo­ple would go: Swe­den, Nor­way, Den­mark, Mar­seille in south­ern France and Kagoshima in Ja­pan.

I re­ally en­joyed it. I kept singing in the choir— un­til my voice broke.

I joined the debate team af­ter­wards, and soon be­came the team leader and won “Best De­bater” in pub­lic com­pe­ti­tions.

Also, I got my Grade Eight with dis­tinc­tion in pi­ano.

It was so easy to get what I wanted in my child­hood. But I didn’t know how to deal with fail­ure and set­backs.

As I grew up, there were more and more prob­lems that had to be dealt with.

I started to be­come frus­trated, even by small mat­ters. Like if I couldn’t be the most pop­u­lar per­son in a group, I would be un­happy about that. I was used to get­ting at­ten­tion from ev­ery­one.

I turned into a quiet per­son. I hid my­self away. I started not go­ing to classes in uni­ver­sity. I hid at home dur­ing the day and went out at night. My life was erod­ing away.

I met a gang­ster boy on the Hung Hom water­front. We talked about our thoughts and dreams every night for two months, and then we never met again.

Our paths might not cross again, but once we shared our dreams with each other.

That’s the in­ter­est­ing and mys­te­ri­ous part of life.

I started writ­ing lyrics. At first I just wanted to show oth­ers how smart I was and the in­ter­est­ing an­gles I could think of.

Later on, I came to re­gard it as my re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Writ­ing Can­tonese lyrics seems dif­fi­cult to most peo­ple: This tal­ent of mine is a pre­cious gift from God. I should take the re­spon­si­bil­ity and help peo­ple to write out their thoughts.

I moved to a vil­lage house in Tai Po. By al­ways look­ing at the blue sky, I re­al­ized how small we are. No mat­ter how high you reach, you are never go­ing to reach higher than the sky.

[Can­topop pro­ducer and singer] Eric Kwok called me af­ter see­ing my lyrics, and it got me the chance to write for Karen Mok, Char­lene Choi and Ea­son Chan. I was a new­bie but I got the chance to write for Ea­son!

Later I got a call from [leg­endary lyri­cist] Wy­man Wong, who asked me to join his “Shot the Lyri­cist” song­writ­ers’ union. It was a mile­stone for my ca­reer. Af­ter that I started work­ing with Pakho Chau and Phil Lam.

I used to use words and mu­sic to ex­press my thoughts. But then I thought it would be good to di­rectly ex­press my­self to au­di­ences. So last year I switched to be­ing a singer.

My most re­cent song is about a fat boy: ‘If I am smart enough, I can be fat.’ You think my style is sim­i­lar to Bruno Mars? Yeah, his mu­sic has in­flu­enced me a lot.

Why am I suc­cess­ful? There’s a the­ory I be­lieve in.

There are many peo­ple wait­ing for a bus that hasn’t come. Some leave the line be­cause it’s too hot un­der the sun. Some leave to go buy food.

Af­ter half an hour the bus has still not ar­rived, so some choose to walk or take a taxi. Soon there’s only me left in the line. So when the bus fi­nally comes, only I can get on the bus.

You have to stick to your beliefs.

Chan Wing-him has writ­ten songs for al­most every Can­topop star in Hong Kong, in­clud­ing Ea­son Chan, Pakho Chau, Joey Yung and Fiona Sit. Now the award-win­ning lyri­cist has moved from back­stage to the spot­light, with a string of suc­cess­ful sin­gles. He tells Is­abelle Hon about an over­achiev­ing child­hood, deal­ing with set­backs, and the key to suc­cess.

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