Music Trends in Hong Kong
Let’s start with the language Cantonese shall we?
Hong Kong being situated in the Guangdong area of China, naturally gave birth to the use of Cantonese and all things cultural created along with western influences. Cantonese people are almost everywhere, just like the Chinese people you see these days.
Back before those days where airplanes were common, Chinese people living along the coastal areas of China have been traveling around the world forming satellite communities that can be found in every Chinatown in the world.
Hong Kong is a uniquely Chinese place, in comparison to Singapore where it was a historically Malay. Singapore is more of a culture pot where incidentally there was more Chinese than Malay occupying the space. As a result, Hong Kong has and always have a strong standing as a cultural stronghold.
As a colony of Britain previously, the place felt like a piece of Europe and its values being stamped onto a small area of Asia, right at China’s doors. With western influences, the locals created a unique form of music, Cantonese music that made the language shine.
Hong Kong being an international city, there is large variety of radio stations, all sorts of pop music are played on its radio stations. From English to Japanese to Taiwanese Chinese pop music. This is something Singapore failed to have due to our centralized media controls from the government in an attempt to build a national identity.
Cantopop is the main music genre that the locals listen to, as the city has a very strong sense of pop culture where radio stations and traditional media and advertising still working very well and very much alive with the advent of social media.
The TV stations and radio stations also have robust music programmes and competitions annually to spot new talent and continue the pipeline of inducting young people into the music scene. They even have this show called “Chill Club” where they invite singers to cover one another’s songs to raise awarenesss of the new songs!
Cantonese folks also immigrated everywhere when Hong Kong returned to China in 1997. Despite leaving the city, these people still religiously listened to Hong Kong radio stations and often called in to the radio stations to share their life experiences in their new places.
First mover advantage
In its heydays of 1990s, most of the world was actually listening to Cantopop as they were one of the few choices of music to listen to and enjoy. These days, KPOP is leading the way and Korean is slowly becoming the top cultural influencer to teenagers world wide.
Due to the new wave of youngsters born in the 1990s, Hong Kong’s music scene has taken up a strange revival. Let me point out some of the traditional Cantonese pop music in the past 10 years:
Cantonese songs tend to revolve around love and life.
However, in the recent years I found a new trend where there are a lot of pop songs gravitating towards rap and hip hop to reflect about the city’s culture
And even more recently, a brain washing song about people’s awkwardness to exit a party:
When we go way back you will find the classical strongholds of Cantopop who stayed gold throughout the years. Singers like Eason Chan and Hins Cheung.
The next gen of pop singers also have very distinct and strong vocals such as this song’s singers:
As of writing in year 2021, the hottest singer and its associated group would be the group that was born out of a TV station: ViuTV’s star search competition’s MIRROR and Keung To.
Literally you can never avoid seeing them in any spot of HK if you ever make it to Hong Kong in the year 2021.
To be continued…
I am also pretty new to this genre of music, I only met my wife in 2014-ish and and I slowly grew to love these fantastic music that has really nice tones compared to the usual Mandarin songs I listened to while growing up.
Tip: you can even find really indie Cantonese music on Spotify like Salty Chick! (Please note their songs are a little NSFW for Cantonese folks)