Monday, April 16, 2012

Spotlight: Kelvin Kwan (Part 1: Biography and Artist Critique)

Having overcome a major scandal and needing to start from scratch, Kelvin Kwan has outperformed people's expectations and matured into one of the most talented young singers in Hong Kong today.

Born on March 24, 1983, Kelvin Kwan was raised in Canada in a wealthy family.  He was discovered in 2004 when he went out for a night of karaoke with his father's ex-coworkers.  He was offered an audition, and then signed by Go East, part of Universal Music.  Popular and established Cantopop singer Alan Tam took Kelvin as his godson, and helped him with his music career as well as taught him skills like how to face the media.  Kelvin and Jill Vidal, his girlfriend and another rising singer, became known for their participation in anti-drug campaigns.

His self-titled debut album was released on October 11, 2006.  His duet with godfather Alan Tam, "Big Cry Baby", was ranked as China's 4th most popular duet by China Central Television merely 5 days after the album's release.  Following his successful debut, he released "What Do You Take Me For" in 2007 and "Hello...My Name Is" in 2008.

Kelvin with former girlfriend Jill Vidal

Kwan's career took an unexpected dark turn when he and Jill Vidal were arrested in Tokyo for possession of marijuana on March 3, 2009.  Godfather Alan Tam expressed anger and disappointment with him.  After spending a month in a detention center, Kwan was released and held a press conference to apologize.  There, he announced he would be taking a break from the entertainment industry and take the time to reflect on himself.

Kwan did not return to the music industry until over a year later in mid 2010.  His comeback single "One Year/一年" was a personal song that reflected on himself and the year he was away from the industry.  He released his comeback album "Here I Am" on September 22, 2010.  In general, the public was willing to give the singer a second chance and the comeback was met with relatively positive response.

Following his comeback, Kwan changed his image and musical style.  He adopted a more mature image and started getting involved with his music.  He's experimented with many different sounds and taken part in the writing and composing process of several of his songs.  Having developed more of an artistic and musical direction, he has unexpectedly evolved into something more than just a simple pop singer or gossip magnet.  He released his new and best selection album "Occupation" on March 30, 2012.

Artist Critique

Addressing his past...
At first sight, Kelvin Kwan was just another pretty boy with lots of connections who probably wouldn't last too long or make it too far in the music industry. His career could've died after his arrest in 2009, or he could've continued as an idol singer pretending as if nothing had happened. Unexpectedly, he has taken another route since making a comeback in 2010 and emerged as one of the most talented young singers in Hong Kong.

I won't deny that Kelvin hasn't done stupid and foolish things. In fact, I think it was hypocritical of him and former girlfriend Jill Vidal to be doing marijuana when they actively took part in anti-drug campaigns. Being a celebrity doesn't make up for his fault. However, he's also human. I strongly believe that a person can change and that they should have second chances. Kelvin didn't kill someone, nor did he commit a serious felony. He deserved a second chance, just like any other person who made a couple mistakes as an impressionable young person under pressure. In the end, what matters is whether or not that person turns their life around.

Kelvin was lucky. When he decided to make a comeback, he had the support of his whole record company. Would he have been able to stage such a successful comeback without the massive support? Maybe not. It's his connections and support that got him back into music. However, it's thanks to himself that he's gone so far instead of fading into oblivion after releasing one or two singles. He's proven he has what it takes to not only return, but stay on the music scene for a long time as well.

His music...

As opposed to continuing being the typical good looking young Cantopop singer who only sings love ballads, he's turned into an experimental and developing musician. He's not an excellent one man show who can do everything, but you can easily tell he's trying to improve himself and working to get there. Since his comeback, he has taken on a significantly larger creative presence for his music. He's taken part in songwriting, composing, and has even directed one of his music videos.

Kelvin Kwan has gone from being simply a singer into a developing artist. He is genuinely talented. With a great voice with decent range, he can do a variety of musical styles. His recent music is a joy to listen to because it is refreshing mainstream pop. He incorporates different elements such as rock, rap, hip hop, R&B, etc. He's breaking free of his previous image of singing love ballads too by also singing about political and societal issues. His music feels familiar yet fresh. It is well polished and produced, but his personal touch to it is also obvious. 


The truth? Kelvin Kwan is a flawed young man who has made stupid mistakes. However, it is because of talent, persistence, and a little bit of luck, that he's still here today. He's stayed out of trouble since and has made up for his wrongs. Forgiveness is a part of life. I have forgiven Kelvin for his mistakes because he's taken advantage of everything he's been fortunate enough to have to be better than ever.

Through out the years, he's outperformed many people's expectations, including mine. I certainly would not anticipate someone of his background and past would become the promising and creative artist today. It's not surprising Kelvin Kwan made a comeback. It is however, a surprise that he's managed to do so much and go so far. However, it's definitely a pleasant surprise. Because of all this, my like for him continues to grow and he is now one of my favorite singers. I strongly believe he will only continue to go farther. Best wishes to Kelvin and his future!


Author's Note: I hope everyone enjoyed reading my take on Kelvin and his career, which has been met with mixed response. I tried to be as impartial as possible. What is your opinion on Kelvin's comeback? This was a longer spotlight post because of the in-depth artist critique. I'll be posting the second part (the song recommendations) soon.


  1. He certainly hasn't let his fans and supporters down. : )

    As well as the music industry, Kelvin's entering the movie industry now .. I don't recall him being in any movies O_O At least I can't think of any at the moment haha. Nice to know he's shooting some movies now and that he'll be in the CTI series with Felix and Bernice. More than half of the sitcom he's in has been aired, it's been so quick! I am so behind, I need to catch up with it haha.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Niki! :)

      No he hasn't, he just continues surprising us and making us proud!

      Yeah, didn't realize he was going into acting so much. Need to catch up on the sitcom soon! It has been very quick. Looking forward to the CTI series!