Denise Ho

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Denise Ho
Denise Ho Dear Friend Concert 2016 1.jpg
Born (1977-05-10) 10 May 1977 (age 42)
NationalityCanadian
Alma materCollège Jean-de-Brébeuf
Occupationsinger-songwriter, music entrepreneur, producer, actress, writer
Years active1996–present
AwardsNew Talent Singing Awards – 1996 Winner

Chinese name
Traditional Chinese何韻詩
Simplified Chinese何韵诗
Musical career
OriginHong Kong and Canada
GenresCantopop, Mandopop, alternative rock, symphonic rock, synthpop, soul, electronic rock
InstrumentsGuitar, electronic keyboard, piano
LabelsGoomusic (2015–present)
East Asia Music (2004–2015)
EMI (2002–2004)
Capital Artists (1996–2001)
WebsiteDenise Ho on Twitter

Denise Ho Wan-see,[1] also known as HOCC[2] (born 10 May 1977[3]), is a Hong Kong-based Cantopop singer[4] and actress, as well as a pro-democracy and LGBT rights activist.

Early life and education[edit]

Denise Ho was born 10 May 1977 in Hong Kong, to two parents who were both teachers.[5] There, she began her primary school education, at the Diocesan Girls' Junior School.[citation needed]

At age 11, in 1988, she moved with her parents from Hong Kong to Montreal, Canada.[5] Ho first attended Jean-de-la-Mennais College,[6] an elementary and middle in La Prairie, on the South Shore of Montreal, then attended Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf,[7] a Catholic college preparatory secondary school and private college.[5] There, she received a Quebec Diploma of College Studies in Arts and Communications.[citation needed]

She then began studies at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM),[6] in graphic design.[5]

Career[edit]

1996–1999[edit]

At age 19, Ho enrolled in a song contest in Hong Kong—the 1996 New Talent Singing Awards[8]—and to her stated surprise, won the competition (referring to it as an "accident").[5][8]

This gave her the opportunity to meet Anita Mui, a diva of cantopop[5]—"queen of Hong Kong movies and…renowned in the… world of Cantonese pop music"[9]—of whom she had been a fan since childhood,[8] and who would become her mentor following her win.[5] This launched her career, and at this time she took on the stage name, "HoCC"; this gave her the opportunity to record an album,[5] and gave her a recording contract with Capital Artists. In the intervening period between the contents win and her first album, Ho toured as a background vocalist with Mui,[citation needed] and hosted various television programs produced by TVB.[citation needed]

2000–2004[edit]

Ho released her first album "First" in 2001, in her fourth year of the contract with Capital Artists. Produced by Choy Yat Chi of Grasshopper (band), this EP, containing her first single "Thousands more of me" (千千萬萬個我)and "Home of Glory" (光榮之家),defined with success Ho's style as the rock pop independent female she is up till recent years. She earned the gold award of "Best new singer" of the year in CRHK and also in various awards ceremony. In October of the same year, Capital Artists announced bankruptcy, resulting in the end of Ho's first record label era.

After Capital Artists closed, Ho joined EMI in 2002. Although she was only with the company for a brief 2-year period, it was during this time that her musical talents flourished. She teamed up with Ying C Foo (英師傅) for her first EMI label release, hocc². The song "Angel Blues" (天使藍), composed by Ho herself, not only reached top spots on music charts, but according to Ho, it is also her "growing up" song.[4]

Another single in the EP, "Rosemary" (露絲瑪莉), written by Wyman Wong, created considerable controversies at the time, as it touched on the topic of lesbianism. This song also marked the beginning of Ho's series of songs containing gay themes. Following the success of "Rosemary" (露絲瑪莉), Ho continued the story of the two lovers in "Goodbye... Rosemary" (再見…露絲瑪莉) in her first full-length album, free love.[citation needed]

The year 2002 proved to be a successful year for Ho. The two singles "Angel Blues" (天使藍) and "Goodbye... Rosemary" (再見…露絲瑪莉) won multiple music awards in Hong Kong, including CASH Golden Sail Music Awards (CASH金帆音樂獎) – "Best Vocal Performance by a Female Artist" for the song "Angel Blues". In the same year, Ho won the renowned "Female Singer Bronze Award" in the Commercial Radio Hong Kong Annual Awards (叱吒樂壇流行榜頒獎典禮).[citation needed]

In 2003, Ho did a "Music is Live" concert with Andy Hui, who is also an apprentice of Anita Mui. Their performance won praise from the critics, and Ho proved to the audience her abilities to perform live as a musician. Later that year, Ho released her second full-length album Dress Me Up!. She was the credited as the producer of the album, indicating that Ho has finally gained full control over her music. In September 2003, Ho's longtime mentor, Anita Mui announced she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Shortly after the announcement, Anita lost her battle against cervical cancer and died on 30 December 2003. Between 2003 and 2004, Ho took on the role of hosting TVB's weekly live music show, Jade Solid Gold. In 2004, she appeared in Sammi Cheng's 2004 "Sammi vs. Sammi" concert as a cross-dressing cigarette-smoking admirer of Sammi Cheng. Ho's critically acclaimed performance in the short musical segment not only brought attention to the role she played, but also further established herself as a tremendous live performer. In September 2004, Ho signed a contract with East Asia Music.[citation needed]

2005–2009[edit]

The album Glam, which pays tribute to the superstars of the 80's, was released in January 2005. It also marked the start of a close collaboration between Ho and the Green Mountain Orchestra band. She was named the Orbis Student Ambassador 2005, and visited Hainan in July. In September 2005, Ho performed in the musical Butterfly Lovers (梁祝下世傳奇) as the leading actress, producer and musical director. Her album of the same name gave her three Number 1 singles – "Becoming a Butterfly" (化蝶), "Lawrence and Lewis" (勞斯.萊斯) and "Coffee in a Soda Bottle" (汽水樽裡的咖啡), which are all based on the story of the Butterfly Lovers, with possible homosexual themes. These singles helped her to receive the "Female Singer Silver Award" at the Commercial Radio Hong Kong Annual Awards 2005 (叱吒樂壇流行榜頒獎典禮).

Ho held her first Hong Kong Coliseum concert "Live in Unity 2006" on 26–28 October 2006. The concert was a great success and was positively received by the public. She decided to stage a second concert, "Live in Unity 2007", on 19–20 January 2007 following the original concert's success. Her single, We Stand As One, named after the slogan for the "Live in Unity" concerts, was released on 11 January 2007. Recordings of the concert were later released in February 2007. She went on a worldwide tour, performing in Toronto, Canada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.[citation needed]

The significant public attention and positive reception to her music helped her garner the "Female Singer Gold Award" at the Commercial Radio Hong Kong Annual Awards 2006 (叱吒樂壇流行榜頒獎典禮). She sang the Chinese version of Ayumi Hamasaki's song "Secret", known as "Wounded City Secret" (傷城秘密), for the 2006 movie Confession of Pain. She continued as the Orbis Student Ambassador 2006 and visited Vietnam, and later started her own charitable fund. In 2008, a new album Ten Days in the Madhouse was released. She produced this album from the viewpoint of society's outcasts and to raise awareness of mental health issues. She encouraged people to understand and find out more about people with mental illnesses and those who formerly suffered from mental illnesses, and care about their needs and situations. Ho encouraged communication between them and the public, ultimately, to achieve social harmony. "Ten Days in the Madhouse" was Ho's most ambitious project yet with the release of a documentary by Hong Kong director Yan Yan Mak (Butterfly) and an exhibition for charity, Ho showed that a multimedia project by a musician can be about something more important than clothing tie-ins.[10]

In 2009, she followed up her plan from the previous year and organised a free concert (a rarity in Hong Kong) called "Happiness is Free" in the outdoor courtyard in Diocesan Boys' School. She managed to book the place because her father was a teacher there. In June, she began shooting a new TVB sitcom titled O.L. Supreme with Liza Wang. In July, she released her new song "The Old Testament" (舊約) and announced that she would hold her "SUPERGOO" themed concerts would be held from 9–12 October that year. Following the concerts, Ho took on a role in the new stage comedy "Man and Woman, War and Peace" (男人與女人之戰爭與和平) directed by Edward Lam. The stage comedy was presented on 13–16 November at Kwai Tsing Theatre in Hong Kong.[11]

2010–2015[edit]

In 2010, Ho appeared in the film Life Without Principle directed by Johnnie To.[citation needed][12]

In September 2010, her first Mandarin album Nameless Poem (無名.詩) was released in Taiwan and Hong Kong,[citation needed] and she held "Homecoming" concerts in Hong Kong in December 2010. In 2011, Ho received her first nomination for a Golden Melody Award, as Best Mandarin Female Singer, at the 22nd Annual ceremony for those awards.[citation needed]

In 2012, she was nominated for a Golden Horse Award for Best Actress, for her performance in the movie Life Without Principle, which was won by Taiwan's Gwei Lun-mei at that 49th Annual ceremony. In 2013, Ho continued the tour of her play, Awakening, in Singapore and in many cities in China. She released her second Mandarin album, Coexistence, whose theme is embracing and supporting others despite differences. Ho received her second nomination for a Golden Melody Popular Music Award, as Best Mandarin Female Singer, at the 25th Annual ceremony in 2015.[citation needed]

2015–present[edit]

In 2018, Denise Ho collaborated with Taiwanese band Chthonic on their song Millennia's Faith Undone, which required her to sing in Taiwanese Hokkien.[13] Later, an acoustic version of the song was also released.[14] Ho invited Chthonic to perform together in Hong Kong but the band's work visa application was denied which resulted in a joint performance through video chat.[15]

Activism[edit]

When asked about the origins of her "passion for freedom of expression," Ho replied to reporter Frédéric Lelièvre of La Presse that it was probably from her being an adolescent in Montreal at the time of the 1995 Quebec referendum.[5]

LGBT issues[edit]

Ho proudly announced herself as "tongzhi" (Cantonese:tongzi), a Chinese slang term for gay, at age 35, the fourth annual Hong Kong Pride Parade on 10 November 2012.[16][17]

Sara Gates of The Huffington Post reports the various Hong Kong media outlets had indicated that Ho was the first "mainstream female singer in Hong Kong to come out of the closet."[17] Since then, Ho has been involved in the Big Love Alliance (大愛同盟), a civil rights group striving equal rights for the LGBT community,[18] and she became a columnist for Apple Daily in 2014[relevant? ] and was recognised for her activism for LGBT rights in Hong Kong.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Ho faced a visa refusal by Malaysia on February 2018, which forced her to cancel the concert on April, allegedly related to her stance on LGBT and her LGBT identity.

Pro-democracy activism[edit]

Denise Ho speaking during the 2014 Hong Kong protests.

Ho supported the 2014 Hong Kong protests, and a protester herself. On the subject, she stated, "I saw the students rushing in, then the tear gas... There was no option but to stand up. [...] My favourite thing about Hong Kong is this moment in time – but it's also my least favorite. The most beautiful and the ugliest sides of Hong Kong are both happening right here. The Hong Kong spirit of helping each other out is something that was lost for a long time. But that's making a return. I don't like the greed, the selfishness, and the indifference some people feel towards what's happening in society."[8]

On 5 June 2016, French cosmetics brand Lancôme cancelled a promotional concert by Denise Ho that was scheduled to be held on 19 June in Sheung Wan.[19] This action was taken in response to a boycott campaign launched by the Communist Party-controlled Global Times, which denigrated her for supposedly supporting Hong Kong and Tibet independence.[19]

Lancôme added, in a Facebook post, that Ho is not a spokesperson for the brand.[20] The Tibet allegation appeared to have stemmed from Ho's May 2016 meeting with the Dalai Lama. The cancellation drew a heavy backlash in Hong Kong.[19][20][21] Ho says that citizens' wish for self-rule ought not to be considered a crime.[5]

Shortly after the Lancôme incident, Ho announced a crowd-sponsorship campaign named "Togetherly Exclusive Sponsorship" for her Hong Kong Coliseum concert "Dear Friend,", (which was planned to be held in October of the same year), in response to being avoided by corporates.[22] The campaign amazingly drew in near to 300 individual and business sponsors priced at $15k HKD each, which headlined newspapers and generated overall support within the general public. The 4 showings of the concert, a total of 50000 tickets, sold out within two hours.[23]

In 2016 she was chosen as one of BBC's 100 Women[24]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

  • Free Love (2002)
  • Dress Me Up! (2003)
  • Glamorous (2005)
  • Butterfly Lovers (2005)
  • Our Time Has Come (2006)
  • What Really Matters (2007)
  • Ten Days in the Madhouse (2008)
  • Heroes (2009)
  • Wu Ming. Shi (無名·詩; 2010)
  • Awakening (2011)
  • Coexistence (2013)
  • Recollections (2013)

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

TV series[edit]

Concerts and tours[edit]

  • Live in Unity (2006)
  • Supergoo (2009)
  • Homecoming Live (2010)
  • Memento Live (2013)
  • Reimagine Hong Kong (2015)
  • Dear Friend, (2016)
  • Dear Self, Dear World (2017-2018)
  • On the Pulse of (2018)

Commercials[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bills Committee on Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2014 Attendance List, 23 April, 2014 posting" (PDF). 23 April 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Denise Ho Plays to Full House at Hong Kong Coliseum". The Epoch Times. 25 October 2016.
  3. ^ "39歲生日見達賴喇嘛!何韻詩自言被馴服". 東網 (in Chinese). 13 May 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b "HOCC personal blog". 31 July 2006.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lelièvre, Frédéric (30 October 2014). "Denise Ho, Vedette Pop: L'ex-Montréalaise qui dérange la Chine" [Denise Ho, Leading Star of Pop: The Ex-Montrealer Who Distracts China]. La Presse+. Retrieved 15 December 2016. D'où vient cette passion de Denise Ho pour la liberté d'expression? Probablement de son adolescence montréalaise à l'époque du référendum de 1995, a-t-elle confié à notre collaborateur. … Sa vie bascule l’année de ses 19 ans. Elle s’inscrit à un concours de chant hongkongais et, à sa grande surprise, raconte-t-elle dans plusieurs interviews, en sort vainqueure. Le prix lui permet d’enregistrer un disque. Surtout, le concours lui fait rencontrer Anita Mui. La diva de la cantopop deviendra son mentor et la carrière de Denise Ho, HoCC de son nom de scène, sera lancée. [Ed. transl.: Where does Denise Ho's passion for freedom of expression come from? Probably from her adolescence in Montreal at the time of the 1995 referendum, she confided to our reporter. … Her life changed in her 19th year. She enrolled in the Hong Kong Singing Contest "New Talent Singing Awards", and to her surprise—as she recounted in several interviews—she emerged victorious. The prize allowed her to record a disc. And, specially, the competition allowed her to meet Anita Mui. The diva of cantopop would become her mentor, and the career of Denise Ho, with HoCC as her stage name, was launched.
  6. ^ a b l'UQAM, Service de l'audiovisuel de. "UQAM – Université du Québec à Montréal – Accueil". uqam.ca. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Brébeuf – Collège privé Montréal – école secondaire privée et collégial (≠ Cégep)". brebeuf.qc.ca. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d Lo, Andrea (30 October 2014). "Denise Ho profile". Archived from the original (list of self-made statements, sans questions) on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2016. [Quote:] After I came back to Hong Kong, I joined the New Talent Singing Awards [in 1996]. I won it by accident…. I've been a fan of Anita Mui since I was 9 years old. Her influence on me wasn't only limited to entertainment, but also my character and worldview.
  9. ^ "Obituary: Anita Mui". The Telegraph. 22 January 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Professional Review of "Ten Days in the Madhouse (CD+DVD) (Limited Boxset)"". 12 January 2009.
  11. ^ "Edward Lam Dance Theatre profile". 10 December 2016.
  12. ^ Life Without Principle was chosen as Hong Kong's entry as best foreign-language film in the 85th Academy Awards. See Chu, Karen (21 September 2012). "'Life Without Principle' Chosen as Hong Kong's Foreign Oscar Entry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  13. ^ "CHTHONIC Releases Music Video For New Single 'Millennia's Faith Undone'". 4 September 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  14. ^ "CHTHONIC Releases Video For Acoustic Version Of 'Millennia's Faith Undone'". 25 September 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Chthonic Unable To Perform In Hong Kong – Organizer FB Video Calls The Band On Stage". 25 December 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  16. ^ Yiu, Derek (10 November 2012). "Pop star Denise Ho Comes Out at Hong Kong Pride". Gay Star News. Retrieved 15 December 2016. [Quote:] Cantopop singer Denise Ho 'proudly' calls herself 'tongzhi', a Chinese slang for gay people.
  17. ^ a b Gates, Sara (13 November 2012). "Queer Voices: Denise Ho, Cantonese Pop Star, Comes Out During Hong Kong's Gay Pride Parade" (article and video). The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 December 2016. [Quote:] But during Hong Kong's fourth annual LGBT Pride Parade this weekend, the singer officially came out, calling herself "tongzhi," a Chinese slang word for gay./"As a celebrity, I think I have an obligation, a duty to stand forward for the sake of love and equality", the 35-year-old singer told the crowd, according to Shanghaiist./The announcement is particularly significant since Ho is the first mainstream female singer in Hong Kong to come out of the closet, according to several Hong Kong media outlets.
  18. ^ "Singers, lawmakers launch 'Big Love' gay rights campaign". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  19. ^ a b c Yeung, Raymond (5 June 2016). "Lancome scraps Hong Kong concert with Denise Ho: online backlash over move to distance itself from pro-democracy star". South China Morning Post.
  20. ^ a b "Lancome cancels concert after Chinese online backlash". BBC News. 6 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Denise Ho controversy: protesters march despite Lancome closing Hong Kong stores". South China Morning Post. 8 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Cantopop star Denise Ho successfully crowdfunds upcoming concert following mainland backlash". HKFP. 14 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Denise Ho Plays to Full House at Hong Kong Coliseum". Epoch Times. 17 October 2016.
  24. ^ BBC's 100 Women, BBC.com; retrieved 24 November 2016.
  25. ^ a b c "Denise Ho profile". chinesemov.com. Retrieved 19 April 2010.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eason Chan 陳奕迅
New Talent Singing Awards winner
1996
Succeeded by
Wilfred Lau 劉浩龍