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Taikoo Place Insiders: per se and Wok & Lau of PROJECT AFTER 6: The Pitch 2022


This year’s PROJECT AFTER 6 at ArtisTree was a huge success that brought the Taikoo Place community together for a series of live lunchtime concert performances by top Cantopop stars alongside super-talented, newly discovered musicians from our very own community. Events like these help nurture our sense of place and community, and help us connect with each other in positive, and unexpected new ways.

“Own The Stage, Share the Light” was the theme of this years’ event, and so we’ve invited some of the PROJECT AFTER 6 performers do just that with The Mag. What’s it like navigating the ups and downs of the Hong Kong music biz, or performing on stage in front of your colleagues? Read on as the well-known professional Hong Kong duo, Sandy and Stephen of per se, and our “homegrown” Taikoo Place office colleagues Ankie Wong and Rosanne Lau of Wok & Lau share their thoughts with us.

A famous Cantopop star once said that singing in Cantonese was like “singing with handcuffs on” compared to singing in English, because you always have to match the melody and performance to the correct tone, and improvising can be difficult. You perform and write in both languages — as artists, what are the creative challenges of each one.

Sandy, per se: We actually decide whether we’ll go for Chinese or English [lyrics] when we’re composing a melody, because it’s the melody that determines the way we deliver the song, and whether we’ll be able to sing the lyrics in their correct tones. Compared to singing in English, it’s definitely harder to sing in Cantonese because precise articulation is needed for the lyrics to make sense.

“PROJECT AFTER 6 allowed us to showcase our music for office goers – right in the middle of the day during lunch break! It’s a brand new experience.”
Stephen, per se

Because of the pandemic, live music has been scarce in Hong Kong, and even banned in small venues. Does that give a special meaning to your performance at an event like PROJECT AFTER 6: The Pitch 2022 in Taikoo Place?

Stephen, per se: The pandemic has had a huge impact on all performers. We’re among the fortunate ones who have been able to remain active. PROJECT AFTER 6 allowed us to showcase our music for office goers – right in the middle of the day during lunch break! It’s a brand new experience.

Sandy, you worked at an office job for a couple of years before becoming a full time musician. How did you finally decide to take the chance? What advice would you give to other musicians in a similar situation?

Sandy: During the 2 years that I worked in an office I never stopped writing music. A trip to Taiwan helped me make the decision to quit my job. We gave a performance there, and we were so moved by the response and support of the local audience. It made me realise that as long as I was committed, my music would eventually be heard. I resigned from my job as soon as I came back home.

Between rehearsals for the show in Taikoo Place you’ll catch me grabbing some food at…

Stephen: KIN Food Halls. They have a self-warming countertop to keep the meals warm enough before you pick them up. How smart!

Sandy: Every time we‘re in the neighbourhood, we’ll go to Camper’s. People don’t mind waiting in a long queue to enjoy their healthy and homey Japanese dishes.


You describe yourselves as a poetic pop music duo. Would you love to have any cross-sector collaborations with local poets or writers?

Stephen: A poem is like a platform for the imagination. It triggers your thoughts. I guess this is how our music is similar to poetry. In future, we’d love to do a collab with an orchestra or with animators.

“PROJECT AFTER 6 is an ideal platform for me to show who I am outside of work.”
Ankie Wong, Wok & Lau

Ankie and Rosanne (of Wok & Lau), tell us a bit about your professional history. How did the two of you meet?

Ankie, Wok & Lau: I work at EY's consulting department while Rosanne is part of FWD's marketing team. We’ve loved music all our lives since we were kids. Actually, we met at the university and became close friends. Back then we liked spending time in our rooms doing a lot of improv and jamming. We even teamed up and joined a singing contest at our university.


Why did you decide to try to join PROJECT AFTER 6? Did anyone encourage you, or did you enter quietly and secretly on your own?

Ankie & Rosanne: After we graduated, there weren’t many opportunities for us to get together and sing. PROJECT AFTER 6 is a wonderful chance for us to get back on stage and perform as a duo.


Do your work colleagues—or your bosses—know you are a talented musician?

Ankie: I took part in PROJECT AFTER 6: Busking 2018 and was later invited to give a singing performance in EY's annual dinner where I received a lot of support from many colleagues!

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