Man of many talents

Man of many talents

Jun Kung is a bundle of contractions but his love for music never changes

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Multi-talented musician Jun Kung is gearing up for his 'Jun on the Moon' concert on Saturday featuring a range of self-produced songs from jazz to rock to pop
Multi-talented musician Jun Kung is gearing up for his 'Jun on the Moon' concert on Saturday featuring a range of self-produced songs from jazz to rock to pop
Photo: Nora Tam
He looks uber-cool but he's warm and easy-going. He is serious about his work but enjoys stand-up comedy and can laugh about himself. He calls himself contradictory. He is Jun Kung - a drummer, singer, songwriter, producer and actor.

Born in 1977 in Hong Kong and raised in Macau, Kung grew up with two important musicians in his life. His Filipino father is a guitarist and his uncle a singer in a band. It wasn't long before Kung was playing along.

"My first performance was at the famous Senado Square in Macau when I was seven years old. I played the drums while my uncle sang. My uncle is my greatest inspiration for improvisation. I didn't realise I was jamming with him then," the 33-year-old says.

When most children in Macau played on the street and got into trouble, Kung says he wanted to go home after school and play the drums. Still, he had to hide his drumsticks from his mother. "She wanted me to finish school and have a job like everyone else."

Kung did finish secondary school and later went to the United States for university, although he didn't complete his course; his passion for music led him along another path.

"My uncle gave me a 'drug' called music. As an only child, I spent a lot of time playing by myself and doing weird experiments. I remember making and recording different sounds. I was very interested in audio engineering from childhood," he says.

His natural curiosity drove him to teach himself how to play and create a range of music, from acoustic to electronic, and he honed his skills by playing in jazz clubs and bands. "The street school of music has taught me everything."

Before long, he was recording and playing with big names such as Bobby McFerrin, Jacky Cheung Hok-yau, Eason Chan Yik-shun and Sandy Lam Yik-lin.

Kung released his first album Here and Now in 1999 and the next year he received two major awards - "Best New Artist" from Commercial Radio Hong Kong and "Voice of the 21st Century" from Radio FM 104 Select. With fame came a lot of attention and Jun was not sure what to make of it. "I didn't know why girls were staring at me in a restaurant. Then I realised I was famous," he says.

"I didn't like being made into a pop idol. I don't want to be one - imagine the responsibility and all the paparazzi. I'm a private person and I protect the people I care about."

So, in 2003, he took a break from the big labels and went back to Macau to work as a sales representative for a year.

Then he started writing film scores for Daniel Wu Yin-cho, who later founded Revolution Talent Management. In 2009, Kung joined the company, which he describes as "a breath of fresh air".

"I'm not forced to do the things I don't want to do. We have a good bond and understanding. This is what every successful career needs - a good manager," he says.

"Life is all about timing, like drumming. I'm just a musician who wants to express himself and contribute to the music scene in Hong Kong."

Kung is preparing to get back on stage with a concert that he says has "everything from jazz to rock to pop music". He produced the songs himself and has but one goal in mind: "My mission is to entertain my audience, to be their 'drug'."

Kung's concert Jun on the Moon 2010 Live is on Saturday and his new album Jun.K will be released the next day.

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