Awards switch on to live band sound
Music trends and tastes, rather like fashions, change year by year. So to keep up with what's hot, and what's not, who better to ask than radio DJs?
RTHK DJs Alyson Hau Ka-ming, Alex Lee Chi-kwong and Robin Pak - all veterans of Hong Kong radio - have seen a recent shift in the local music scene towards live band sounds.
'We've all loved the band sound for many years,' Lee says. 'This year, some local bands, like Modern Children, have released songs that have done quite well and charted on our Hong Kong Top Ten.'
Although crowds at local rock shows are small in comparison to those at Cantopop concerts, they are packed with die-hard fans.
Sammy So Ho-choy, lead singer of local rock band Kolor, believes the increased interest is because of the diversity of music now available.
'If you pay attention to the band scene now, you can see many different bands blooming, playing different kinds of music,' he says.
'I guess the internet was a very good place for them to find something they really liked; they kind of 'mutated' it and now they're building their own sounds.'
This new interest led to a live band show being chosen as the theme for the 23rd RTHK International Pop Poll Awards. Held every year since 1989, the awards let radio listeners vote for their favourite artists and songs from the previous year.
Nominees are picked by local music critics and songwriters, based on the songs that reached number one on the station's chart show. Categories include top-10 international songs, top male and female artist, and top new act.
The top-10 songs nominations this year include Lady Gaga's Born This Way and Adele's Someone Like You, and local hits such as Rubberband's More Than a Woman and Jun Kung's Here To Stay.
'What we're trying [to do with the awards] is indicate the biggest trend in the past year,' says Hau, who is also a regular columnist for YP.
'With the songs and artists that've been nominated, we're trying to say which artist made [it] that year. We're trying to [sum up] for what happened in music the previous year.'
Voting for the awards has closed. The winners will be revealed at next Sunday's Pop Poll Awards ceremony at 3pm at the Youth Outreach Hang Out, in Sai Wan Ho.
Local bands and musicians such as RubberBand, Kolor, Closer, MastaMic, Modern Children and Ellen Joyce Loo will be performing their own versions of some of the nominated songs at the show.
While Lee can't wait to hear how the local bands will change the arrangements of the fast dance tracks to match their rock 'n' roll sounds, Hau is looking forward to Loo's performance.
'It'll be really interesting to hear how Ellen's going to do her medley,' Hau says.
'She'll be covering three songs and jamming them into one medley track. The song choices she made are very different from what she normally sings.
'Whether she's going to turn them into folk or she will be turning into an R&B singer, we don't know yet.'
A great reason to stay tuned!