25 Cantopop singers 1997-2022
How well do you know Hong Kong’s Cantopop superstars? Here are 25 of the most popular singers from 1997 until now who have helped shape the Hong Kong pop music scene today. Many of their songs are still being played in public places and sung at karaoke parties. Can you correctly match their facial features and name them all?
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Aaron Kwok Fu-shing became a star literally overnight after his handsome face wowed audiences in a TV commercial in 1990. In the same year, he released an album that sold more than a million copies. Kwok has been dubbed the “King of Stage” because of his eye-catching dance moves.
Anson Lo Hon-ting shot to fame after appearing in ViuTV’s popular adaptation of the Japanese drama Ossan’s Love in 2021. The fact that he is also a member of the Cantopop boyband Mirror – and an awesome dancer – means there is no stopping his meteoric climb to stardom.
Alan Tam Wing-lun started his career as a member of the band The Wynners. After the group disbanded in 1980, Tam went on to become one of Hong Kong's biggest-selling solo artists. Always quipping he is “forever 25”, the singer is still active on the showbiz scene today.
Everybody says that Andy Lau Tak-wah is the hardest-working star on the Canto-pop circuit. With more than 160 films and 60 albums under his belt, the actor-singer has become one of Hong Kong’s most popular entertainers since entering show business in 1981.
Andy Hui Chi-On is a pop singer and movie actor. Recognised both for his onscreen performances and his musical talent, he has won numerous music awards, and was named as one of the city’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons in 2005 for his contribution to Hong Kong music and film.
With a melancholic contralto voice, charismatic stage presence and constantly changing image, Anita Mui Yim-fong, who died from cervical cancer in 2003, was the biggest female Canto-pop singer in Hong Kong. To this day, she is affectionately referred to as the “daughter of Hong Kong”.
Twins – made up of Gillian Chung Yun-tung and Charlene Choi Tsoek-jin — are the most successful Cantopop female duo in the genre’s history. Together they defined a new generation of devoted young Cantopop fans who grew up with their extraordinary success in both music and movies.
Eason Chan Yik-shun won first place in the 1995 New Talent Singing Awards, launching his career in music. He has enjoyed great success since releasing his debut album in 1996, with a series of top-selling albums and sell-out concert tours.
Faye Wong is gifted with one of the finest singing voices in the music business, not only in Hong Kong but also mainland China. Starting out as Shirley Wong Ching-man singing mostly Cantonese songs, she had a major breakthrough when she returned from studying music in the US with the best-selling album Coming Home (1994). Ditching her stage name, Wong Fei, or Faye Wong, was born.
Twins – made up of Gillian Chung Yun-tung and Charlene Choi Tsoek-jin – are the most successful Cantopop female duo in the genre’s history. Together they defined a new generation of devoted young Cantopop fans who grew up with their extraordinary success in both music and movies.
Gin Lee a Malaysian-Chinese singer, made a huge impression on Hong Kong Cantopop lovers when, in 2010, she was invited to compete in The Voice 2, a singing competition in the style of a reality show broadcast by TVB. Since then she has released many more hits that have earned her a well-earned place in the Hong Kong and regional music industry.
Hacken Lee Hak-kan is a veteran of the Cantopop scene. Signed up after winning a singing contest in 1985, he released his debut album while still in secondary school. He was then compared to Alan Tam Wing-lun, who later became a crucial figure in his career.
Hins Cheung King-hin is a Guangzhou-born singer who started his Cantopop career in Hong Kong. With his boy-next-door charm and talent for music, Cheung established himself as one of Canto-pop’s most popular singer-songwriters after moving here in the early noughties.
Jacky Cheung Hok-yau entered the music industry by winning the Amateur 18-Hong Kong District Singing Contest in 1984. The entire ’90s was the pinnacle of Cheung’s career and every album had multiple hits. He also earned the nickname "God of songs" for his vocal talents.
Janice vidal is widely recognised as one of the most gifted singers in the history of Cantopop. In 2017 she was voted No 1 in an online poll to find the singer with the most beautiful voice, beating superstars including Eason Chan Yik-shun, Joey Yung Cho-yee and the late Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing.
Joey Yung Cho-yee has won numerous awards since debuting in 1996. She ranked 63rd on the 2014 Forbes China Celebrity 100 list, making her the most influential Hong Kong-based female singer that year.
Kay Tse On-kay was discovered by composer and lyricist Adrian Chow Bok-yin during her winning turn at a Hong Kong University singing contest in 2002. The two have a fruitful singer-producer partnership that resulted in a number of popular songs that were socially aware and refreshingly different from the typical love ballads on the Cantopop market.
Kelly Chen Wai-lam became a Cantopop idol from the get-go when her debut solo album Intoxicated Lover (1995) became a commercial success. She went on to release many more best-selling records and staged many sold-out live concerts before taking a step back from her illustrious career in 2012.
Keung To is arguably the most popular member of the Cantopop boyband Mirror. Keung joined Hong Kong broadcaster ViuTV’s reality talent contest King Maker in 2018 — and won. He then went on to become the youngest artist to win two coveted prizes on the Cantopop scene – My Favourite Male Singer and My Favourite Song — at Commercial Radio’s Ultimate Song Chart Awards in 2021.
Leo Ku Kui-kei is both a popular singer and TV/film actor. He is the ultimate Mr Nice Guy in showbiz and has won more than 60 music awards from Commercial Radio, RTHK and Metro Radio over the course of his career.
Leon Lai-ming tried out for the 5th New Talent Singing Awards in 1986 and landed himself a recording contract, but it took four years of coaching before he released his first album. He has now enjoyed a career in show business stretching back more than three decades.
Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing was one of the most prominent pioneers that shaped the identity of Cantopop during the 1980s. Before his death in 2003, Cheung was a chart-topping singer and an artist who had never been far from the spotlight throughout a career that spanned more than two decades.
Miriam Yeung Chin-wah came third in the 1995 New Talent Singing Awards competition and has since released hit after hit and more than 40 albums. She has picked up numerous music awards in her decades-long career and is also a much-loved actress, appearing in more than 30 films.
Sammi Cheng Sau-man started her journey through the entertainment industry by finishing third in the New Talent Singing Championship in 1988. Since then, her talent has flourished. She has released countless albums and won numerous awards, sealing her reputation as one of Cantopop’s greats.
Sandy Lam Yik-lin started her showbiz career as a radio DJ before becoming one of this city’s top female pop vocalists in the 1990s. One of the hardest-working artists in the industry, Lam is just as well known on the Mando-pop scene after her 1990 hit Home Again Without You.
Associate Creative Director Marcelo Duhalde
Text by Kevin Kwong
Edited by Tom Eves