Sky's the limit
Young canto-pop group SKY will be busy this summer with the release of their new album and an appearance in a TV drama.
The album Higher Than SKY will be their second - their debut SKY X SKY was released in October.
Yani Yim, Gilbert Poon, Bonald Leung, Kin Lam and Bon Chiu make up SKY, voted one of the most promising new acts of the year in several local music awards last year.
They have done commercials for a department store, an MP3 player and two fashion brands. Their healthy, sunny image has won them many teenage fans.
Compared with SKY X SKY, Higher Than SKY is more a dance/hip-hop compilation filled with positive messages. Title song Go Go Dei (Higher Than SKY) tells young people not to look down on themselves.
'We are still young so we should keep challenging ourselves and should not be held back,' said group leader Yani, a hair salon assistant before entering showbiz. 'Have faith in yourself.'
SKY's members have been taking on new challenges to show what they've got.
'I will rap on the new album and I haven't done that before,' said Bon, who was a dancer before joining SKY last year. 'Before going into the studio, I listened to lots of western hip-hop music to learn how to rap.'
They will also appear in an upcoming TV drama - Yani, Bonald, Ah Kin and Bon will play beach volleyball players in the popular teen series Heart of Fencing II, while Gilbert will appear in another drama as a police cadet.
'To become successful artists, we need to be well-rounded. We are trying different things to see what we are best at,' said Gilbert, who used to be a swimming coach and was once a member of the Hong Kong junior fencing team. 'I enjoy acting most, as I can become different people.'
A dedicated dancer, Ah Kin is the only member who is still studying. He just finished his second year of an accounting degree course at City University of Hong Kong.
'I auditioned for a movie role early last year. Although I didn't get the contract, I was recommended to my current manager by the movie director,' said the 21-year-old. 'Accounting is quite boring, but I'll still try my best to finish the course. After all, my ambition is to pursue my career in the entertainment business.'
Bonald is a former student at American International School.
'I've loved music since I was a kid and I had thought about becoming a backing vocalist,' said the 20-year-old, who plays piano, bass and drums. 'Next I want to be a songwriter. Besides that, I need to improve my singing and dancing.'
Four SKY members come from single-parent families.
'We are not ashamed of our family backgrounds. I became more mature after my parents divorced,' Ah Kin said.
'Go step-by-step and you'll succeed one day.'