Ar­rival of her lat­est opus set to shape Lucy Che­ung’s new year

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By CHENG YUEZHU [email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Lon­don-based Chi­nese singer-song­writer Lucy Che­ung has re­cently re­leased her sec­ond al­bum Maudlin Ge­om­e­try.

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