Thursday, January 27, 2005

Leon Lai

Leon Lai (born December 11, 1966) is a cantopop singer and star of several Hong Kong movies. He was born in Beijing and is the only child in his family. His parents divorced when he was four. Lai studied at King's Way Princeton College (England). Before he became a singer in Hong Kong, he worked as a salesperson for a cellular phone company.

He was the second runner up in the New Talent Singing Contest, held by the TVB in 1986. He signed to Sony Music on March 23, 1998. He was a singer of Polygram (now known as Universal Music) before.

Together with Jacky Cheung, Andy Lau and Aaron Kwok, Lai is one of the four popular male singers that the media refer to as the "Four Great Heavenly Kings" (????). In the early stages of his career, he mainly sang cantopop, but thanks to his producer Mark Lui he expanded his repertoire to include popular electronic songs with compelling music videos. Some of these are regarded as the best in his career. In 2002, he was selected to sing "Charged up", the 2002 World Cup theme song for Greater China Region.

He won numerous singing awards before announcing in 1999 that he would no longer accept any awards in Hong Kong. He won the "Most Popular Singer" award in 1993 and 1995. He has also won the "Song of the Year" award four times.

In 1996, Lai was nominated for the Best Actor Awards of the 16th Hong Kong Film Award for the film Comrades, Almost a love story, which he acted as a man left China and came to Hong Kong in 1980s. However, together with other four nominees, he was defeated by Kent Cheng. In 2002, Lai took the spotlight at the Golden Horse Awards, the Chinese-language version of the Oscars in Taiwan. He won "Best Actor" for Three: Going Home, about a doctor who cannot get over the death of his wife. In 2004, Lai wrote the story Leaving Me, Loving You together with Wilson Yip and also became the creative/production controller of the movie.

Apart from being an actor, he took part in the production of advertisement for 'Dress Casual Day' of the Community Chest.

Lai has participated in many charity events in recent years. He has been a member of The Community Chest Campaign Committee and in December 1995, his contribution to children is further recognized by being appointed as UNICEF Special Representative to Youth at UNICEF Headquarters in New York. He also occasionally helps other non-profit organisations to raise funds.

Lai has been elected as one of The Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) in 1998, giving him a formal recognition of his professional endeavours and commitment to the community.

He was awarded the Medal of Honour (M.H.) on 12 October 2003 by Tung Chee-Hwa, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR.

In 2004, Leon Lai formed a new record production company, "A Music", East Asia Record Production Company Limited, with Peter Lam . And released the first album of the company,"Dawn", in September.

His fan club Leon Family can be found in Hong Kong, Macau, China, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and United States.

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