Long journey to success

Long journey to success

Macau-born singer Chita Yu tells Chris Lau how she has evolved both professionally and personally

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Chita Yu_L
Photo: May Tse/SCMP
Few singers achieve fame right after kick-starting their careers. The lucky ones wait, perhaps months; others - who don't have the right "character" or "camera face" - wait a lifetime.

Macau-born singer/songwriter Chita Yu Choi-chi waited about 10 years for her turn. But now that she's made it, she says she's grateful for the long wait. It gave her the chance to master new musical skills and meet a bunch of supportive friends, she says.

"If I had become famous at the outset of my career, I would not have grown as much," says Yu, whose second album, R.I.S.E., is due to be released tomorrow.

If you ask Yu what kind of music she writes, she will tell you there are many. She describes herself as an adventurer who loves to explore a variety of genres. In her new album, fans can expect to bob their heads to thumping R&B beats, and also dance along to mesmerising jazz melodies. R.I.S.E, the singer says, features some pop rock and unplugged sounds as well.

One of the tracks on the album - Yuan Nu, or "mournful girl" - is a metaphor for how the singer turned all her negativity into positive energy during her lengthy wait for fame.

"Yuan Nu is a very positive song," says Yu. "It aims to encourage people not to become a whining girl.

"The ridiculously long journey inspired me to write this song."

The singer has had her fair share of ups and downs while striving to become a better musician. She tried everything she could think of to break into show business, including modelling and acting. She was turned down by many record labels who said Hong Kong was not ready for her alternative style. One time, the singer admits, she even gave up and went back to Macau.

But Yu's efforts were slowly recognised. She released her EP, Make a Love Song, in 2009, and was invited to perform at CCTV's Spring Festival celebration show in 2010 and 2011.

Yu has lots of different creative talents. For Legendary Song, which she composed after watching famed Hong Kong lyricist Wyman Wong in concert, she wrote a script and shot a short film in New Zealand's countryside.

Both the song and the short film, which will screen at iSquare on Monday, are about the often unspoken love and respect shared within Chinese families. The first-time scriptwriter says it's time to change this Chinese tradition, and show loved ones that they are important.

Looking back at her road to success, Yu says that if it wasn't for her career detour, she wouldn't have spent so much time mastering how to write a good song. Her loyal friends, she says, are also the rewards she received for her persistence.

"If I hadn't gone through so many low points, I wouldn't have met the group of friends I have now, and I wouldn't be able to tell who's a good friend and who's not," she says.

Having recently been signed by Sony Music Entertainment, the singer says that right now she just wants to focus on her music.

"I haven't released an album for so long," she says. "I hope this time, with R.I.S.E, I can at least give everyone a song which reminds them of me."


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- Hong Kong is set to see the release of the first-ever locally produced dance film, The Way We Dance

- G.E.M. might be sporting a darker look but she's not another teen performer gone bad

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