Born in Beijing, China as Lai Chit, Leon was an only child. His family were originally from Meixian (Hakka). His parents divorced when he was four. He migrated with his Malaysian Chinese father, Lai Xinsheng to Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution in China. At the age of fifteen, he attended King's Way Princeton College and returned back to Hong Kong at the age of seventeen. Before he became a singer in Hong Kong, he worked as a salesperson for a mobile phone company. He uses the stage ...Read more (1027 words more)
Born in Beijing, China as Lai Chit, Leon was an only child. His family were originally from Meixian (Hakka). His parents divorced when he was four. He migrated with his Malaysian Chinese father, Lai Xinsheng to Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution in China. At the age of fifteen, he attended King's Way Princeton College and returned back to Hong Kong at the age of seventeen. Before he became a singer in Hong Kong, he worked as a salesperson for a mobile phone company. He uses the stage name "Li Ming" or "Lai Ming" which literally means "dawn".
After getting the second-runner-up in the 5th New Talent Singing Awards, held by the TVB in 1986, he went to be taught singing by Dai Si Zong and in the same year, he also obtained an artist contract from Capital Artist. However he didn't get to release any albums for four years. As a result, his teacher, Dai, arranged to have him signed a contract with Polygram (now known as Universal Music) and then got the contract with Capital Artist annulled after some negotiation.
In Polygram, he released his first album "Leon" and subsequent album "Meet In The Rain" which propelled Leon into instant stardom. His debut album went gold. After several years at Polygram, Lai then signed a new contract with Sony Music on March 23, 1998.
Leon has been associated with many female celebrities since he began his career. One of his most famous rumoured ex-girlfriends is Shu Qi. Apart from Shu Qi, he has been rumoured to have relationship with Dai Yun Hui, Wang Zu Xian, Vivian Chow, Kathy Chow, Seto Asaka, Michelle Reis (Winner of 1988 Miss HK Beauty Pageant), Sheila Chan (Runner-up of 1988 Miss HK Beauty Pageant), Kim Hee Sun, Lee Na Young, Mango Wang Xiu Lin. He is currently in a relationship with one of the famous models in Hong Kong named Gaile Lok.
He was ranked 8th among the top 10 of the celebrity power rankings released by the Chinese edition of the Forbes for the year 2003.
Leon's portrayal as Lai Xiao Jun in Comrades: Almost a Love Story was represented in a wax figure at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.
Leon is known for his statements with deep meanings. His words, "I don't eat breakfast on an empty stomach", was voted the best "Golden Words" by netizens. He is subsequently considered the "King Of Golden Words
Together with Jacky Cheung, Andy Lau and Aaron Kwok, Lai was among the four most popular male singers during the 1990s, when the media referred to them as the "Four Heavenly Kings" (Chinese: 四大天王). On June 29th, in the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars, Leon, along with Aaron Kwok and Jacky Cheung had their hands imprinted to be added along the Avenue.
In the early stages of his career, he mainly sang cantopop, but due to the influence of producer Mark Lui, he expanded his repertoire to include popular electronic songs with compelling music videos. In 2002, he was selected to sing "Charged up", the 2002 World Cup theme song for the Greater China Region.
In 1996, he collaborates with composer-producer Steve Barakatt on his album "Feel". In 1998, Leon's Korean song "After loving you" managed to reach the Top 10 in a Korean pop chart. He was the first Hong Kong singer to achieve this.
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 Male Singer" award in 1993 and 1995 for TVB Jade Solid Gold. He has also won the "Song of the Year" award four times. In the 1996 year of awards, Leon Lai won a personal record 16 awards in the Hong Kong music scene. A tie with fellow singers Sky King and Jacky Cheung. This gives both artists one more award. The 4 stage Joint Award of Best Musicians. Awarded to the musician with the most awards won in the year ending award shows. Lai's music career gradually declined from the late 1990s. While he is still releasing new albums from time to time, his record sales are now less than impressive and his position has been overtaken by the newer generation of cantopop singers.
His song "All Day Love" released in 2000 got into trouble with the Chinese authorities for drawing passages from the China National Anthem, "March of the Volunteers". The starting tune also sounds similar to the Anthem tune. He was warned against using the song for commercial purposes.
In 2004, Leon Lai formed a new record production company, "A Music", East Asia Record Production Company Limited, with Peter Lam. The first album produced by the company, "Dawn" was released in September of that year. The album, "Dawn", was released with minimum promotion as Lai went to the Mainland for a movie shoot on the day of the album's release.
In order to bring in new excitements for his music, Leon invited a famous music producer Jonathan Lee Tsung Sheng from Taiwan in 2005 to produce his new mandarin album "A Story". However, by doing so he had to give up the opportunity for a lead role in a big budget Taiwan movie "Gui Si" due to conflicts in his schedules.
Leon returned to the Hong Kong Coliseum on April 13, 2007 to perform in his one night only Leon 4 in Love Concert where he performed not only his own hits but also hits of the other three heavenly kings namely Aaron, Andy and Jacky. He performed a total of 18 songs, all of which are newly arranged by Mark Lui. He subsequently released an album titled "4 In Love" on May 3, 2007, comprising 16 of the 18 songs he had performed in the concert.
Leon released his new single on October 30, 2007 for his fans to listen and download on MOOV. The song titled, Think of you written by Lin Xi, composed by Lee Sang Jun, arranged by Mark Lui, Chen Yi and produced by Lee Han Wen.
He underwent training in Peking Opera for playing the lead role as Méi Lánfāng in the biographical film Forever Enthralled which was directed by Chen Kaige. He directed the music video for the film where he and Zhang Ziyi sang the theme song, "You Understand My Love". For the first time in his career, Lai played the role of a beggar in the Peter Chan directed film Bodyguards and Assassins. For his success a wax figure of Lai was revealed at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. close
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