Janice Vidal to top bill at The Venetian Macao as she opens a new chapter in her singing career

Singer with soft silky smooth vocals has grown wiser in recent years and has the ability to touch hearts afresh

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 2:40pm

Canto-pop singer Janice Vidalshot to stardom when she launched her career as a Hong Kong pop singer. Later, though, her career seemed to reach a plateau, while her popularity remained steady. Now, the Filipino-Korean-Chinese singer is turning a new page in her career, ready to take on new challenges and new markets.

“I guess everyone kind of knows me as [a singer] of pop love songs. But I [have] ventured into something really different this time,” says Vidal about her upcoming EP, Love and Other Things. “It’s really challenging, to be honest, to break away from the mode that people are used to knowing me from.”

Since her 10-year stint with Leon Lai’s record label Amusic ended in 2015, she has joined Warner Music Hong Kong, teaming up with different producers and musicians on her new record and on her concert Janice Vidal Beloved Tour 2017, which will stop at Cotai Arena, The Venetian Macao, this Saturday. In the concert, Vidal will shower her fans with her popular tunes as well as some of the new songs she has created recently.

“To make the choice to leave [Amusic], for me, was a defining moment because I was getting out of my comfort zone. And I felt like I was starting all over again from zero. It was a very humbling process actually,” says the 35-year-old, whose previous records were all produced by acclaimed Hong Kong producer Mark Lui. “It’s definitely a learning process for me so far. I’ve learned so much about how to trust people again, to see beyond what I’m used to.”

When she first signed with Lai’s label, Vidal briefly worked as a backing vocalist for singers such as Lai and Jan Lamb before kicking off a singing career in 2005 with her debut album Day & Night – which features covers and English renditions of Lai’s popular songs. Her soft, silky smooth and captivating vocal effortlessly impressed fans and radio DJs. In the same year, she received best newcomer awards at all the music awards ceremonies in Hong Kong.

She went on to release hits such as “My Love My Fate”, “Big Brother”, “Run Away From Home” and “Even If the World Has No Fairy Tales” from the albums that followed.

Her career took a slight knock when her twin sister Jill was involved in drugs scandal in 2009, but she managed to retain her popularity through her singing talent. With nine records under her belt, including an English album Morning (2009), she has sold over 10 million records, and is one of the best-selling female singers in Hong Kong.

While her new producer Schumann “pushes me to sing beyond my own limitations”, the singer has been heavily involved in the production of her new songs and has expressed her thoughts through the music.

As now I’m a little older, I definitely feel that there’s something more I want to say and it’s not just about love songs
Janice Vidal

“As now I’m a little older, I definitely feel that there’s something more I want to say and it’s not just about love songs,” says Vidal. “People in Hong Kong, the way they listen to music, they’ve become more mature. They want something more authentic and real. On this EP, I really dug into subjects such as pursuit of happiness, who you are, your identity and dreams, and about family.”

Musically, the new record is “eclectic and versatile”, she says, with elements from R&B and Simon and Garfunkel-type folk, to La La Land-like jazz and theatrical songs.

She is about to expand her market on the mainland by releasing an album in Mandarin later this year. Late last year, she staged her concert in Fushan, Guangdong, and in late April this year, she also performed at the Mount Emei Music Festival in Sichuan. “I’m really excited about what’s going on in China. They accept different kinds of music, they are very versatile and open to something authentic, real and different,” says Vidal, who will later bring her tour to different cities in China.

In this second chapter in her career, Vidal knows fans and people around her are hoping this new start will lead her to bigger success and achievements. But she is trying to play down any high expectations. “Being in the industry, there are lots of expectations [placed] on you. That can be a good pressure and a bad pressure. It depends on how you channel that. For now, I have to say I’m very thankful because this industry is changing and it’s not easy working in this industry. I’m grateful that I’m still here doing what I do,” she says.

“I don’t think about whether my songs have to be number one or I have to sell really well. When you think like that you actually lose the passion and the reason why you [got into] it in the first place. I just do the best that I can with each song; I want the song to be one that people can relate to and [which] touches their hearts. Honestly, if I’ve done that, then I’ve accomplished what I was supposed to do.”