Hot on the heels of his new single, Shapes in the Sun, Hong Kong-born folk sensation Allman Brown is set to make his long-awaited homecoming this week. Brown, who is gearing up for his second album release this spring, will be performing at Fortress Hill’s MOM Livehouse as part of his solo Asia tour.
Before he does, he spoke to Young Post about his childhood living in Hong Kong, as well as his upcoming album, Darling, It Will Be Alright.
“I haven’t been back [to Hong Kong] in about 10 years, so I’m curious to see how it’s changed and what’s stayed the same,” said the singer, who moved to Britain at the age of 12 but who continued to visit the city afterwards. “It was a lot of fun. It was a bit like a golden era really, for a kid. Aside from all the political aspects, just being [in Hong Kong] was special. There were many of us in a group, going on junks, and beach trips – it was wicked.
“Hong Kong is a concoction of different cultures, and I loved it. I still miss taking the Star Ferry.”
For Brown, these shows will be the first chance he has had to play his new songs in front of an audience, alongside old favourites from his 2017 breakthrough debut, 1,000 Years. Although the singer-songwriter sees that record as being “a mosaic cobbled together from different stages of my life”, he is even more excited for Darling, It Will Be Alright.
He said, “I’ll always love [1,000 Years], and it’ll always be very special to me, but I’m more excited about my new record.” He added that the new album is a collection of songs conceived as a whole, recorded in one place, and with the same producer.
When we asked him, whether he felt any pressure knowing that there’s an engaged fan base waiting for new music, Brown said, “It’s basically a relief to have an audience. It’s amazing that I can release music and that there are people excited to hear it.”
Darling, It Will Be Alright boasts bigger, toe-tapping pop songs, alongside a lyrical theme of positivity. “We live in a world where there’s a lot of terrible stuff happening everywhere you look, and it’s quite easy to feel overwhelmed,” he said. “I’ve got a two-year-old child and I thought, ‘I want to make a piece of work that’s going to galvanise people to feel better, and hopefully do better things, to be part of something that is positive.’”
Hinting towards the political divides being felt around the world, he continued, “There are people out there who want to keep polarising the debate so they make it ‘us and them’, so I just wanted to remind everyone that it is ‘us’.”
Brown struggled for eight years to gain recognition, so he is all too familiar with the challenges of trying to make music a sustainable full-time career.
“It’s very easy to feel isolated when pursuing [a career in] music,” he said. “You feel like the world is stacked against you and it’s just you, so it’s important to get out there and meet all the different elements of the music community – you never know who you’ll end up meeting.” Like the themes behind his music, he added that “hope is the key”.
Brown performs this Wednesday with support from local musician Kaona. Tickets are HK$200 from Ticketflap.