Singer Nicole Lai is branching out into the Cantopop market, with the upcoming release of a Cantonese EP.
The Kepong-native, who is known for her wide vocal range, got her start in showbiz after winning singing competition Astro Star Quest in 2012. Since then, Lai has released two Mandarin EPs.
“It was a playful idea that popped up in my mind,” the 29-year-old talks about the idea behind the EP.
“In addition to paying tribute to the Cantonese pop music that influenced my musical identity, I always hoped that the new generation could enjoy the unique charm of Cantonese songs by re-interpreting the (cover versions of these) Cantonese songs.”
Slated for release in November, the EP will comprise both original songs and covers. Lai is collaborating with Joey Tang of Hong Kong band Tai Chi for her rendition of the rock band’s Every Single Word.
Lai will also be holding her first solo concert sometime next year.
1. Tell us about the process of making this Cantonese EP.
The whole album was produced in Hong Kong. I was so excited to have Alex San (a Hong Kong-based Malaysian music arranger who has produced songs for Faye Wong, Leslie Cheung and Eason Chan) to be my producer.
He coached me a lot during the recording and I am truly grateful.
I’m also very honoured to have Joey Tang of legendary Hong Kong band, Taichi, record a duet with me.
I promoted some of the new songs in Guangzhou, China and it was a great experience. I hope the Cantonese EP can be promoted not only in Hong Kong but worldwide.
2. What’s the biggest challenge?
I think the most challenging part is reaching the same standards of a Cantopop singer. And when it comes to singing in Cantonese – although Mandarin and Cantonese have similar words – the two are very different in pronunciation and lexicon.
3. In terms of the album’s sound, is there anything different about it compared to your past releases?
It’s a totally different kind of feeling when I was doing this Cantonese EP. Instead of singing with a powerful voice, I felt there was a breakthrough on my vocal presentation; trying to do things I’ve never done before in my past releases.
This Cantonese EP is part of the evolution of my musical style, sound and appearance.
4. What do you do to take care of your voice, especially if you have a performance coming up?
To maintain a healthy and good singing voice, I regularly exercise and keep a healthy diet.
This is because when our bodies fall ill, we may feel fatigue, experience blocked nose, sore throat and may not be able to practise proper vocal technique when singing.
5. What sort of workout do you do?
I started my workout training years ago to shape up and improve my health.
I go for cardio or weight training three to four days a week, one to two hours a day.
Usually, I will do full body workout and sometimes focus more on my lower body and abs.
If my schedule is tight, I will do simple and easy home workouts to stay consistent.