Songwriter Wyman Wong's "Exhibition of Works" concert has already kicked off this week at the HK Coliseum. Though I may not necessarily be a fan of all of Wyman's works, there have definitely been some songs of his in the past decade that I've enjoyed. Plus it's been a long time since we've seen a truly 'star-studded' concert at the HKC, so I'm actually pretty excited about Wyman's concert, purely because I know we'll get to hear alot of old 90s Canto-pop (yay!).
According to Media reports, Wyman will supposedly have close to 50 guest performers for his 6 show concert -- we'll see if it really ends up being that many...but regardless, it's definitely great to see so many familiar faces all in one place...especially those 'faces' that we don't often get to see anymore!
So far, for Wyman's opening night concert (held on 2/9), some of the guests who performed were: William So, Joey Yung, Eason Chan, Anthony Wong, Amanda Lee, Fiona Sit, Denise Ho, Sammi Cheng...and of course, the 'highlight' of the night was the heavily anticipated return of 90s Cantopop 'queen' Cass Phang to the HKC stage after retiring from the industry 10 years ago.
To be honest, I'm not a Cass fan, but as an 80s/90s HK entertainment fanatic (and seeing how the industry is not what it used to be) -- plus the fact that today's entertainment news primarily focus around artists I can't stand or don't necessarily care for -- I definitely get excited when I see articles such as these about artsts that we haven't seen or heard from in a long time!
So even if those reading this post are not fans of Cass (or Wyman for that matter), that's perfectly fine -- at the very least, hopefully this article will bring back memories of those 'good ole days' of the HK music industry (it certainly did for me!).
Original article published February 11, 2012
Source: Mingpao Weekly, Issue 2257
Translated by: llwy12
***Translator’s Note: Only the sections of the article related to Cass Phang were translated.***
After 7 years, Cass Phang finally accepts Wyman Wong’s invitation to perform at concert; no intention of returning to the HK music industry
Famed lyricist Wyman Wong’s star-studded《Concert YY Wyman Wong Exhibition of Works Concert》held its opening night at the HK Coliseum on February 9th. Prior to the start of the concert, there was already a huge demand for tickets to the show, resulting in additional shows being added – 6 shows total will be held, ending on February 14th.
Amongst the stars slated to perform at the concert, the most highly anticipated was the return of 90s Cantopop queen Cass Phang (彭羚), who had retired from the industry 10 years ago to focus on raising a family. Setting foot on the HK Coliseum stage after a 10 year hiatus, Cass became one of the focal points of the night – first, she sang her famous hit song 《小玩意》[‘Little Plaything’], then performed the song《心淡》[‘Discouraged’] with artist Joey Yung (容祖兒), and ended her performance by reuniting with singer Anthony Wong (黃耀明) to perform their popular duet 《漩渦》[‘Whirlpool’] – gaining loud cheers and applause from the audiences that night.
Last week, a magazine reported that it had received confirmation directly from Cass herself that she would be returning to the HK music industry and that her appearance at Wyman’s concert would pave the way for her comeback. However, it turns out that those earlier reports are false -- at this point in her life, Cass is perfectly happy with her role as ‘wife’ to artist Jan Lamb (林海峰) and ‘mother’ to their 2 daughters. Also, the only reason why she agreed to return to the HKC stage for this one time was because of her long-standing friendship with Wyman Wong.
The year 2002 marked Cass Phang’s last appearance on the music stage – that year, after completing a 25-show musical dedicated to Teresa Teng, Cass ‘disappeared’ from the HK music scene. The last interview she gave was in 2004, in which she revealed in an exclusive interview with Mingpao Magazine that she was pregnant with her second child.
With the recent ‘rumors’ that Cass will be making an official comeback to the music industry after her guest performance at Wyman’s concert, our [Mingpao] reporter contacted Cass’s previous manager (who today has become her good ‘sister’) Candy Leung to see if Cass would be willing to grant us an interview prior to her performance. However, after checking with Cass, Candy responded: “Cass really does not want to do any more interviews, however if you guys are willing to clarify a few things on her behalf, it would be very much appreciated – the truth is, Cass has never thought of making a return to the industry!”
Then why did that magazine claim to have received confirmation from Cass directly that she would return and become a singer again? Candy replied: “That time, Cass had just returned from a trip with her family and bumped into reporters at the airport – however she says that she never accepted any interview with any Media outlets, so she herself isn’t even sure why things were reported that way. I can tell you on her behalf that those reports about her returning to the industry are absolutely false – you can see with your own eyes that after Cass finishes her guest performance at Wyman’s concert, she will return to her role as Mrs. Lamb! Actually, those false reports were quite bothersome to her – after all, she has not sung in close to 10 years and has been very nervously preparing for this performance. Therefore, she does not want to say anything further and definitely does not want to do any interviews.” Indeed, during her performance at Wyman’s opening night concert, Cass did not say anything on stage outside of her singing.
During an interview backstage after his opening night show, Wyman revealed that he had actually tried to convince Cass to return to the stage 7 years ago: “7 years ago when I held my mini-concert, I had already asked Cass if she could be a guest performer, but at that time, she told me she wasn’t ready. Today, 7 years later, as I was preparing for this ‘exhibition of works’ concert, the first artist I thought of inviting was Cass! Since Cass has such a happy family life and doesn’t have anything to worry about financially, I wasn’t expecting her to say yes, but to my surprise, she agreed immediately – as I was talking on the phone with her, I was in tears! In the years since she left the industry, a lot has happened – I know that someone offered to write her a huge check just to appear at an event and not even sing, however, she refused. Offers of large sums of money cannot motivate Cass to even make an appearance, yet she willingly agreed to perform at my concert – I was so moved that I cried many tears!”
Wyman also revealed the reason why Cass has been unwilling to return to the industry all these years: “Because she has a husband who loves her dearly and does not want her to come out of retirement – plus she loves peace and tranquility! The only reason why I was successful in inviting Cass was because both she and husband Jan are very good friends of mine.”
Focus on her role as Mrs Lamb
Cass entered the music industry in 1990 and in 1995, reached the ‘heavenly queen’ level when she won the ‘Most Popular Female Singer’ award at the JSG Awards Ceremony as well as the ‘Female Singer Gold Award’ at Commercial Radio’s Chik Chak Awards. Cass’s former manager Candy Leung reveals that all these years, Cass has been very grateful to Wyman for writing the song 《小玩意》[‘Little Plaything’] for her, which helped to push her career to peak levels: “That year, the song was a huge hit and after that, they [Cass and Wyman] remained very good friends -- in fact, Wyman is actually considered a ‘family friend’! Friendship is something that can’t be explained – Cass agreed to perform purely because she wanted to help out her friend. Of course, before saying yes to Wyman, she had discussed it with her husband first.”
Candy also revealed that throughout the past few years, many different organizations had invited Cass to return: “There have been invitations for concerts and stage performances as well as guest performances at awards ceremonies and charity events – people would say to me: ‘No matter how much money it costs, it’s not a problem, just give me a price!’ However, none of these offers moved Cass one bit – she has stood firm in not wanting to sing again!”
After Cass married Jan Lamb in 1998, she gave birth to 2 daughters, one in 2000 and the other in 2004 – currently, her eldest daughter is already 12 years old and her younger daughter is 8. Candy reveals that in the past 10 years, Cass’s goals in life have been hugely different from what they were when she first started her singing career: “Cass does enjoy singing and she has already experienced what it is like to be at the height of her career as a singer. But we need to consider that the Cass Phang of today is a wife and mother first and foremost – her biggest goal in life now is to raise her 2 daughters. In each stage of one’s life, there are different choices that need to be made – in the upcoming years until her daughters are grown, Cass has very willingly and happily chosen to focus on her role as ‘Mrs. Lamb’!”
According to reports, Cass has only promised Wyman to be guest performer for the opening and final shows of his concert – this means that the finale show on February 14th will most likely be the very last chance that fans will ever have to see former Canto-pop queen Cass Phang perform!