Ever since acclaimed multi-hyphenate Dick Lee made his music debut in the early 70s, he’s been an enduring presence in the local showbiz industry with no shortage of hats to wear. He’s been a Mad Chinaman, a fashion maven and show director, a restaurateur and very soon, a film director.
Lee, who turned 57 in August and celebrates his 40th year in showbiz next year, is the composer behind the songs of the Resort’s latest musical, a sweeping fantasy called LIGHTSEEKER, An RWS Musical. As it turns out, this is just one of the many things he has on his plate at the moment.
What drew you to be a part of LIGHTSEEKER, A RWS Musical?
The opportunity to work with RWS Vice President of Entertainment Andrea Teo was wonderful. I think she’s a great talent and I’ve always felt she should be creating things. I never worked with her except for a brief spell at MediaWorks so I’m really happy to be working with her this time. Also the story line is set in a fantasy realm. I’ve never done anything like that before.
What’s it like writing the songs for it?
The mainstream is so much harder to write. To make it commercial and original, fresh and yet familiar – that’s the hard thing and the secret to writing pop songs. When you’re writing a musical, you’re not writing for music lovers. You’re writing for families and people who just want to have a good time. You want to supply the music that feeds that, allowing them to just relax and enjoy. And that’s the challenge.
Your 40th anniversary is coming up next year. What plans do you have?
I’m going to do another round of fund-raising for Sunshine Project, a charity I created in 2004 when I had my 30th anniversary. I went to Community Chest and asked them to show me their smaller charities that found it a struggle to raise funds. The theme of Sunshine Project is that I pick centres that are preparing kids for real life because after 18, they’ve got to go out into the world. Every few year we change the schools. Next year, I’ve tied up with two charities: Viva Foundation for Children with Cancer and Agape Village, a Catholic charity.
Apart from this musical, what else are you working on right now?
I’m also working on another musical for 2015 and one for 2016. I’ve just delivered a song that I wrote for a charity in Hong Kong and have written new songs for my concert in July. I’ve also written a new song for local singer Chen Wei Lian and I am in the process of reworking one of my old songs for a TV commercial. I’ve also made a pitch for the SEA Games theme song and am working on my film. It’s about the music industry and my characters are all singers, so I get to write all these Chinese pop songs. Next year, I’m also publishing my first score book of songs – piano and vocal, and compilations.
This article first appeared in the September issue of Invites magazine.
Get your tickets here now.