Two years ago, Hong Kong-born singer Yuki Lovey had it all going for her: a blossoming music career, her own management team, and a handful of pop singles that were steadily gaining traction.
But the 28-year-old, whose real name is Lo Ka-yee, felt her music was losing its originality. She made the bold decision to leave her management, and become an independent artist. Her gamble paid off – and last month, she dropped her first single since making that move, called Crying Underwater.
She sat down with Young Post to talk about finally finding self-fulfilment. “I wanted to challenge myself,” said Lovey, who had been three years into her music career at the time. “I felt insecure because I would just write lyrics and the melody, and send it to my manager to do the arrangement. I didn’t take part in the production [side of things].”
Still, going independent brought its own challenges. The anxiety that Lovey felt during this process inspired her new single; as she explained, “I felt no one understood how I was feeling – like you’re crying under the water. People cannot see the tears so you can just pretend you’re normal.”
Lovey, feeling like she lacked experience and confidence, took a year to complete the song, rearranging it three times in the process. The result, however, was powerful enough to capture the imaginations of Somerley Ha and Lok Yiu Chan, who directed the music video for the song. “I was captivated and surprised the first time I listened to Yuki’s new song,” recalled Chan.
Ha, meanwhile, wanted to convey Yuki’s emotions in the music video. “I was inspired by the process of searching within an altered mind, and the process of deep-diving through emotions and imagination, as if it was all just a painful yet poetic struggle within ourselves.”
Lovey revealed she “didn’t have any budget” for the music video, which was filmed in a small studio in Kwun Tong. The team took a DIY approach to the shoot, making the on-screen materials by hand and making do without any CGI effects.
“People have asked whether we used stock footage for the video because it turned out so great,” laughed Lovey, before adding, “The approach was quite abstract, which matched with the song quite well. I used a lot of layers to create the ambience and atmosphere, and I think the abstract scenes worked perfectly with the music.”
Lovey’s new-found confidence has prompted her to form a new four-piece band that performed together for the first time in March at the Lost Stars venue in Tai Kok Tsui. She has also taken up drawing again, something she loved to do as a child, and is also studying at the Baptist University of Visual Arts.
“I’ve really grown up and learned a lot,” she said thoughtfully. “I didn’t really care about my music before going on my own … as I’ve had the chance to start my life over, I really want to develop music and my illustrations together.” Lovey has since made animated videos for her own music as well as for Taiwanese band Elephant Gym.
“Crying Underwater is the first song I’m proud of. It’s the only song I’ve really worked for myself. I did the arrangements, the animation video for the song, and designed the cover art. I took part in every stage of this song.