Hong Kong’s Mirror Releases English Song, Revives Cantopop

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s most popular group Mirror, a major driving force behind the revival of the local pop music scene, released its first English song on Friday, hoping to bring the city’s tunes to music lovers worldwide.

The 12-piece group is part of a new wave of local singers being embraced by Hong Kongers at a time when the city has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and political challenges over the past three years. Their music has spawned a new generation of fans who have found hope and comfort in the songs in an uncertain time.

His new single “Rumours” is somewhat “sexy” and “sensual” and comes with wavy dance moves, a stark contrast to the group’s previous hard-hitting dance songs and funky music, the members told The Associated Press in an interview on Sunday. Unlike their previous Cantonese hits that conveyed a “bunch of guys” image and their energetic side, the new track shows that they’ve become men, member Ian Chan said.

“We’re not trying to target any market in particular, but then we want to show the potential of what a Hong Kong boy band can offer everyone,” Chan said. “Hopefully we can bring ourselves and bring Cantopop to more places.”

Mirror’s global debut isn’t just a test of whether they can find an audience beyond Hong Kong, a market of 7 million people. Reception overseas may also indicate whether Hong Kong singers, who dominated Asian showbiz decades ago, can regain ground in the region.

Cantopop, sung in the mother tongue of most of Hong Kong’s population, has made a strong comeback with new idols and different genres after being left behind by Mandopop and K-pop for years. Local fans find the new stars more relatable, unlike their predecessors who are often seen as pre-packaged and in some cases too dedicated to mainland China. The rise of Cantopop reflects a broader desire to express the city’s cultural identity.

The Mirror members broke into the industry after taking part in a local broadcaster’s talent competition in 2018 and stole the show. The artists — Frankie Chan, Alton Wong, Lokman Yeung, Stanley Yau, Anson Kong, Jer Lau, Anson Lo, Jeremy Lee, Edan Lui, Keung To, Tiger Yau and Chan — range in age from their 20s to early 30s years. Some are good at singing, several are known for their dancing skills, a few have ventured into acting and others have hosted TV shows.

Their hard work and determination have helped them attract loyal fans, especially students, middle-aged women and young families.

In 2021, Keung said, “I believe Hong Kong singers can definitely become Asia’s top again.” That year, their fandom became a Hong Kong cultural phenomenon.

Fans flocked to malls to support their events, with some making and buying advertisements to celebrate their idols’ birthdays. Fellow fans flooded Facebook with stories of “self-pity”, including having the walls of their homes plastered with posters of the singers. Talk of the group offered many Hong Kong residents an escape from the negative news about COVID-19, political challenges and social changes facing the city.

“We always have a social responsibility to bring positive thinking and some good vibes … to people we like,” Chan said.

But a painful incident last July dealt a heavy blow to their rise.

A giant video screen fell from the ceiling during a concert and hit two dancers, leaving one of them, Mo Li, seriously injured. The band then took a two-month hiatus from public appearances. Hong Kong authorities charged workers from the concert’s main contractor allegedly responsible for the accident. Last month, Li’s father said his son had taken his first steps with the help of an exoskeleton device.

“We’ll never say we’re over it,” Louie said, adding it was a “huge lesson.” He taught them to love every moment, Stanley Yau said.

While the Mirror is working to shake off this tragedy, it has also been hit by criticism for poor performances, with some critics accusing the members of chasing advertising money instead of focusing on their singing and dancing.

Lo said the group is trying to slow down its schedule to achieve a better balance, and members now get together at least once or twice a month for activities such as meetings or dance lessons – a significant change as they rarely saw each other outside the job. past, he said.

The release of “Rumours,” whose lyrics refer to the pursuit of a girl and how rumors arise, has marked a major milestone for the group, especially since the members are all native Cantonese singers.

English pronunciation was a big challenge, Lui said, and they were all coached one-on-one during the recordings.

Lo said that the group will be closely monitoring audience reactions, but that they will undoubtedly continue to produce music in Cantonese, even as some members may produce solo songs in Mandarin. The group also has plans to embark on a world tour possibly next year, he said.

Lui said their ambition to revive Cantopop as Asia’s No.1 music might sound “like a pipe dream”.

“But I think we should have that goal in our hearts and we should try to do our best to chase that dream,” he said.

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