I have long been a fan of Hong Kong Chanteuse Karen Mok and now she has decided to release an English album with definite a fusion of Chinese musical elements. Her first song of the album is a cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” It’s jazzy, sultry and taps the use of the Chinese Guzheng. Karen does a beautiful job.
From Hong Kong but with Chinese, Welsh, Persian and German heritage, singer, songwriter, actress, musician, award-winner, Olympic torch-bearer and superstar of concerts films and musicals, multi-lingual and multi-talented Karen has repeatedly proved that she is one of the most distinguished talents of her generation.
With 15 hugely successful albums under her belt Karen is now setting her sights beyond Asia with “Somewhere I Belong” which she describes as “jazz, with a bit of a Chinese approach”. Recorded in Shanghai during 2012, with “Somewhere I Belong” Mok has created an album with global appeal that features a broad palette of songs running all the way from Cole Porter to Portishead, Chris Isaak to Sting and from George Gershwin to The Beatles. Reflecting her roots Karen has included two Chinese songs, including one from the heyday of Shanghai’s swinging jazz scene in the 1930s and ’40s, and plays the traditional Chinese instrument the guzheng throughout the album.
Since bursting onto the Mandarin music scene in the 1990s Karen has been a fixture in the Asian music charts as well as starring in countless films including the 2003 Jackie Chan hit “Around the World in 80 Days” and the upcoming Keanu Reeves-directed movie “Man of Tai Chi”. She was the voice of Princess Kida in the Cantonese version of Disney’s “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”, played the lead role of Mimi in the 10th anniversary Asian tour of the Broadway smash “Rent” in 2005-6 and was a torch bearer for the Beijing 2008 Olympic games. She currently has a massive 36 million followers on Chinese microblog service Weibo.
“Somewhere I Belong” is the next chapter in her incredible career. The 10-song set was premiered by Karen in October 2012 at the Shanghai Jazz Festival and will be released by Universal Music in Asia in mid-January and internationally two weeks later, just in time for Chinese New Year.
“This album has been my dream for as long as I can remember, bringing my music to a bigger audience, to the world,” says Karen. “I’m always trying to do things that are different and have an element of surprise and fun. Jazz is a genre that can cross borders and cultures but we’ve also made sure this album has a Chinese identity – I don’t think there’s ever been the use of Chinese instruments to play jazz music like this!”
Max Hole, Chief Operating Officer of Universal Music Group International and head of Universal Music Asia-Pacific region for the last 10 years, says: “Karen is such a star in Asia and with “Somewhere I Belong” she has created an album that blends beautifully the musical cultures of East and West. We’re thrilled to be able to introduce this incredible and hugely accomplished artist to a worldwide audience.”
(Reprinted from POPCulture Issue028 – April 2013).
“Somewhere I Belong” track listing (International):
1.Love For Sale
2.While My Guitar Gently Weeps
4.The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships (傾國傾城)
8.A Fine Romance
9.The Man I Love
10.I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
11.Moon Over Bourbon Street
12.Shanghai Nights (夜上海)
Karen Mok’s ‘Somewhere I Belong’ is available for pre-order on iTunes now!