Breaking the Cantopop mold: Sophy Kayee Wong

Sophy Kayee Wong shot by Brian HK Chan in Hong Kong for Rhea Magazine

We chat with Hong Kong singer-songwriter Sophy Kayee Wong (王嘉儀) about the music industry, how she started and what keeps her motivated.

The Beginnings

I have always loved music and have been singing since I was young. My first break in the industry was in 2010 when I went on Season 1 of The Voice on TVB. It was a life-changing experience and lots of people know me now. It led me into the singing industry and since then, I am inspired to embark on this journey as a singer-songwriter.

Hong Kong's Music Industry

A lot of people say that the music industry in Hong Kong is dying but I take a completely different view - there are so many talented people in Hong Kong. The music scene is very multi-cultural and I think Cantopop has a lot of potential, especially now that the line between underground and mainstream music is blurring. It excites me to hear new sounds coming out everyday.

Why Start?

Singing is my natural passion. I have always loved singing, performing and participating anything related to music. So a big YES! Plus my mom almost gave birth to me in a karaoke room, so I think it must be destiny…!

Motivation and Inspiration

The possibilities in life are endless – and that is what keeps me motivated. The universe is telling me: “Sophy, you’re alive – you can do anything, and anything can happen!”

I don’t really have a role model because I believe what you do should really come from within… But I think my parents would be the people that motivate me – they are so supportive of my dreams and I know they love me and our family no matter what. 

Sophy Wong shot by Brian HK Chan in Hong Kong for Rhea Magazine

Musically...

I love a lot of different music genres like pop, jazz and soul and R&B. The kind of music that I want to produce is a blend and fusion of all of them – and since I write my own songs, I want the sound of it to be fresh and modern, but carry messages of empowerment and individuality to connect with everyone who listens.   

I have many musicians that I admire, but my idols have definitely changed as I have. Growing up, it was the classics: Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, etc. As I got a bit older, I turned to more singer-songwriter and alternative musicians like Tanya Chua, Sara Bareilles and Bjork. I love soul and jazz musicians like Jill Scott and Norah Jones since I spent some time on the jazz scene in New Zealand. 

Now I love artists that push the boundaries of the industry – I’m obsessed with Sandy Lam, Kimbra, FKA Twigs and Hiatus Kaiyote, to name just a few.

First Album

I am working on 4 songs right now and hopefully an EP will be out in early 2016. 

Dream or Reality?

I have to say I am very lucky and grateful that I have this opportunity. For me, everything has just happened very smoothly without much struggle because I always know what I want and who I am. This has somehow led me to where I am now.

Technology today means aspiring artists have much easier access to showcase their music to the public – so just be brave and stay true to yourself. Then take it step by step, and one day at a time. As an artist, always practice and improve your craft so you can stay ready when the opportunities come knocking on your door.

Breaking In and Staying on Top

I am definitely not on top… yet! So I don’t think I can answer that – but as to how I am breaking into the industry, I think it’s passion that keeps driving me to keep trying, work hard and challenge myself, and that is what convinces people that I am good enough. I am always open to opportunity, which opens the door to collaboration and in return, I have this amazing chance to share my passion with the world.

Favorite Color

I don’t really have one. But fashion wise, I love black. It’s minimalistic and just cool.

Favorite Quote

“Chance, and chance alone, has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us.” – Milan Kundera

You can follow Sophy on Instagram @sophykayeewong and like her Facebook page here.

PHOTOGRAPHY & WORDS: BRIAN HK CHAN
MODEL: SOPHY KAYEE WONG