On the day before the show, a designer friend solved her worries. She made a fully sealed costume with a mask for Lung. It contained a small, hidden hole for breathing. Lung would be unrecognizable after she put it on. She prepared the whole afternoon in her friend’s workshop and headed to the show wearing her unique costume. Despite physical discomfort and the difficulty of singing in her cocoon, Lung has stuck steadfastly to her disguise ever since.
“I was nervous because it was my debut. I was afraid people would not accept my look since there was no precedent for it in Hong Kong,” says Lung. Fortunately, the enthusiastic reaction of the students gave her greater confidence and encouraged her to take her music to a wider audience. The following day, she gave her first street performance in Mongkok.
By October, Lung had performed 19 live shows on the street. She sees street performances as her training ground. “Similar to when a runner adds weights to his legs in training, every street show gives me a good opportunity to practice my singing skills,” says Lung.
Another turning point in Lung’s music career came when she joined a Taiwan rock music festival in the summer. There she met the boss of her current music company Ng Kwan-cheung. Ng was impressed by Lung’s enthusiasm about music and education and offered her a singer’s contract. Lung decided to quit her job and chase her dream.
Lung signed on two conditions. Firstly, she refuses to disclose her identity and show her face to the public. Secondly, she demands autonomy in choosing the style of her music. She says most pop songs nowadays only talk about romance, “There is no doubt that romance plays a crucial part in our lives. However, we should never forget elements like current affairs, families, or studies,” Lung says. She wants to compose songs that tell a wider variety of human stories.
With support from her company, Lung’s dream of releasing her own album can finally come true. Before she had a musical contract, she had come up with a novel way to achieve her goal – the presale of uncompleted CDs. When she was performing on the street, she collected pre-payments from audience members and passers-by. The money raised would be used to fund the production of her album and the buyers would receive the CD on its release. She raised about $HK110,000 in this way.
“I am grateful that people are willing to buy the CD from an ordinary person, who used to be a teacher. They supported me when I was at my lowest ebb,” Lung said.
The career of self-declared little fungus has blossomed since then. Lung held her first concert at the Kowloon Bay International Trade & Exhibition Centre in August. Six hundred people turned out to support her. She finally told her mum and sisters about her second identity before the concert.
“One day after dinner, I asked my mum if she would like to watch my concert,” Lung says. “She was not surprised, maybe because she knows I’ve always enjoyed singing from a young age.” Lung speculates that her sister had suspected she was leading a double life, but had not asked Lung about it.