Singer-songwriter Justin Lo having too much fun to settle down
The Canto-pop singer-songwriter generates plenty of press, both good and bad. But he prefers to let his music do the talking
48 HOURS: You were discovered as a singer at the Hong Kong Coliseum in 2005, when you guest performed at a concert by Leo Ku Kui-kei. Do you think you're coming full circle with your concerts on the same stage on June 5 and 6?
JUSTIN LO: I wouldn't describe it as a full circle yet — I've only been a professional singer for 10 years. It's not even a new chapter. Singers like to look for breakthroughs, and for this show, I've put together an all-new production team, from the director to the lighting and audio crews, the band, the dancers and the costume designers. I'm giving the newcomers an opportunity. There are many more talents outside of the few companies that produce most of the concerts in Hong Kong.
Will there be many costume changes? Yes, there'll be quite a few. But my audiences aren't coming to see what I wear; they're probably paying more attention to my dance moves. I don't worry too much about the wardrobe. My focus is on the band.
The concert is titled "We Touch" and its promotional poster shows a woman hugging you from behind. What's the message there? People should be in touch with each other in person, not just through their phone screens. Even at concerts, they're filming with their phones instead of watching the live performance. I hope they turn off their phones at my show after taking a few pictures. I don't see it as disrespect that they're looking at their phones when I sing, but it's a waste of their money. Will they watch the footage every day afterwards? It's not their wedding they're filming, you know.
You spent three years in Beijing before moving back last year. Has your music evolved in that period? It's not just the music: my entire mentality has changed and matured. As a producer, the change in the music then follows naturally.
So how are your current songs different from those you wrote a decade ago? They're not as sad. I think you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the development of their catalogue of songs. In the early days, my songs were often about being dumped or bullied by women. Now, it's about other topics.
Does that reflect how you've changed as a person? I am more mature now, that's for sure. I don't go clubbing as much; I go to music bars instead. I was going to clubs to meet women, but I'm over that now — I'm 38. It would look ugly to go there at my age.
You mean you've stopped clubbing? I have stopped going. Those places are too noisy to have a chat. It's hard work. And there are often people who, seeing that I work in this field, like to approach me and cause troubles. It's not worth it.
How do you feel about the negative media reports about your womanising behaviour after you came back to Hong Kong? It became news only because I was betrayed. Nothing happened that night. I didn't hug the woman; it was she who hugged me. [ Laughs] And what's the problem there? Dude, I'm single. It's my nature to trust others, but I've been betrayed many times. Even in the earliest days, I was snapped kissing a woman on the beach or hugging women in clubs. Maybe it has to do with my personality: I don't see it as a big deal to hug someone. I grew up overseas. People here are just too sensitive.
Do you expect this kind of negative coverage to stop at some point? It will never stop. Do they expect me to become a good boy, get married and have children? I won't. I think married men who go out to meet women are the real bastards. I am now single. I have a full licence to meet women; I'm not committing any crimes or hurting anybody. It's just that I am an easy target for the entertainment press in Hong Kong.