Hong Kong’s multi-hyphenate golden girl
Singing is not like a job; it’s never a job. I always see every show as the first and the last.
I’ve been talking about writing a musical for way too long. It’s my next big thing. Right now, I’m celebrating my 25th year in showbiz, so I’ve got lots of other things going on. I’ve got a new album coming out and then a new world tour, and that’s going to take me up till the end of next year. It’s an extensive tour! And then I really should try to put a musical together.
I see China having her own West End or Broadway. It’s a big enough country. I think the audience needs something like that. I want [mine] to be an original composition and in Chinese because, for now, we don’t have this industry.
If it came to a choice of [writing] either a comedy or tragedy, I think I’d go for the former. Although my favourite musical is Les Misérables. And the Chinese audience is actually into tear-jerking stuff.
For the Rent world tour [in 2015], we did 70-odd shows in three months around the world. So that was quite intense. You’ve got to train up your stamina and then know how to use your voice and not over-strain your vocal chords. There’s quite a bit of hard work involved.
My husband and I find it hard to find time to be together. So [in 2014], we thought “let’s just go for it.” We set a date and took three months off to go places we’re not familiar with. My husband is from Europe [Germany], and we’ve travelled extensively there, so it ended up being the southern hemisphere.
Miami was the starting point; then we went down to Peru, Bolivia and Argentina – we took tango lessons in Buenos Aires. Then [we went] down to Patagonia, Chile and then hopped across the South Pacific and went to Easter Island, then Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia.
If you’re really into creepy crawlies, I highly recommend the Amazon [rainforest] to you. They were crawling on us, all over the place. It was quite eye opening, especially for a city girl coming from Hong Kong. At night, well – there are the sounds. It’s so loud that you can’t sleep.
I got to see these beautiful macaws. We had to get up at 3am in the morning, and we took a boat in total
darkness. I don’t know how our guide did it. We just made our way up the river before dawn. So, while we were having breakfast, the macaws were also having breakfast, literally licking the clay on the shores of this river for the minerals. They were just “wow!” Flying everywhere around us with the beautiful colours.
I’ve always loved Italy. It’s written in the stars. I think it all started because I applied for a scholarship to study in Italy, and then ever since – in one way or another – I eventually get connected back to Italy somehow. And who wouldn’t love a place like Italy, right?
I was very honoured to be the first Chinese pop singer to do a solo concert in Italy, [in Milan, in 2016.] And that started paving the way for other singers, because then last year a couple of other [Chinese] singers also held their concerts in Italy.
I was named Cultural Ambassador for [the Italian city of ] Bergamo the same year. They took me around, and we had a little ceremony at the town hall and they presented me with a plaque, so it was quite official. They’ve only ever awarded this thing to three other people, and they were Maria Callas, Elton John and Pavarotti. I’m like, “Wow, and then me? You’ve got to be joking!”
I’ve been concentrating more on my music [than on films] in recent years. I started producing my own albums and writing my music, so I ended up having more opportunities on the music side of things. It’s not like I’m not doing films anymore, but I haven’t been actively looking for scripts and stuff like that.
I’m teaming up with my brother, Trevor [Morris] to create our own film projects. He graduated from Cambridge with a PHD in law, but he’s always been really into writing stuff, he’s a very creative guy. Last year he published a short story series. It’s like the Chinese version of Sherlock Holmes.
The whole film scene has been changing quite a bit. I think it started from the mid 2000s – we started having a lot of co-productions with China, so it’s not just Hong Kong people making Hong Kong movies. It’s for the whole Chinese audience.
People ask me if I diet all the time. They suppose I’m constantly on the craziest diet or some workout, but I’m fortunate to be blessed with really good genes. I eat all sorts of things. I’m always hungry, I keep eating, but I don’t put on weight. My husband puts extra cream in our pasta! He’s keen on having me put on a few kilos, but it doesn’t happen.
I try to be as responsible as possible [on social media], to make sure [each post] is something that I want to say and express. There are pros and cons I suppose [to having 37 million followers on Weibo]. I don’t think too much of it.