Tuesday, February 28, 2012

HK Artist Spotlight: Ella Koon

Beautiful and talented, the lovely Ella Koon spent years working hard without much recognition.  Today, she is experiencing more critical and commercial success than she ever had before.


Ella Koon was born in the French Polynesian island of Tahiti on July 9, 1979.  She was raised in Hong Kong (she is of Cantonese descent) and went to high school in Birmingham, England.  She is multilingual, and knows how to speak Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and French.

After finishing her studies, Koon returned to Hong Kong in 2000 and started a modeling career.  It became her full time profession.  She landed a movie role in "I Do" in 2001, then continued to model.  In 2004, she was invited to attend a singing audition.  Seeing she had musical and singing potential and talent, she was signed by Boombeat Music.  Her debut album, titled "Original", was released that same year.  In addition, also released "Ellacacdabra" (2005), "Losing Sanity" (2006), and the EP "Stages" (2008).  However, none of the albums were acclaimed nor did they generate much buzz.  Despite her talent, Koon had yet to be recognized as a musical artist at the time.

Ella with Kenneth Ma in "Survivor's Law II"

Koon experienced a rise in popularity in the moderately successful TVB series "Revolving Doors of Vengeance" (2005) and "Survivor's Law II" (2007).  In "Revolving Doors", she played "Hoi Sum" (which literally translates to "happy" from Cantonese), a sweet and happy go lucky girl and the love interest Ron Ng.  In "Survivor's Law II", she starred opposite Kenneth Ma as "Lilly", a smart and sassy lawyer.  Viewers became very fond of her and reacted positively towards both roles.  She possessed strong potential as well as a certain level of sweetness and endearing factor in her acting.  She was also invited to guest star in several TVB game shows and also served as a host for two food travel shows. 

Koon arguably became more popular and well liked for her acting, but 2010 was her year to finally shine as a singer.  She performed "Endless Love" on "The Voice".  The performance immensely impressed audiences and made them finally see her stunning capabilities as a singer.  The vocals and emotion shown in the performance propelled her to popularity and made her a hot topic. She was asked back to perform on the show again several times.  She released her mini album "Being" that same year, marking a strong comeback to music.  The album was a reasonable success and garnered Koon much praise.

Koon released another mini album titled "Take A Shine To..." in 2011. The album was also successful and well-received.  For the first time, Koon took over creative duties of her music by composing and writing her song "Yi Yi".   At the 2011 JSG Awards, Koon took home the bronze for the "Outstanding Performance Award".

In 2011, she guest starred on "Only You" and "Super Snoops".  She is currently filming "Thunderous Drug Raid" opposite Michael Miu, Elaine Ng, Raymond Lam, and Kate Tsui.  She will star opposite Asian icon Raymond Lam.  This will be her first series as a main cast member of a drama series since "Survivor's Law II".

Koon is multi talented in music, being able to sing as well as play the piano, guitar, drums, and the gu-zheng, a traditional Chinese instrument with 21 strings.


I have been a fan of Ella since seeing her in "Survivor's Law II" a couple months after I started watching TVB series, which was in 2008.  I have yet to see "Revolving Doors of Vengeance", but have heard from my dad that it's a great series and Ella is also lovely there.  Upon getting into C-Pop, I learned Ella was also a singer.  I quickly fell in love with her voice and musical talent.  People are always looking for that multi-talented star who is attractive and can sing, dance, and act.  For me, one of those people is definitely Ella.  With her beautiful looks, decent acting abilities, and strong voice, I questioned why she wasn't more popular.

She doesn't have an absolutely showstopping voice, yet I love it and she still has great range, much more than most female singers.  Her voice boosts this very natural, raw, yet sweet sound to it that makes it very soothing and pleasant to listen to.

Her career background reminds me of Niki Chow.  They both started off as models and achieved moderate success as singers as well as occasionally film TVB series that makes audiences fond of them.  Although Niki is arguably more popular and I like her too, Ella is so much more talented and versatile than her in both aspects.  Ella has this amount of musical talent that makes you forget that she simply branched out to music and acting from modeling.  The one flaw I've seen in her singing so far though is that she could improve on her breathing.  When singing some songs like "Thousand Sails", she becomes out of breath.

What I love most about Ella is her passion for music.  Before writing this spotlight, I loved Ella as a singer and actress but didn't know much else about her.  After spending a significant amount of time watching videos on YouTube to gather to put on this spotlight, I took little things from them and started to love her even more.  She seems very sweet and friendly in real life.  Even more so, unlike many singers, she is also musically trained and genuinely has a passion for music.  Coupled with her musical talent and beauty, Ella has this aura about her that makes her look so ladylike, sophisticated, yet youthful and fun.

Ella Koon Essentials

"Hide and Seek" - "捉迷藏"
Ella's first single.  I'm not too crazy about it and as a debut single it failed to show her capabilities as a singer, especially since there are several verses where she simply has to say the lyrics.  However, it is still a catchy song with a great beat.  I love the concept of the MV as well, where Ella is a celebrity that is constantly being hounded by the paparazzi.

"Movie's Got Atmosphere" - "戲中有氣"

A beautiful ballad full of emotion that starts slow and becomes fast in the chorus.  The song has an air of sadness that comes off sounding so lovely and passionate.

"Losing Sanity" - "失常"

Although I don't understand the lyrics, I can feel the song is full of intensity.  The song is full of different emotions, and definitely matches with the theme of "losing insanity".  

"Beautiful Revolution" - "美麗革命"

I absolutely love the fast beat of this song.  It gives off a very energetic and sounds different and "cool".   Very catchy and upbeat.

"Thousand Sails"

The music and the vocals of the song is so beautiful, peaceful, and soothing.

"Yi Yi"

The song Ella composed and wrote herself.  Arguably my favorite song from her, it starts off slow and gradually builds.  "Ay yi yi" is an expression to show frustration, hopelessness, sadness, and annoyance.  There is so much emotion in the song, and it overall sounds beautiful.  Doesn't she look so serene and pretty while playing the guitar?

"相對時空" - "Relative Time"

Her most recent single, released at the beginning of the year.  Love the rhythm!  The song sounds very lovely with all the instruments, which include an orchestra and drums.  Altogether, a very solid track and a promising preview of what Ella has in store for everyone this year.  As always, she looks beautiful in the music video.

Other Song Recommendations

  • "Ashore" - "上岸" 
    The feel of the song is very serene and peaceful.  Yet, it ties in R&B beats and even a subtle use of electropop in the chorus when Ella's voice is electronized (excuse my trouble describing this) in a clean cut and catchy way.
  • "地平線" - "Horizon"  http://youtu.be/izTUkxPQ-r8 Sweet, soothing, and relaxing song.  The pace of the song is nice, as it is neither too fast or too slow, though it does reach a climax.
  • "Time to Play" http://youtu.be/8MyBsvl1BWULike the title suggests, it is a very playful and slightly flirty sounding song and a whole lot of fun.  Also, Ella looks incredibly gorgeous in the MV.
  • "Dare to Be" ft. NYCCA http://youtu.be/QPPmN8-CUlY
    Following her phenomenal performance on "The Voice", Ella finally released a new single, her first English one.  The song is simple, fun, and gives a great message.  With lots of high notes, the song also showed her range while still being upbeat and catchy.
  • "Coral Island" http://youtu.be/jLzA1ntjVKk Far from her best song, but still sweet and dreamy sounding.  The MV is also quite cute and whimsical.
  • "Charged By This Matter"- "由他去" http://youtu.be/xIkhFN3Yto4A more playful and upbeat song that manages to be catchy yet still has a good composition with great vocals.
  • "Moment of Induction"- "一刻感應" http://youtu.be/e5UKWzYfbd4
    The sound of this song is much different from her other songs.  Also upbeat and fun, but more experimental production wise.  Love the presence of the whistling and drums.

Watch Ella Live


The performance of "Endless Love" on "The Voice" that finally shot Ella to fame by shocking everybody with her vocal capabilities.  Meanwhile, I had already known for sometime about them.  ;)

Ella's performance of "Yi Yi" on Music Cafe, where she plays the acoustic guitar as well as sings.  You'll notice her voice sounds exactly the same live as in the studio versions, extremely natural and sweet.

Acoustic and Raw

A short excerpt of "Yi Yi" completely acoustic, with nothing but Ella and her guitar.  Again, still the sounds the same, and arguably even better.

Here, Ella performed a cover of Ne-Yo's "So Sick" on the piano.  She sounds very soft, gentle, and beautiful in this performance.

Instrumentally Talented

I found it very cool that Ella knows how to play the gu-zheng, and was hoping to see a video of her playing it.  I managed to find this short video of her playing it on her YouTube channel.  Aw, how talented!

In yet another one of her YouTube videos, Ella uploaded a series of videos of herself practicing singing and playing the guitar.  The man who shows up and sits near Ella is her guitar teacher.


I simply love Ella.  She is so lovely and gifted, and has come a long way.  Her last two mini albums have been superb and her music has matured so much.  With her talent and passion for music, Ella has become one of my favorite Hong Kong artists and musical inspirations.  Since her skills come from natural talent as well as training, I hope to become just a portion as musically talented as her.  :)  I can't wait to see her in "Thunderous Drug Raid" and what else her music has in store!

Ella's YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/queenmeanbee


Author's Note: This spotlight was much more longer and detailed than my previous spotlights for G.E.M. and Eric since I had dived more in to the research and video searching portion of writing this post. I ended up having a lot of fun finding out more about Ella and seeing all she could do.  Hope you enjoyed this spotlight and that it proves Ella's talent to you instead of boring you!

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