Breaking the Cantopop mold: Sophy Kayee Wong
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t really have one. But fashion wise, I love black. It’s minimalistic and just cool.
“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