China is, well, not exactly known for its pop music, but Cantopop has it’s stars. A few of those stars have become supernovas. Here is our top ten of C-pop’s all-time greats, those who managed to spread Cantopop sounds around the globe.:
1. Roman Tam is a singer-song writer, considered the “Godfather of Cantopop”. Seen as a cultural icon to Chinese communities around the world (including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and later Mainland China). He had a string of hits in a career spanning 30 years. He was well respected for his singing skills, his positive outlook, and his insistence on correct pronunciation. He was also considered groundbreaking for being the first major Hong Kong singer to pose in drag and to pose in nude.
2. Anita Mui was a Hong Kong Cantopop diva, famed for her outrageous costumes and high power performances. She was dubbed the “Madonna of Asia” after selling out a concert in London. She remained in the spotlight for 21 years until her death from cervical cancer. Her popularity also gained prominence outside of Hong Kong, as she was invited to sing at the 1988 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Seoul together with Janet Jackson. She performed in over 300 international concerts during her long career. Her most famous songs are “The Sunset Song” and “Years Flowing Like Water”
3. Eason Chan is one of Hong Kong’s most prominent male singers, a front runner in the next generation of Cantopop and a frequent winner of Asian music awards. His Cantonese album U87 was listed in 2005 by Time magazine as one of “Five Asian Albums Worth Buying”. He has had many successful tours around the world, breaking the record in London’s O2 arena when tickets sold out in less than 20 minutes, setting a new record for the Best Selling Overseas Chinese Concert. Some of his most famous songs are “Because of Love” and “Immortal Legend”.
4. Faye Wong a singer-song writer from Beijing moved to Hong Kong to start her singing career, and in 2000 she was recognized by Guinness World Records as the best selling Canto-Pop female. Since 1994 she has combined alternative music with mainstream Chinese pop. She has given concerts in North America and Australia as well as many venues in East and Southeast Asia, including charity concerts. She is, to date, the only C-pop artist to have performed four times in Tokyo’s Budokan. The video game Final Fantasy VIII was released in Japan on February 1999, for which Faye Wong recorded the ballad “Eyes on Me” in English. The “Eyes on Me” single sold over 335,620 copies in Japan and 500,000 worldwide, making it, at the time, the best-selling video game music in history.
5. Andy Lau is a Cantopop singer from Hong Kong branded by the media as one of the Four heavenly Kings of Cantopop. He, like Faye Wong, has a spot in Guinness World Records as well, for “Most Awards Won by a Cantopop Male Artist”. Many of his songs quickly top music charts in Hong Kong and around Asia. Besides singing in Cantonese and Mandarin, he can also croon in English, Japanese, Malay, and Taiwanese. Some of his most famous songs are “The Days We Spent Together” and “If You Are My Legend”
6. Jacky Cheung is a Hong Kong singer-songwriter and, along side Andy Lau, one of The Four Heavenly Kings; he has sold more than 25 million records. At the 1994 Billboard Music Awards in the US, he was named the most popular singer in Asia. He received numerous music awards both in Hong Kong and elsewhere, including the best-selling Chinese singer at the World Music Awards for two consecutive years in 1995 and 1996. In “Jacky Cheung 1/2 Century World tour”, he set a Guinness World record for the largest combined audience for a live act in 12 months, with 2,048,553 audience members. The tour involved 105 live concerts in 61 cities across China, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia. His most famous songs are “Love” and “Amour”.
7. Priscilla Chan rocketed to fame after the song “Silly Girl” and the everlasting hit “Thousands of Songs” elevated her to becoming a serious Cantopop mega star, famous in Japan and other parts of Asia especially during the 1980s.
8. Leslie Cheung is considered one of the founding fathers of Cantopop. He rose to prominence in Hong Kong in the 1980s as a teen heartthrob his 1984 hit song “Monica” was voted Hong Kong’s “Song of the Century”. He was honored as “Asia’s Biggest Superstar” at the 2000 CCTV-MTV Music Awards. Cheung’s music not only garnered fans in Hong Kong but also Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, and South Korea. He was the first foreign artist to hold 16 concerts in Japan and is still be best-selling C-pop artist in Korea. Sadly, Cheung committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 46.
9.Aaron Kwok has had sell-out concerts in mainland China, the United States, Canada, Singapore,Malaysia, and other countries, totaling at over 200 to date. In 1999 he won his first “Asia Pacific Most Popular Artist” award. Also ranked as one of the Four Heavenly Kings his mandopop and cantopop has made him one of Asia’s most prominent pop stars. He collaborated with Janet Jackson and Ricky Martin for an advertising campaign for Pepsi. His most famous songs are “Para Para Sakura” and “Ask for More”.
10. Charlene Choi is a member of Cantopop group Twins. Choi’s first solo single was released in 2008 with the award-winning “Make a Wish”, which sold 5000 copies within a span of 30 minutes. Choi went on to be awarded with a variety of solo singer awards in 2008: Favorite Idol and Most Voted Singer at the Metro Showbiz Hit Awards, Most Popular Female Singer at the Vanguard Music Awards and Most Popular Hong Kong Female Artist at the Sprite Music Awards. After the release of her first Mandarin album, Choi launched her country-wide promotional tour with a multitude of mini-concerts, autograph sessions, performances, recorded television programs, national radio interviews, and talk shows.
Images from Weibo and Wikipedia