Edan Lui, the member of Cantopop boy band Mirror, released a new single last Thursday (18 November) titled Promising Young Man in collaboration with Singaporean singer-songwriter Kenny Khoo, also known as Qiu Feng Ze.
Khoo is based in Taiwan and gained popularity after appearing in a social deduction game segment called Werewolf on the Taiwanese variety show 100% Entertainment. He previously starred in the 2013 Singaporean comedy-musical film That Girl In Pinafore, and studied songwriting at Funkie Monkies Productions, led by Singaporean music veterans Eric Ng and Xiaohan.
In Lui’s Instagram post yesterday, it was revealed that the collaboration on the Cantonese song started with a request from Khoo. Khoo wrote in a private message to Lui, “Are you interested in working together on a song? I’m actually quite keen to challenge myself with Cantonese songs. We can sing together, or if you have any thoughts about this, please share with me.”
Lui, who became a fan of Khoo after watching 100% Entertainment’s Werewolf game, said that he was surprised at the invitation, and agreed immediately without much consideration. What he initially thought would have been just a simple song cover turned out to be a full-fledged song collaboration, which thrilled him to bits.
The ballad even has a Mandarin version. Although both songs have a similar melody — the Cantonese version is relatively more forceful, and the Mandarin version is relatively more gentle — the lyrics convey slightly different meanings.
Both songs are about heartbreak and staying strong, but the Cantonese version illustrates how a facade masks one's feelings bottled inside, while the Mandarin version describes how the feelings take over a dispirited person.
Promising Young Man also marks Lui’s first Mandarin song. He thanked Khoo for this unbelievable collaboration, which helped him unlock this achievement. Lui even praised Khoo’s effort in singing in Cantonese, a language he was not familiar with.
Possibly due to COVID-19 restrictions, the song was recorded and filmed separately in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Lui expressed hopes to collaborate again with Khoo, and to meet him in person.
Both songs have been generally well-received, with more than 967,000 views currently for the Cantonese version, and more than 647,000 views for the Mandarin version in less than a week since release. Here’s what some fans are saying:
“Feng is undoubtedly the music master Edan looks up to. What a superb collaboration. Thank you both for two beautiful pieces of music/art!”
“An encouraging song that has touching melody, lyrics and acting.”
“If you’ve heard Feng Ze speak Cantonese, you’ll know that he is not fluent. The fact that he can sing with the correct pronunciation shows how much effort he has put in.”
“This song is so amazing that you won’t get tired listening to it. The collaboration between Feng Ze and Edan is very refreshing.”
“Listening to the song is already impactful. It’s even more admirable after watching the MV.”