QUES­TIONS WITH Hen­ley Hii

The Sabah- born artiste ex­plores new mu­si­cal gen­res in his lat­est al­bum Take Me Home.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By SETO KIT YAN en­ter­tain­ment thes­tar. com. my

IS Hen­ley Hii a singer or an ac­tor?

The Sabah- born artiste iden­ti­fies him­self as a singer, as he kicked off his show­biz ca­reer in mu­sic af­ter emerg­ing cham­pion in sea­son two of the Malaysian ver­sion of the re­al­ity singing com­pe­ti­tion Project Su­per­star.

But af­ter a suc­cess­ful stint in act­ing which saw him star in a string of pop­u­lar lo­cal tele­vi­sion se­ri­als ( The Beat and A Time To

Em­brace) and lo­cal films ( Ke­pong Gang­ster 1 and 2), Hii won­ders whether fans know him bet­ter as a singer or an ac­tor, to the ex­tent that he ac­tu­ally did a ran­dom street sur­vey to find out.

“When peo­ple see me, they ei­ther think of me as a gang­ster or a po­lice­man ( which he played in lo­cal TV drama On The Brink),” Hii re­marked, dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view.

“I started off in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try as a singer. Mu­sic is what I love, so I want to keep mak­ing good mu­sic,” said the 31- yearold artiste.

Hii re­cently re­leased the seven- track al­bum Take Me Home, in which he ex­plores new mu­si­cal gen­res as well as show­case his song­writ­ing tal­ents. He com­posed the tunes for six songs and penned the lyrics for three, two of which are in English.

. ou ac­tu­ally did a ran­dom street sur­vey to find out whether peo­ple thought of you as a singer or an ac­tor. How did that turn out?

It was ac­tu­ally quite bal­anced. Sev­eral iden­ti­fied me as both a singer and an ac­tor. But the singer tag had a few more hits, and many peo­ple could ac­tu­ally sing my songs. It’s been more than three years since my last al­bum, and I have been in­volved in mostly act­ing projects in that space of time, so I am thank­ful that peo­ple still re­mem­ber me as a singer.

2. Tell us about the two English

songs you wrote for this al­bum.

The ti­tle track Take Me Home is an English song that is in­spired by reg­gae, a genre that is not nor­mally ex­plored by Chi­nese mu­si­cians in general. Time Is Love I wrote while I was work­ing on the pro­mo­tion of the watch brand Solvil Et Ti­tus ( as its brand am­bas­sador).

. Dearly Stranger is a hi­nese cover of Mungkin Nanti a alay song made pop­u­lar by ndone­sian rock band Peter­pan now known as NOAH). What is the story be­hind that?

Mungkin Nanti was a Malay song that was very pop­u­lar some 12 years ago. We spent a few months get­ting the copy­right li­cence for the song, be­cause they wanted to know what the Chi­nese lyrics were. We got Percy Phang to write the new Chi­nese lyrics.

When I first recorded Dearly Stranger, those who heard it thought it sounded familiar but couldn’t place it. Some even thought it was an English song and ac­tu­ally some­how man­aged to sing the song us­ing English words! 4. What is the one spe­cial thing about Take Me Home that you can not find else­where?

There is a sur­prise hid­den some­where in the al­bum. If you search care­fully, you can ac­tu­ally find the co­or­di­nates that will take you to my home in Kota Kinabalu. If you do want to pay a visit, my mother will wel­come you as she loves hav­ing guests. 5. What up­com­ing projects are you cur­rently busy with?

It’s quite a busy time for me. I’ve got a cou­ple of movies com­ing up. Then, there is also the state­ment T- shirt ven­ture that I am work­ing on with some friends. We’ve al­ready de­signed some of the T- shirts.

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