Q&A: Adason Lo and Sharco Kang
The city's newest pop sensations, ATV's Asia Millionstar singing contest champion Adason Lo (above right), 24, and first runner-up Sharco Kang Shuaike (above left), 22, have not been dazzled by their first taste of showbiz fame. With a singing and songwriting ability compared to Jay Chou Jie-lun, and with looks that rival Taiwanese singer-actor Jerry Yan Cheng-xu, Lo has already earned a fan base from the internet community. Kang, on the other hand, has found massive support not just in Hong Kong but also in his hometown of Guangzhou.
While getting used to the showbiz lifestyle, the two stars are focused on their music - and they do not mind going head to head in the best newcomer category at next year's music awards season.
What's happening now after winning Asia Millionstar?
Lo: I might make guest appearances in television dramas in future, but I have to focus on my debut album first, hopefully this summer. There will be at least 11 songs - some fast-paced ones and some ballads that I've written. I'm hoping the album will catch the awards season [in January]. Attending the music awards will be very important for my music career - they are recognitions for a new artist, and I think you can only be officially considered as a singer after appearing at these music awards.
Kang: I really hope to have my own album released by the end of this year, so that I can be in time for January's music awards. But I haven't even begun working on it yet, and I haven't been signed to any record labels. So I'm not sure how to get the ball rolling.
So will you two be competing with each other again early next year?
Kang: Probably. That would be fun. I'll be very happy if we both can make it to the music awards together. Lo and I are good friends and we play music together. I enjoy singing while he plays the piano, or when I sing backing vocals for him. But apparently being a singer in Hong Kong is not just about singing and writing music. You have to turn up for brand marketing events to maintain your exposure in the media.
How do you like it?
Lo: I'm not against it, but honestly, I never thought about having to attend these events. I thought I only had to sit at home and write music as a singer. But my mentors have told me that this is part of my responsibility.
Kang: In fact I don't mind, as long as I'm given a chance to sing. I understand that as a newcomer, you have to take up these jobs to maintain your exposure.
You won Asia Millionstar, and now the compilation album featuring you two and other finalists in the singing contest has topped HMV's local album chart. How does that feel?
Lo: I'm very happy that people like my music. Recently at this autograph session at HMV, fans sang along to one of my songs. I was delighted. Every singer loves to have fans singing along to their music. But I don't really go out and I don't take public transport any more. Passers-by do stare at me sometimes.
Kang: My life has completely changed. I was a toll collector and now I am working for my dream. I'm in the public eye and I have to constantly remind myself to be careful about what I do and how I act. But I find Hong Kong a very expensive place to live. It took me a while to get used to it.
Other than fans, you have to handle the media too.
Lo: I'm not afraid of doing media interviews, but I'm not satisfied with the final outcome because what I say is not correctly reported by the print media. My words get twisted sometimes. Given a choice, I would rather do interviews on television or radio.
Kang: Doing media interviews is still quite terrifying. I'm not a good speaker so I'm always afraid that I will have nothing to say. It takes a bit of time for me to warm up before I can get myself into the mood to talk to people. But I understand this is something I have to work on because it's important for my career.
Hong Kong is known for 'manufacturing' pop idols. What do you think about this - how will you escape it?
Lo: I don't want to be controlled by people. It's like you only do whatever your parents tell you to do, like becoming a lawyer or a doctor. But they are only crushing your dreams. I want to take charge.
Kang: For me, I have to keep learning. My goal is to become a singer-songwriter with real talent. However, I do not have enough knowledge about music. Now I'm taking piano lessons once a week. I have to work on my stage performance and master the tricks of handling the crowd. But singing is still the most important. I never know when my next show will be, but I keep practising every day to prepare myself for the next show.