Hong Kong icon Aaron Kwok to perform at The Venetian Macao in January
In Hong Kong and China, there’s perhaps no better musical embodiment of the phrase “god amongst men” than Aaron Kwok’s upcoming performances at The Venetian Macao's Cotai Arena on January 18 and 19. He is heralded as one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Canto-pop alongside Andy Lau, Leon Lai and Jacky Cheung, who held Top 10 spots on Hong Kong’s charts for most of the nineties.
It’s precisely because of his history as a singer, leading man and long-time men’s fitness ambassador that Kwok, now 53, is still one of Hong Kong’s icons, even if his career did not start that way.
His father owned a gold jewellery business and expected Kwok and his older brother to follow in his footsteps, but after an accident, Kwok took the opportunity to join a dancing course at TVB at the age of 19.
Aaron Kwok is known for his electric energy on stage
Finding success first in Taiwan as a dancer and then as an actor, Kwok released his debut album “Loving You Forever” in 1990. Packed to the brim with fast dance tracks to go with Kwok’s electric moves, he released albums and topped charts all through the nineties, with at least one song in the Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards every year from 1991 to 2001, and won Most Popular Male Artist at the Jade Solid Gold awards from 1997 to 2000.
His most notable albums include 1994s “Crazy City” featuring a quirky and upbeat Latin-inspired title track of the same name. The same year he released “Temptation of the Iron Mask”, which true to Cantopop releases of the time, had a track of the same name accompanied by a macho dance routine that became a staple of his stage performances in the coming decade. It wasn’t until the release of “Devoted” in 1997, that he won his first Most Popular Male Artist accolade.
Kwok solidified his status as an international icon when he became the spokesperson for Pepsi. Releasing the song Listen to coincide with the campaign, the energetic beat combined with dynamic choreography exploded on charts around Asia. The adcampaign, featuring Kwok braving the streets in the rain to get his new neighbour a can of Pepsi, further boosted his presence in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and most importantly mainland China.
Kwok became an international icon after becoming the spokesperson for Pespi
Without a doubt Listen remains a staple in Kwok’s concerts to this date. Usually accompanied by a stage full of dancers marching to the beat of the tune, his sheer stage presence takes the audience to the peak energy levels of his performance.
Known for his daring and outrageous costumes on stage, Kwok’s concerts are filled with colour, texture and an amazing array of special effects to wow those in attendance.
Kwok’s appeal as a musician lies chiefly in his energy and sense of rhythm, and is firmly rooted in high-octane dance tracks and rhythmically solid ballad numbers, the signature of Cantopop from his era.
Kwok is beloved by fans for his energetic performances on stage
For fans of his music, Kwok has sadly not released an album since his 2010 effort “Never Ending Love” to celebrate 20 years in the business, and released original material relatively sparsely throughout the 2000s aside from the occasional compilation album.
However, during that musical hiatus, Kwok redirected his energies towards film work. Though Kwok has acted in multiple films since his debut in the 1989 action flick Close Escape, it is his more recent roles that have gained him recognition as a serious actor, a craft in which he shows incredible range.
Kwok starred in wuxia or martial art hero movies such as 1998’s The Storm Riders and 2009’s The Storm Warriors, romantic comedies such as 2001’s Para Para Sakura, for which Kwok also sang the title track, police thrillers such as the recent Cold War and its sequel, and played a boy raised in Hong Kong’s boat villages making his way up in colonial Hong Kong in 2012’s Floating City.
Kwok as deputy commissioner Sean Lau in 'Cold War'
His most famous roles, however, are perhaps the ones he has won Best Actor for in either the Golden Horse Awards or Hong Kong Film Awards. He played a disillusioned, defeated father in After This Our Exile which also won Best Feature Film at the Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards. In 2005’s Divergence, he plays a police officer alongside Ekin Cheung and Daniel Wu, and most recently, taking on the role of Detective Chong in the 2015 crime thriller Port of Call.
Indeed, his diverse resume of roles shows Kwok’s acting prowess, having played a counterfeit artist in Project Gutenberg this year alongside Chow Yun-fat. He is set to have an even more stellar film career, playing 1960’s corrupt policeman Lee Rock in Theory of Ambitions. Kwok will also play a cellist in suspense drama June.
Many pundits cannot decide if Kwok is a better actor or singer.
He is without a doubt a premiere showman with a flair for the extravagant. He notched a Guinness World Record in 2008 for dancing on the largest indoor revolving stage, and maintains a passion for amateur racing and collecting cars.
Kwok’s fledgling racing career includes winning the 2009 Clio Cup China Series, appearances in the 2012 and 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup China in which he represented the Audi Hong Kong Team for 2013, and featuring in Hong Kong’s 2016 E-Touring Car Challenge as a celebrity driver.
Even though his career has branched out to a lot more than music, his dancing pedigree, showmanship and timeless vocal prowess make his upcoming concert at The Venetian Macao essential viewing.