interview78

王菀之專訪〔78〕


2015年9月9-22日 Time Out Hong Kong 190期

Alex Fung & Ivana Wong The sweet smell of success

As they prepare for their upcoming performance with the HK Philharmonic, Ivana Wong and Alex Fung tell Arthur Tam about how they met and how they can finally hear their music played properly. Photography by Calvin Sit

It’s a dream come true for musicians Ivana Wong Yuen-chi and Alex Fung Hon-ming. Finally, their music has been recognised and they have been invited by the Hong Kong Philharmonic to perform at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall backed by a full orchestra in the show, Fragrance of Music. For classically trained singer-songwriters like Wong and Fung, this is the highest honour imaginable in the city.

And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. This is Wong’s 10th anniversary in the music industry and she’s more popular than she has ever been, selling out her Hong Kong Coliseum concert last year and nabbing the best newcomer title at the Hong Kong Film Awards this year for her comedic and on-point performance as a Mainland prostitute in Golden Chickensss. Wong also has a new film in theatres called Love Detective, in which she plays a whacky cop who goes undercover at a modelling agency to figure out the identity of the woman who stole her boyfriend.

Upon meeting Wong though, you would never imagine that she would have such a natural talent for acting – especially comedy. Her shy, humble yet spritely demeanour belies her vibrant onstage presence on the big screen or on stage in musicals like Little Hong Kong Season 5.

She’s a rising star on camera, but ultimately she’s a musician first and foremost – and a chameleon at that à la Björk. But comparing Wong to any other artist would do her a grave disservice and it would be limiting. She can play a classic concerto with her eyes closed, compose haunting, wistful ballads and then seamlessly shift to ethereal dubstep.

Talent on its own, however, often isn’t enough to make someone successful. Wong’s current popularity is largely in part due to her long time collaboration with Fung (aka The Invisible Men) as her producer. Fung has worked with everyone and anyone in the industry and is highly sought after for his expertise in arranging musical pieces, but he commits most of his time to work with Wong – an old friend who he has known since high school. Musically, they sync as well as Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel or The Carpenters and have been able to carve out a place in Hong Kong’s music industry, away from the often trite and karaoke-driven Cantopop.

Ahead of their orchestral performance we speak to the pair about how they met, their makeshift studio and throwing keyboards at computer screens.

You’ve worked together for over a decade now. How did this relationship begin?

Wong: We’ve been friends from long ago, starting from secondary school, since Form 2.

Fung: I feel like we are at marriage counselling right now [laughs].

W: Since 14-years-old.

F: Now we’re just getting old.

How did music come into play?

W: In the most cliché way. I was singing and he was playing the piano, and then our teacher asked us to perform together for Christmas events and all kind of festivals like the school anniversary.

F: They believed in us and let us create our own programmes.

W: We sang One Sweet Day. I basically had to skip my lunch to practise with him, which is a big sacrifice for me. It’s a big deal for me to skip my lunch! [Wong is well known for having hunger management issues]. This just proves how much I love music.

F: It was a big deal indeed. They served pretty good chicken thigh at our school, so it was a big loss on both our parts.

But after secondary school, we actually didn’t see each other for like 10 years. I went to the States and she went to Vancouver, so we basically lost contact.

But 10 years later you reconnected…

W: It’s funny, we were just trying to remember how. A common friend put us in touch because he knew that Alex had just started in the industry and I had just won the CASH (Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong) competition. So the timing was right to reconnect.

And you guys just wanted to collaborate upon reconnecting?

F: It wasn’t that cliché.

W: It was more like ‘yo yo yo man’, something like that [laughs]. Alex was keen to show me his studio at home, so I went – and he had this small keyboard that he was making demos with.

F: It was a so-called studio…

W: That’s how you sold it, and it turned out to be this 10 sq ft corner within his room.

F: By my personal bed no less. To be fair, the whole room was about 40 sq ft.

By Hong Kong standards, that could actually be a studio.

W: I actually enjoyed it a lot.

F: She’s actually the only girl that I allowed to sit on my bed [laughs].

W: We did a lot of demos in that studio for other artists. It was really fun because his keyboard was so tiny, so we always had to pause so he could shift the octave.

F: I couldn’t even afford a full 88-key keyboard. It took dedication on both our parts to work like that. I’m glad Ivana wasn’t repulsed by it.

Why do you think you work so well together?

W: I’m not sure, but all I know is that I feel so spoiled that he’s been able to work with me for so many albums. I can’t work with any other producers. I don’t know how.

F: We share the same wavelength – the stuff that we love, our overall taste and musical sensibilities.

And what would that usually be?

W: The dreamy ones…

F: Music without limitations. We both like electronic music, artists like Björk and Frou Frou. But we were also classically trained, so we do have the fundamentals for what I would say is boring music for some people. But at the same time, I do love hip-hop and RnB, and she loves alternative rock like Radiohead.

What’s your process like?

F: Sometimes when she’s writing a melody, I’ll add something in and then she’ll retweek it a bit.

W: Yeah, it’s a back and forth communication between us.

Do either of you ever get frustrated with each other?

W: Never towards each other, but towards the market or the music company. Everyone has an opinion and it sometimes makes us feel a little bit frustrated or lost.

How do you deal with it?

F: At the beginning, I would throw some stuff or punch walls. I literally threw my keyboard at my computer screen. Amazingly, I only broke the keyboard. I felt really disrespected and repressed in a weird way because music is supposed to free our minds, and art is supposed to free us from boundaries, but instead, it gave us a lot more steps and rules.

I’m still learning. I’m still learning to get the perfect balance between being a good pop-music producer and at the same time helping artists reach their full potential. It’s hard, it’s always a balancing act. You just have to learn through every piece of music that you make.

Do you both think you’ve gained more respect from the industry now?

W: I’m not too sure about that one. I do feel that people who liked us before treasure our music even more now. But I’m not sure if our fanbase is actually growing. Hopefully it is though [laughs].

Alex, you came out with your first solo album two years ago. Does this mean you want to come out from behind the curtain and into the spotlight?

F: I didn’t intend to be the front man. But, like Ivana, I like performing. I would love to perform every piece I’ve created, so that people can get the emotions from me directly, instead of through someone else.

Ivana, musically, would you say that you are going back to your roots?

W: My music reflects what I’m feeling at the moment. I didn’t intentionally start writing the way I am right now, but it turns out that the music style for my past few singles sound like three movements of the same piece. I’m not going backwards, but I’m connecting my original self with greater depth.

How do feel about the positive responses you’ve been receiving regarding your acting career?

W: It excites me to know that people enjoy my acting style. I’m still a very green actress. I do sometimes feel worried that maybe people find me not too focused on music anymore. There are doubts about whether I still devote enough time to music and whether I’m really still the Ivana that everyone knew.

To be fair, you haven’t come out with a CD for a while.

W: Not a full album, but songs here and there. I think it took me some time to actually believe that I’m being a versatile artist. During this whole process, I’m exploring my own potential and possibilities in performing on different stages, whether it’s a drama stage, TV stage or a concert stage. So on the artistry side, I’m growing and developing, and now, I’m shaping myself as an all-round performing artist, and that’s actually my biggest dream and goal right now. I don’t want to make myself feel guilty that I spend less time on music. It’s not true. I’m just giving myself time to come out with one very good album, instead of forcing myself to come out with two poor ones per year.

When is your next album going to drop?

W: The first quarter of next year and it’ll be a Mandarin album because it has been a while since I last released one. It’s not as easy as before you know – society changes, culture changes. It took more time for a Mandarin album to actually come true this time.

Can you elaborate on these changes for us?

W: In the past you could get a full budget to do a physical release, but right now the market is going for singles and digital releases, so budgets have changed. For an album to happen, you need allocate budget for the promotions, logistics, marketing and everything else, so it’s way more complicated than just uploading a single or album.

Acting-wise, it seems you gravitate towards comedy. Is that on purpose?

W: People find me funny [chuckles]. At first, I didn’t believe it because I don’t find myself funny. So I decided to go to a regular screening of one of the films in secret, to see how people really feel about my acting.

The first time we met, you seemed very shy, but you become so vibrant and alive during your performances. Are you just pretending in front of us?

W: I am shy! But that’s just the beauty and magic of the stage. When the lights are on and when the costumes are on, I feel full of energy and power. I transform into someone else. I’m enjoying this extreme change behind and in front of the screen.

How serious are you about developing your acting career?

W: I’m going to keep on doing different performances on different stages. I always think that even when I am singing a song, I’m actually playing the character of that song. I’m not just singing. So, in a way, my acting and music inspire each other. When I performed at the Coliseum last year, I wouldn’t have imagined that I could have had that much power before I acted.

You seem like you’re happier and having much more fun now…

W: I’m having more fun and I’m getting more inspired by everything I do now. But that hasn’t changed the fact that I am shy [laughs]. I’m not pretending.

Tell me about your upcoming collaboration with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra for Fragrance of Music…

F: Actually, the Philharmonic invited Ivana and then she called me and said,“You’re going to do a show with me for Philharmonic.” And I was like, “Yay, finally!”

W: It’s as if all the beautiful lines that we’ve written can finally be played properly.

F: Or put it this way, the size of the orchestra finally meets the energy we want people to feel.

What do you want the audience to take away from this music experience? And what do you think is different from your previous concerts?

W: I hope that their hearts will melt. It’s not about how well we do. We just hope to inspire more hearts.

F: That’s right.

Fragrance of Music HKCC, Oct 16 & 17. Tickets: $280-$780. hkphil.org.

Wardrobe: Route by Yuvia Huang Yaqi, courtesy of Hong Kong Design Institute

Styling: Arthur Tam

Art direction: Phoebe Cheng and Noel de Guzman

Alex:

Hair: Niki Lee @ Headquarters

Makeup: Kirsty @ Facedesign

Ivana:

Hair: Kate Shek @ Hair Culture

Makeup: Janice Tao @ Zing the makeup school


2015年9月12日 星島日報

王菀之想學蔣志光推Job

(星島日報報道)蔣志光與王菀之(Ivana)最近合作新戲《沒女神探》,二人雖然屬於不同年代,但都是歌手出身,一見面即雞啄唔斷。Ivana表示在蔣志光身上學到很多,最希望能學到他的「有得揀」,笑言有一日要像蔣志光一樣,能瀟灑地推Job。

蔣志光與王菀之(Ivana)最近合作新戲《沒女神探》,Ivana飾演高智商女警,失戀後大受打擊,蓬頭垢面,無心工作,直至蔣志光飾演的上司派她去模特兒公司做臥底,才慢慢振作。

Ivana做臥底嫩模要擺出很多古靈精怪的甫士,蔣志光演的上司亦要扮鬼扮馬,更要套上公仔衫掩人耳目!蔣志光指,有一段時間沒有拍電影,今次覺得很好玩,笑言Ivana做了卧底之後,他們每次都要在不同的地方見面,他有多個造型,每一個都很有趣。Ivana說:「有一場戲,阿蔣要穿着一件魚衫,在街上聽我匯報,嗰場戲太多人圍觀,工作人員都攔不住他們。」二人都期待能再合作。

新片跳出喜劇框框

蔣志光在娛樂圈打滾多年,大部分作品都是喜劇,他表示最近接了一個不開心的戲,就是《寒戰2》,大家之後就可以看到他另一面。問他有沒有一定不會演的角色或片種?蔣志光笑說:「一切都要看你有沒有選擇的能力,有得揀的時候就可以瀟灑地推,不用痛苦地演,我接戲最重要看對方有沒有誠意,拍戲的過程重要過結果,明知會拍得不開心就不要拍,否則每次一想起都不開心,有甚麼意思呢?」

旁邊的Ivana一聽即非常羨慕,笑言一直都想學對方這種做法,奈何現在仍未到可以篩選的地步,「我細個好喜歡看鬼片,但人愈大就愈怕,而且看完會影響心情,所以現在沒有以前沉迷,如果有得揀,首選一定不會拍鬼片。」

文:黃佩麗 圖:莫慶輝

化妝:Janice Tao @ ZING the makeup school

髮型:Tim Lee @ Hair Culture

服裝:SKULLUMINOUS

場地:Coffee Pro

圖:王菀之羨慕蔣志光接戲時有得揀。

圖:王菀之期待與蔣志光再次合作。

圖:王菀之於《沒女神探》飾演失戀女警。(劇照)

圖:王菀之與蔣志光在《沒女神探》扮鬼扮馬。(劇照)


2015年9月16日 中國報

王菀之 忙到拍拖要預約

覃小萍越洋電訪報導

(吉隆坡訊) 王菀之憑電影《金雞sss》勇奪今年香港電影金像獎最佳女配角和最佳新演員的殊榮,目前工作排得密密麻麻,感嘆連午餐時間都沒有之餘,與男友拍拖更需要提早“預定”假期!

她笑說:“他也很忙,所以我們更珍惜在一起相處的時間,碰上有幾天的假期,我們都會去旅行。我現在看見工作表上有假期,就自己先去mark了……需要抽時間去拍拖咯!”

工作忙得不可開交會否擱置結婚計劃呢?

她絲毫不掩飾恨嫁心聲,笑說:“對於結婚,我都曾經有幻想過,也很想把自己嫁出去,希望在這輩子完結之前有機會。”

她坦承與男友對結婚其實有“盡在不言中的默契”,唯暫時沒辦法有一個明確的日期,“我們都是憑感受去做決定的。”那麼是否會趁旅行時即興閃婚呢?

“如果有這麼美好的一天,我們會很樂意與大家分享,不會刻意隱瞞。”她表示他們絕對不會偷偷完成註冊簽字,“我覺得需要尊重家人和感恩老人家,所以結婚是要他們在場。”

緊張票房失眠

王菀之首度在電影《沒女神探》出任女主角,飾演高智商、身手敏捷的女警“鍾家寶”。她笑稱擔正會有票房壓力,電影在香港上映前幾天,她不只緊張到失眠,還刻意下載新apps天天查看戲院購票情況!

喜劇形象深入民心的她稱說不擔心被定形,直言自己從小就是喜劇擁躉,“我很喜歡看喜劇,拍攝過程也很開心,我相信將來還是有機會嘗試不同的戲種。”

《沒女神探》9月17日在全馬上映。

吻周柏豪不尷尬

王菀之與周柏豪拍吻戲不尷尬!

王菀之說她與周柏豪是已相識的朋友,大家平日碰面都是聊音樂,這次拍攝電影《沒女神探》會談電影的對白和培養默契,但鏡頭外還是會不斷交流音樂。

而2人在片中的親吻戲,她笑說:“沒有笑場!因為我們都很熟練嘛!我們都很專業又是相識的朋友,所以不會尷尬。我們的那場吻戲是從搞笑變浪漫,那個吻也是funny多過浪漫。”


2015年10月號 Cosmopolitan 371期

乳癌不是講彩數

BINGO、抽獎、獎券……無論獎品是什麼,人人都期望至少中一次。剛剛應香港乳癌基金會邀請成為乳健教育大使的王菀之告訴大家,乳癌風險無人想中,但卻不難中!

在香港,每17位女性當中便有一人有機會罹患乳癌,醫學上雖然未能找出乳癌的成因,但多項研究確立了一些會增加患乳癌風險的因素。

從小教育保養身體的重要性

「患乳癌不是講彩數,而是跟飲食及生活習慣息息相關。」王菀之十分肯定地說。因媽媽是護士,耳濡目染之下,王菀之從小就十分注重自己的身體健康狀況,自小就有自己健康自己負責的意識。經過拍攝廣告後,王菀之更肯定減低乳癌風險可以從日常生活入手。

乳癌風險BINGO遊戲節目主持人 抽出號碼睇你中唔中

王菀之為香港乳癌基金會拍攝全新的電視廣告「乳癌風險BINGO」,她在片中擔任「乳癌風險BINGO」遊戲節目主持人,抽出不同的號碼去帶出不同的乳癌風險因素。例如「37」,代表受訪乳癌患者當中,37%感覺高度精神壓力;「66」則代表66%未曾餵哺母乳,用逆向方法喚起大家關注乳癌風險因素的普遍性。

工作更忙 也要做運動

王菀之坦言,藝人工作繁忙,實在難以每日做半小時運動。她會為自己有最佳演出,而迫自己做運動,務求有最好的狀態去迎接工作的挑戰。工作過後會讓自己躲懶一會兒,但她視工作是她運動的動力。因此,她仍可維持一定的運動量。

「乳癌風險BINGO」社區教育巡迴展覽

為配合廣告推出,香港乳癌基金會早前於9月4日在觀塘apm舉行「乳癌風險BINGO」- 乳健教育社區推廣的啟動禮,展開由9月至10月為期兩個月的巡迴展覽,於港九新界各大商場接觸社區婦女,推廣乳房健康。

若想了解更多乳癌風險的知識,可親身到社區教育巡迴展覽參觀,或瀏覽專題網站 http://www.hkbcf.org/bingo

圖:當日王菀之更現身apm與市民會面和玩有獎問答遊戲,分享心得,宣揚減低乳癌風險的方法。

後記

王菀之拍攝這輯廣告後,發現普通的身體檢查並不足夠,自己會特意去預約和鼓勵身邊的女士去接受乳健檢查。


2015年10月1日 cosmopolitan.com.hk

初嚐女主角 王菀之

王菀之今年首次入圍金像獎,旋即奪得「最佳女配角」和「最佳新演員」,作為影壇新人,2015年是一個good beginning。在歌影雙發展下,一直順利,「運」似乎不缺,Ivana坦承入行十年,路一直很順,不過做藝人豈能只靠「運氣」。積極向上的她自言︰「入行後條路一直好順,但如果未裝備好自己,即使有個好劇本都未必會做得好,運氣都只係佔很少很少。」

今次得獎後首次擔正的電影《沒女神探》上映,承受著票房壓力,她坦然都緊張票房,不過對自己與新戲都有信心。看著說話總是輕聲細語的Ivana,很難想象會扮演警察一職,她自言雖然沒有角色的IQ高達189,不過專注度同樣十足。今次有機會參加動作場面,沒有武功底子的她自言對手是個大隻佬,在武術指導的協助下,即使出盡力打,對方依然絲毫不動,便完成人生首場「動作戲」。


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