Losing voice made Joey Yung feel like "the end of the world"
Hong Kong singer Joey Yung says losing her voice is the worst thing for a singer
Cantopop diva Sammi Cheng made headlines two weeks ago when she lost her voice during the first show of her eight-night concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
According to Apple Daily, the 44-year-old veteran was battling a bout of flu and struggling with cough and a bad throat.
After butchering several songs, Cheng broke down on stage and told her audience tearfully: "I'm in pain. I still have seven shows to go. Can I give all of you a refund?"
Fellow Hong Kong singer Joey Yung, who was at one of Cheng's concerts last week, understands the anguish.
"Losing one's voice is the worst thing that can happen to an artist. It's what I fear the most before every performance," the 36-year-old told The New Paper in Mandarin over the phone from Hong Kong yesterday.
"If I sprain my leg, I can quickly get an injection and feel better.
"But losing my voice would make me go crazy. I don't want my fans to come to my concert just to take in the bright stage lights and nothing else."
Yung, who will be holding a joint concert with her good friend, Cantopop crooner Hacken Lee, in Singapore next month, praised Cheng for handling the situation well.
"Watching Sammi at her concert, I was very touched," said Yung.
"It must have been a huge disappointment for her, as she has spent months preparing for the show. But she displayed professionalism, experience and determination."
Yung herself encountered a similar scenario three years ago when she fell ill during her 2013 concert tour.
"My voice was in a horrible condition and I was so depressed. I felt like it was the end of the world," she said.
"It was a very vulnerable moment.
"Thankfully, my fans were really forgiving. They'd joke with me that I had, for once, given them a 'limited edition' concert, one where I showed my imperfect side."
Yung takes setbacks in her stride.
In April, she and Lee took part in the hit Chinese reality TV singing competition I Am A Singer 4, which pits professional singers against one another. Chinese-American vocal powerhouse CoCo Lee was crowned the champion that season based on votes cast by the studio audience.
Yung came in seventh out of 14 contestants, finishing behind younger stars such as South Korean rookie Hwang Chi Yeol (third) and Taiwanese singer-songwriter Lala Hsu (sixth). Lee placed fifth.
"Of course, there can only be one champion, but despite losing, I feel proud of myself for having the courage and confidence to join this competition," said Yung.
"I went into I Am A Singer without any expectation of my eventual placing and I had a lot of fun singing alongside all these other great singers. I think through the competition, I've improved too."
Fans can look forward to sizzling chemistry between her and Lee at their double-bill gig - just don't expect her to wipe off the latter's perspiration.
"I used to do it because Hacken gets very sweaty when he sings," said Yung with a laugh.
"But I've stopped helping him because he once complained, 'Hey, don't wipe my face so hard. You're wiping off my make-up.'
"It hit me then that Hacken is rather vain."
WHAT: Hacken Lee & Joey Yung Live Around The World In Singapore
WHERE: Resorts World Ballroom, Resorts World Convention Centre
WHEN: Oct 9, 8pm
TICKETS: $128 to $288 from Sistic (6348-5555 or www.sistic.com.sg)
Hacken Lee: No shame in losing to younger contenders
Veteran Hong Kong singer Hacken Leehad initial reservations about joining I Am A Singer 4, where he had to compete week after week to stay on the show and be judged by a 500-strong live audience.
In a separate phone interview with The New Paper yesterday, the 48-year-old father of two boys aged six and eight said: "I'd be lying if I said I didn't have my concerns. But once we started filming, the competition element wasn't so important anymore.
"Every singer who joins I Am A Singer is talented and impressive in his or her way. Besides, singing is pretty subjective, it's hard to say who's good and who's bad. All of us who competed are specialists in our different genres. Like Shin and Zhao Chuan are rockers, whereas I'm more pop-oriented."
Lee stressed there is "no shame at all" in losing to younger singers.
"Look at the Olympics. It doesn't mean that every gold medallist is the oldest contestant with the most experience," he said.
"Ultimately, no matter who won I Am A Singer, we enjoyed the competition process greatly."