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HK Magazine Archive

Pakho Chau

Cantopop darling Pakho Chau made his start in the music industry in 2007. He has released nine albums and boasts multiple accolades, including the prestigious Male Singer Gold Award at the Ultimate Song Chart Awards earlier this year. The singer-songwriter talks to Isabelle Hon about insisting on learning to play the piano, his former modeling career—and why people think he’s too sentimental.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:43pm
My father is a retired businessman and my mother is a housewife. I have two brothers—and I’m in the middle. 

 
I loved music and was surrounded by it while growing up. My father had a hi-fi sound system and my neighbor played the piano.

 
I was a happy kid, but I wasn’t simply handed what I wanted—my parents usually gave stuff out as a prize after I had achieved something.

 
They taught me this: If you want something, you have to try your best. They also punished me when I was wrong. 

 
I studied at a local school in Sai Kung, where I played basketball competitively. 

 
My parents gave me a lot of freedom. I could hang out with any friends and play as many sports as I wanted. 

I was a part-time swimming coach and lifeguard every summer. I would earn around $16,000 per month, which was quite a lot for a student at the time.

My mom refused to let me play the piano because she thought I’d give it up easily. But after I kept begging her, she finally gave in.
 
It eventually paved the way for my music career. I started to write songs and play the guitar too.
 
When I was 18, I became a model for [model agency] StarzPeople.

It was very common at the time for a model to turn into a singer, but I didn’t switch industries directly. I worked as a music engineer before pursuing a music career.

I was working in a recording studio, and basically had to start from the bottom—I bought toilet paper, fixed cables and tuned guitars. Later on I started to take part in music production and to sing TVC jingles. 

It was a great opportunity. I learned about music production, met more people in the field, and eventually had a chance to audition and got to launch a singing career.

My song, “There’s Only One Thing I Won’t Let You Do,” was for a friend who was suffering from cancer for a second time. We have been good friends for a long time. We played basketball together and he’s the one who taught me to play the guitar. 
 
I am a sensitive person. I attach feelings to things around me. Things are all alive to me, just like in “Toy Story.”

I love to express myself through writing. Some praise my work, while others criticize me and say I’m overly sentimental. But everyone has their own way of expressing themselves. 

People can address me however they want. Some call me fei zhai [fat boy], but obviously I’m not fat. I don’t mind.

I usually keep my love life under wraps. And I think communication is the most important thing between couples. 
 
I think [actress] Carina Lau is awesome. Career-wise she’s a powerful woman, but in love and relationships she’s very soft. 

People find me cheerful, but I had a nine-month setback in my life. Before getting into the entertainment field, I was confused and didn’t know what was going to happen. 

I was still a model and wanted to be a singer, but I had huge problems with my skin. Every day I woke up with tons of acne that was bleeding all over my face. 
I was really depressed.

But I didn’t let it get me down. I kept on practicing the guitar at home and working in the studio.

My motto is: You only live once, so keep going.

 

Photo: Tony Leung @ Dot workshop

 
 
Need to Know…
Pakho Chau, 30, released his first album in November 2007. In 2013, he established online clothing shop XPX by Punk Hippie, offering clothes and accessories, while also designing products. He recently collaborated with skincare brand Kiehl’s to design a bottle cap for its new product, Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque.
Shop XPX at www.punkhippie.com.