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Rockstress Ellen Loo teams up with PROJECT AFTER 6: Busking to bring undiscovered talent together


PROJECT AFTER 6: BUSKING is starting up again and waiting for talented office workers from all over Hong Kong to join in the fun, connect with other passionate musicians and learn from artists like rock star Ellen Loo. After 16 years in the biz, the former half of local band at17 has been paving her way as a solo artist. Now, she’s joining Taikoo Place’s event as a judge, performer, mentor, who is going to share her industry experience as well as talk about how Hong Kong needs to up its game to nurture new artists.

What do you think about PROJECT AFTER 6?
It should be called “AFTER 3” not “AFTER 6”. I think people should work from 9am to 3pm to have more time off for family, friends and hobbies. That should be the norm. People in Sweden are already doing that. In Hong Kong, we are lagging behind. The longer you stay at work, the less productive you get by the hour, and so it’s just a waste of time. People need extracurricular activities.

So, PROJECT AFTER 6 is a very good idea because life shouldn't just be about work.
Through the programme, you learn more about how to communicate and can connect more with your colleagues.

“This event isn’t just about winning, it’s also about meeting people that share the same interests as you”
Ellen Loo

What are you looking for as a judge for the audition?
I’ve been in this industry for 16 years and I’ve never met a lot of HK musicians, who are green and haven’t been in the industry, so I’m really looking forward to discovering talent because I know they're out there.

This reminds me of when I first started out and participated in a competition when I was 15 through the encouragement of my dad, who wanted me to meet new friends. That’s how I met Eman Lam and Anthony Wong. This event isn’t just about winning, it’s also about meeting people that share the same interests as you, which can be very encouraging. That’s the main reason why people should participate.

How do you think having a mentor changed your path in the music industry?

It’s definitely important, but don’t expect that it will just happen. These things come down to fate and if you meet someone who’s really talented and really loves you, great. But, if you meet someone, who wants to rip money off of you, it can get really bad. So, just go with the flow, follow your heart and remember that it’s about your music.

What is your experience with busking?

Busking is a good way to attract more fans and expose your music. It's a tool to promote yourself, but if you intend to break into the music industry, you have to go to a studio and work with people giving you real opinions.

Do you think there are enough programmes out there in Hong Kong nurturing young aspiring artists?

We can have more live houses. Compared to Taiwan, we have so few places for live performances. I was really pissed when Hidden Agenda closed down, the independent scene is already too small. We need more grassroots venue so we can foster more artists.

Your music has matured a lot in the past few years. Can you explain what has changed? How have you grown as an artist?
I’ve changed a lot. I went independent three years ago and now I’m under Universal Music, which was a smart move. The longer you do something, the more difficult it becomes to break boundaries and that's what I'm trying to do every day. And you have an obligation to do that because you’ve been in the industry longer. So, I’m much more aware of what music I should make.

Can you elaborate on those boundaries?
You have to face your own demons during the creative process. I don’t know if I’ll even still be in music three years from now because you start to think if that’s the medium you want to use. I’ve always thought of music as my way of changing the world, but maybe making a documentary would soon be the way instead. I wouldn’t be surprised if in three years I became a director. When I think of music, I wonder if it’s changing for the better. In Cantopop, people download it, listen to it for a week, and then they throw it away. It becomes dispensable. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I just question how influential music is now? But, I hope I will stay in the industry.

What advice do you have for young Hong Kong musicians wanting to pursue a music career?
Music is a powerful channel to express yourself and feel free, but it’s not the only one. So, you have to be sure if singing is what mesmerises you. You have to be really clear if singing is your medium, and if it is, nothing can stop you.

Taikoo Place in collaboration with DBS Bank Hong Kong, a key office tenant at One Island East, is inviting all office workers in Hong Kong a chance to perform at the property with celebrity singers such as Ellen Loo, AGA, Eman Lam, Phil Lam, Robynn & Kendy, Adrian Fu and Dusty Bottle. Grab your 15 minutes of fame, click here to enrol now!

Special thanks to Taikoo Place’s private members’ club The Refinery for the great venue.

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