Eman Lam finally finds her voice with new record

Eman Lam finally finds her voice with new record

Back with her second solo album, Eman Lam talks to Melanie Leung about finally finding both her own voice and her own unique style

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On The Go shows off Eman Lam's real self, and she's so much more at home.
On The Go shows off Eman Lam's real self, and she's so much more at home.
Photo: Melanie Leung/SCMP

Eman Lam Yee-man may have been in the spotlight for more than 12 years, but she doesn't act the diva superstar. 

Sitting comfortably on the floor with her boots off, Lam realises she's still chewing gum, and casually asks if I would rip a corner off my notebook for her to spit it out.

Now in her fourth year as a solo artist after the breakup of at17 in 2010, Lam is finally ready to release her second album. Titled On the Go, it took a painstaking year-and-a-half to record. 

"I was recording up to a point that I didn't know what I was doing anymore," says the 31-year-old. "Imagine singing the same nine songs over and over again for a year-and-a-half." 

For much of the time Lam was recording, she was also hosting a radio programme on weekday evenings until 1am. It was this hectic schedule which inspired the album's title.

"Often you think you've already reached the end, that you've learned all the lessons," she says. "But that's never true. I'm teasing myself with the album name." 

On the Go is also the first album Lam has recorded in Mandarin, and she admits it was a commercial decision.

But she is determined to maintain an element of Hong Kong's unique culture. For example, on lead single  Do You Love Me, she captures the sound of the city by singing in Cantonese, English and Putonghua.

"Even though we've returned to China, Hong Kong's culture is still different," she says, adding that the song is also a polite way of maintaining that individuality.

Since leaving Canto-folk duo at17, where she performed alongside Ellen Joyce Loo, Lam has begun to find her own identity. When they first separated, Lam admits it was hard to perform without a partner. But now she is more comfortable being on her own.

"We've grown so much, to a point that when you look back at the girls from at17, you won't recognise us," she says. 

"We're so different we would never have been friends had we not met when we were so young and grown up together." 

Despite the change in direction, the pair still works together on music. Loo wrote  Do You Love Me for Lam, and also contributed lyrics for another song, Taking.

Lam's image has also changed. When she released her first solo album in 2012, she came across as more girly, wearing high heels and clothes that weren't her style. Now she's back with a more comfortable tomboy look, which she's sported since she was young.

"It's funny. Sometimes in order to find yourself, you have to do something that's not you," says Lam. "I've tried it, and I really know it's not me."

And Lam feels right at home in the music video for Do You Love Me, too. It features her destroying clothes, shoes and a mannequin.

"The video is my little rebellion," says Lam. "When there are things you don't like, you can just say so. It's OK." 

Eman Lam will perform at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, from tonight until Sunday


Melanie and our cadets, Michelle and Cammy, challenge Lam to a drawing contest

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Eman Lam finally finds her voice with new record

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