Going onstage (www.esplanade.com).


Now Hear This: Khalil Fong

The multilingual R&B and soul singer-songwriter strums up some choice music picks.


Published: 14 Jan 2019

Time taken : ~10mins

Born in Hawaii and eventually basing himself in Hong Kong, Khalil Fong's music tastes and output reflect a similar wide-ranging breadth as his transcontinental journey. We get the award-winning multilingual R&B and soul singer-songwriter to strum up some choice music picks.

What song did you listen to all the time growing up?

Khalil Fong: La Bamba by the late Ritchie Valens.

The biographical movie of the same name was a big influence on me as a child, and I got into a lot of ’50s rock and roll between the ages of five and eight.

You moved to Shanghai and then to Hong Kong when you were young. What was your first encounter with Chinese music?

I am mostly influenced by Western music. After moving to Shanghai, I had a small selection of Chinese music that I listened to which included artists such as Zheng Zhihua (郑智化) and Cui Jian (崔健).

As for Cantonese music, I sometimes listened to songs by Paula Tsui (徐小凤) and Danny Chan (陈百强)—mainly music that my Granny listened to.

What was the first song you heard that had a big impact on you?

There were two—Billie Jean by Michael Jackson and Superstition by Stevie Wonder. I think these are the songs that had a heavy influence on many artists of this generation.

What song inspires you most?

That’s hard because I don’t have favourites. I guess I would instead say that I Want You Back by The Jackson 5 is one of the most uplifting songs I’ve heard. It’s got a great vibe that never gets old.

You’ve written music for many notable artists such as A-mei, Andy Lau and Eason Chan. Which of their songs means the most to you?

《倒带人生》 by Eason Chan. It was originally an English demo (Orange Moon) of mine that is influenced by Nick Drake. It was a hidden track on my album also titled Orange Moon.

Looking at your own discography, what’s your favourite Khalil Fong song?

I don’t have a favourite but I guess I’d have to go for Flavor, which is a song featuring special guests Zion.T and Crush who are two amazing artists and songwriters.

Congrats! You recently became a children’s author of an ongoing series Emi the Dream Catcher. Which Khalil Fong song would you recommend to potential little fans who don’t know your music?

I’m currently working on book four and five. I hope we can publish them in the first quarter of 2019.

I would suggest the song The Tree of Life as being one of the more unique tracks within the Emi story tie-in songs.

Khalil Fong performed at Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts on 16 Feb 2019 as part of his TIO Concert Tour.

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