Singer kayan9896 Wants to Soar to New Heights with Her Music Career in HK
September 05, 2023
Jeannie Ng Ka-yan, known as singer kayan9896, never imagined a life in the creative industry. As a child, her mother informed her of her destined future to become a Chinese medicine doctor.
"I wanted to be an actor when I was young and I enjoyed singing, but I never grasped what I wanted to do after studying in university,” she tells The Beat Asia with a slight North American accent, a remnant of her time in Toronto on an exchange studies programme in 2019.
Studying for a degree in media and communications at City University Hong Kong, Jeannie grumbles about writing or working in an office. “It’s boring.” As she entered her third year of studies in 2020, a message changed her life for good.
“A director DMed me on Instagram one day asking if I would be interested in participating in a music video? I went crazy because I always wanted to do this. I always thought the one way to enter the [music] industry is TVB’s Miss Hong Kong.”
On a whim, Jeannie travelled to the director’s office and began auditions to star in a music video for industry-legend and friend Tyson Yoshi's single, “Something,” released in October 2020.
With fan fever for Tyson Yoshi’s mysterious love interest on “Something,” played by Jeannie, plans to accelerate stardom and work on her interest in singing herself began.
“I began uploading videos of my singing onto YouTube and joined [comedy show] Trial and Error to promote my acting and singing on their YouTube channel,” she mentions. “The team were very supportive and wanted to push me to sing more.”
“I started singing English songs because I love English songs, but in Hong Kong speaking Cantonese, I also sang Cantopop. I really knew nothing about being a singer, only that I loved singing.”
When momentum drove Jeannie to act upon a potential career in singing, she joined her music label, New Age Tone Entertainment, to work on her lyric writing and production. “Being a singer, you have to know about songwriting. I needed to work.”
Jeannie met her producer SILVERSTRIKE and the pair began making music. With limited budget, her producer suggested to hum and create her own unique toplines and melodies. “Tyson actually helped me find random beats on YouTube to craft my tunes and write my toplines.”
In December 2021, Jeannie broke onto the scene with her first single, “Be Around.” The song features a happy mood with connections to her feelings. “It’s a sad love song about breakups, being dumped by someone you loved.” Although, she concedes she’s never been dumped by anyone.
With six singles released since her breakthrough in late 2021, Jeannie admits she is still set on a pathway of discovery for her music. “I am still exploring the style of music I really want to keep doing. I like a lot of music genres.”
Singer Lady Gaga, she states, is a great inspiration for her music. “I just love her music, she’s so cool! I grew up listening to more Lady Gaga than Cantonese music. But I do still listen and love Cantopop.”
“I feel comfortable creating music, but uncomfortable with everybody rushing me. My fans and mentors tell me, you’ve been in this industry for two years, you cannot still be in this exploring stage. Everything happened too fast. I don't have time to process, I don't have time to learn, I don't have time to explore.”
“Now, it is time for me to slow down and explore what I wanted and like, because I am not confident to tell people that I'm a singer or tell people that I make my own music.”
Jeannie made a promise to her fans that she would release an album at the end of 2023, but “hopefully in 2024,” she can release an EP to her fans.
“People in Hong Kong may still think I am just famous, an influencer or a YouTuber. I want more character development in terms of people seeing me for what I am—a singer!”
To listen to kayan9896’s latest singles and music videos, check out her YouTube channel here!
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