Hong Kong singer Olga Chung on songwriting, relationships, and her debut album

Songwriting can be a bit of a love/hate relationship for the 26-year-old, who has been writing music and performing since 2011

Chris Gillett |

Latest Articles

HIGHER REACHES ANSWERS: Quick-thinking Chinese entrepreneurs expand beauty and fashion businesses online during coronavirus lockdowns [May 26, 2020]

Scottish rugby player Cameron Henderson credits his development to life in Hong Kong

Olga Chung gets inspiration for her songs from her friends.

Speaking to Young Post ahead of her headline performance at Rustic #3 on August 5, local singer-songwriter Olga Chung confesses: “It’s something of a love/hate relationship for me.

“What I love about writing is that I get to turn my thoughts, experiences and emotions into something tangible, and I can share them. But I hate when I have a few lines or melodies, and then get writers block. It just lingers there, and then it haunts me. They just keep playing over and over in my head.”

The 26-year-old has been writing music and performing since 2011, and often gets inspired by the people around her. “My life is pretty stable. I teach, and have a secure job, so I get most of my inspiration from my friends,” she explains. “They’re not even my stories. But I feel like when I write, it’s almost like I’m doing drama, getting into the character.”

Not all of Chung’s songs are stories about her friends though. One of her most recent compositions Sending My Love came from her own personal experiences.

“I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for more than four years, and my boyfriend lives in Macau.” She animated the accompanying music video herself, using an iPad. “I drew the boat with an app, and then I clicked some buttons and it moved. I drew a boat because that’s the only way we get to see each other.”

Chung, who studied at Chinese University, has also been involved in many collaborations, both in Hong Kong and globally. “I’ve written music for contemporary dances, which have become live shows, and I discovered this website called SoundBetter.” The website allows users to hire musicians, vocalists, producers and many others to contribute to individual songs or projects – something that Olga has utilised in her own work. “I look for drummers, I look for violinists, bassists, things like that, and it’s just a back-and-forth process, where I put them together. It’s really cool, because I get to communicate with musicians all around the world. I’ve had tracks from America, and saxophone tracks from Russia, things like that.”

The singer-songwriter already has two EP’s (Sunlight and The Best Time) available on iTunes, and is spending the rest of 2017 working on her debut album. “I’m currently producing an album of all original material. I just keep writing. Some of them are old songs, but they’ve not been properly released. It’s a long process, but I’m hoping it will be out early next year,” she says.

As for her upcoming Rustic #3 performance, Chung has something special planned. “I will be doing originals that I don’t usually play. When I write them, there are so many arrangements I can’t do live. But I’ve got a friend on keyboard and another on electric guitar, so we’ll make some new arrangements. So it’ll be songs I don’t normally show to people.”

Advance tickets for Rustic #3 are available from Morrisons Café in Sheung Wan, or online at thepointofsale.com

Edited by Ginny Wong