Arrival of her latest opus set to shape Lucy Cheung’s new year
A long winter, an isolated Greek island, a stone house, a lonely old man … this is where the story for the song Constant Abstract Arrivals and Constant Concrete Departures began.
During the singer-songwriter Lucy Cheung’s many travels, she encountered a Dutch man who chose a life of seclusion. Initially intending to start a new life in Greece with his beloved, he started to build this cozy little nest, but by the time the construction finished, the woman was gone.
Singing in Cantonese, Cheung relates to her own life experiences and expresses her empathy in this song.
The song serves as the title track of Cheung’s second album A Maudlin Geometry, released by Modernsky Entertainment, a Beijing-based record company.
Born in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in 1979, having lived in Beijing for 10 years, currently based in London and frequently traveling to other parts of the world, Cheung writes songs in multiple languages — Cantonese, English and Mandarin.
While rooted in folk, her music is influenced by the various styles she was exposed to while growing up.
“I have been very significantly influenced by classical music. I remember when I was little, everyday, my father would play classical music cassettes or turn on the radio,” Cheung says.
Another major influence comes from the world of jazz.
“I started to listen to a lot of jazz music when I was in high school, influenced by a radio program in Guangdong. Everyone in China knows about the heavy assignments you get given by school right before you enter university, but I found this radio station. It was my oasis, my darling, my little place of escape.”
For this new album, Cheung participated in the arrangement of each song. She also recorded all of the classical guitar accompaniment and some of the electric guitar tracks.
As a child, she was enchanted by a toy guitar she had when she was only 3 years old. Then, in the next year, she got her first real guitar.
“I always call my guitar my soul mate. I’m sometimes hurt by people, but my guitar has never betrayed me. It’s always there. I can just hold it in my arms and express myself through my guitar, and then I heal myself,” Cheung says.
However, she chose songwriting as a career instead of becoming a professional musician, a lifestyle that allowed her more time to travel and explore. She kept on writing and recording songs, and released her first album, Post Teen, in 2016.
For Cheung, music is a private space, where she does not have to make compromises.
In 2006, Cheung first visited the island of Kos in Greece, which she calls “the edge of the world”, before moving and living there between 2010 and 2012.
“It’s very clear, very pure. The house I lived in at that time had no neighborhood, and was very close to the sea, so I sort of had my own private beach,” Cheung says.
The majority of the songs on the new album were written during her stay in Greece, with a self-reflection during that phase of her life.
So far, the songs have received positive comments from Cheung’s listeners. One user of music streaming app, Xiami, named “Porsia,” says: “(Her) music and voice are both mesmerizing.”
Another listener, “Dabuyang,” says Cheung has “extraordinary personal style, incredible guitar skills”, and is “the most wonderful surprise of the year”.
In September, A Maudlin Geometry was selected among the “editor’s picks” on Apple Music, and Cheung performed her first British gig at The Water Rats pub, a well-known live music venue where the likes of Bob Dylan, The Pogues and Oasis made their London debut.
Cheung has planned a Chinese tour, beginning in March and taking in the cities of Tianjin, Beijing and Changsha in 2019. She has also vowed to continue writing, composing and traveling her way through the year.
London-based Chinese singer-songwriter Lucy Cheung has recently released her second album Maudlin Geometry.