28 May

Hong Kong’s hottest newcomer, Aarif Lee, sings, plays the guitar, writes music and acts. Oh, and he’s a physicist by training
May 28, 2010

You may do a double take the first time singer-actor Aarif Lee appears on screen in the new Hong Kong tearjerker Echoes Of The Rainbow.

Many have mistaken the dashing and earnest-looking 23-year-old for Taiwanese R&B crooner Wang Lee Hom.

Being called the spitting image of the renowned singer is hardly an insult to Lee, who boasts a colourful, mixed heritage.

His mum is Chinese and his dad has Chinese, Malay and Middle Eastern blood.

‘Actually, I feel rather flattered to be compared to Lee Hom,’ he told FiRST in an e-mail interview.

Praising Wang as a ‘true genius’, he said that he has ‘always admired his talent and passion for music’.

Lee, whose unique name Aarif is Arabic for ‘knowledgeable’, burst onto the Hong Kong entertainment scene last year as record label A Music’s freshest signing.

Armed with deft guitar-playing skills and a knack for songwriting, his debut Cantonese album, Starting Today, was released last November to critical acclaim and is selling well.


He won a slew of year-end Canto-pop awards, including Metro Broadcast and Chik Chak Music’s Best New Rising Male Star.

With his much-lauded maiden acting effort in Echoes Of The Rainbow, plus his Best Newcomer and Best Song victories – yes, he also composed the movie’s theme song – at the Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA) in April, Lee has officially become Hong Kong’s new It Guy.

Echoes Of The Rainbow, a heartwarming family drama set in 1960s Hong Kong and which co-stars veterans Sandra Ng and Simon Yam as Lee’s doting parents, opens here today.

Lee, who graduated from London’s Imperial College in 2008 with a degree in physics, remained humble about the accolades he has garnered at a seemingly supersonic rate.

‘I didn’t expect to win (Best Newcomer at HKFA) and I am extremely grateful for my good fortune so far,’ he said.

‘It still feels rather surreal. I never imagined my efforts to be so well-received among the Hong Kong film-goers, let alone the judges at the awards.

‘To me, the popularity (of Echoes Of The Rainbow) proves that family values and genuine, heartfelt storytelling are always welcomed!’

He was jubilant too when his on-screen dad Yam, 55, deservedly bagged his first Best Actor award after nearly 40 years in showbusiness and nine previous HKFA nominations – five for Best Actor, four for Best Supporting Actor.

Bruce Lee

‘It was amazing watching him act and even more amazing to finally see him win,’ said Lee, who is preparing to play Bruce Lee in an upcoming biopic about the legendary martial arts actor.

According to reports in Hong Kong, he has been training hard in the wushu style of Wing Chun for two months, with more gym and dance sessions in the pipeline to whip him into shape for the role.

Movies and music are two things Lee hopes he’ll always be able to balance masterfully.

‘I love music and I really enjoy acting; from young, I’ve loved impersonating characters and acting out scenes from movies I watched.

‘I don’t think I will ever fall out of love with either music or film,’ he said.

‘It’s all about opportunities that come my way. Hopefully, the two can remain equally important in the future.’

Lee, who once told HK-magazine.com that his ‘best songs are those written when I’m most emotionally disturbed’, shows off his mean acoustic guitar techniques in Echoes Of The Rainbow.

‘The guitar is my principal instrument for songwriting,’ he said.

‘It isn’t biased and it doesn’t judge. It simply projects what’s from the heart.’

Tan Kee Yun


The NewPaper

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