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.
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 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 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.
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.
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