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Lee in 2013
|Pinyin||Lǐ Wén (Mandarin)|
|Jyutping||Lei5 Man4 (Cantonese)|
17 January 1975
|Other names||Ferren Lee|
|Occupation||singer, songwriter, actress, dancer|
|Genre(s)||Pop, C-pop, dance-pop, hip hop, R&B, soul|
|Label(s)||Capital Artists, Fancy Pie, Sony Music Entertainment, 550 Music, Epic, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, Universal Music|
Coco Lee (Chinese: 李玟; pinyin: Lǐ Wén; born Ferren Lee, 17 January 1975, Hong Kong) is a Hong Kong-born American singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actress. Lee's career began in Hong Kong and then expanded to Taiwan. Her single, "Do You Want My Love" also entered the US music charts. Her first full-length English language album was Just No Other Way. As a Chinese American, Lee is the first and only person of Chinese ethnicity to perform at the Oscars; she performed the Best Original Song nominated, "A Love Before Time" from the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
- 1 Career
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Discography
- 4 Videography
- 5 Filmography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Career beginnings and Sony Music: 1992-1998
After Lee graduated from high school in 1992, she returned to Hong Kong to see her sisters participate in the Miss Hong Kong Pageant. While there, she took part in the 12th Annual New Talent Singing Awards and was the first runner-up, singing Whitney Houston's Run to you. The following day, Capital Artists offered her a recording contract. She made her debut by appearing in several compilation albums, such as Red Hot Hits '93 Autumn Edition (火熱動感93勁秋版). In 1994, working with Fancy Pie Records, she released her first solo albums in Mandarin, Love from Now On (愛就要趁現在) and Promise Me (答應我). In 1995, she released an English language cover album, Brave Enough to Love, as well as her third Mandarin album, Woman in Love (被愛的女人). In 1996, Lee signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment and her subsequent album, "Coco Lee" became the best-selling album of 1996 in Asia. In 1997, she released the Mandarin album "Sincere" as well as a self-titled Cantonese album. In 1998, the Mandarin album Di Da Di was released and sold to 1 million copies in less than 3 months.
International collaborations and English debut: 1998-2005
From her next album Sunny day, "Colors of the World" was used for the opening of the Football World Cup, and the song The answer (答案) for the Chinese movie Bishonen. Walt Disney Pictures hired her to sing the theme song "Reflection" (自己) and be the voice of the heroine Fa Mulan in the Mandarin version of Mulan. On August, 1998, Coco performed in Taiwan to a concert audience of more than 30,000 fans, the second largest concert audience in Taiwan (a feat that only Michael Jackson has claimed in the past). She also performed in Michael Jackson's "Michael Jackson and friends" charity concert. In 1999, under 550 Music, Lee made her debut Just No Other Way which included the smashing hit, Do You Want My Love. Her love song Before I Fall In Love was included in the soundtrack of the movie Runaway Bride. She also had a duet called Can't get over with singer Kelly Price. Lee recorded the charity singles "We meet the future" and "Hand in hand" for SARS with other artists including Wang Leehom, Stefanie Sun, Elva Hsiao, and Jolin Tsai. Back in Asia, she released a Mandarin album You & me. In 2001, Lee sang the song A Love Before Time for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Her album, Promise Coco released in October 2001. In 2002, Lee released her remix album D. Is Coco (Dance is Coco). She sang a song against tobacco called From the beginning til' the end (煙絲萬縷) with singer Jacky Cheung. She sang the anti racism song A dream of one with Korean singer Jin Young Park. In 2003, she performed with Shaggy at the "MTV Asia awards" in Singapore and also presented the show with him. Lee co-starred in the Chinese comedy movie Master of Everything (自娱自乐) with John Lone, which won the Best Foreign Film award in the 2005 Beverly Hills Film Festival. In 2004, as the Youth AIDS ambassador, she attended the global AIDS conference in Bangkok, Thailand as the representative of the Asian artists to meet various youth groups discussing what she can do to educate them about AIDS.
Second English album and Warner Music: 2005-2011
In 2005, Sony BMG released her second English album, Exposed. The album was banned in Mainland China for sexy lyrics in a few songs such as Touch or So good. Lee's next Mandarin album, Just Want You (要定你) was released on 22 September 2006. In 2008, Lee was chosen to sing one of the Olympic songs, "Forever Friends", opposite Sun Nan. She changed her record company to work with Warner Music Group (Taiwan) from Music Nation. On 14 August, she released her new Mandarin album East to west (CoCo的東西) with Warner Music Group. It contains the songs "Party time", "Turn" (流轉) which is the soundtrack of the movie "The Legend of Silkboy" (世博总动员-湖丝仔) for the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and "BYOB" ("Bring Your Own Bag") a song to encourage people to bring and recycle their own shopping bags to save the environment. She recorded the song "Smile Shanghai" (微笑上海) with other artists including JJ Lin, Andy Lau, Jam Hsiao or Jane Zhang for Shanghai World Expo 2010. On 27 March 2010, Lee began her "East2West" World Tour Concert in Taipei at Taipei Arena. She performed at the Encore Theatre in Wynn Casino in Las Vegas on 3 and 4 July, then in Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on 2 October and in Nanning on 16 December. In March 2011, Lee was one of many artists participating in the recording of "Artists 311 Love Beyond Borders" (愛心無國界311燭光晚會) official theme song called Succumb not to sorrow (不要輸給心痛) in Cantonese version. On 7 April 2011, her song Dreams on oriental seas (梦在东方的海上) featuring Sun Nan was broadcast. It was named as the theme for the 14th FINA world championships, that took place in Shanghai on 16 July 2011.
New album: 2011-present
On 8 June 2011, Lee announced that she set up her own studio. On 25 June, her song Four seas alliance (四海盟約), the theme song for the 2011 China television drama All men are brothers (水滸傳), was broadcast. On 17 December 2011, she performed at "Booey Lehoo Concert" in Beijing with will.i.am and apl.de.ap from The Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and Shunza. On 9 February 2012, she performed at "I AM WILL / I AM ANGEL Benefit Concert" at Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles with will.i.am, apl.de.ap and Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas.
Her new album Illuminate (盛開) was released on 31 May 2013 with Universal Music.
In 2016, she competed in the 4th season of the Chinese reality show I Am A Singer, but she admitted she faded out as a singer since 2014 due to bronchitis. Despite that, she recovered to eventually win the competition, becoming the first non-mainland Chinese national to do so in the show.
Born in Hong Kong, Lee is the youngest of three children and was born to an Indonesian Chinese father and a Hong Kong Chinese mother. She has two elder sisters, Nancy, who was her manager before, and Carol. Her father died before she was born. When she was 9 years old, her mother brought Lee and her sisters to live in San Francisco. She attended Presidio Middle School and Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School, both in San Francisco. The summer after graduating from high school, she was offered a recording contract in Hong Kong and attempted to juggle her burgeoning career there with her studies at the University of California, Irvine but eventually left after her freshman year to concentrate on her pop career.
Lee married Bruce Rockowitz (born 24 October 1958), a Jewish-Canadian businessman and former CEO of Li & Fung on 27 October 2011 in a lavish Jewish wedding ceremony in Hong Kong. For her wedding, she registered the song "I just wanna marry u" (Chinese and English version), which was released on 24 October 2011. In 2016, she revealed that she has two adult step-daughters from his previous marriage.