Interview: CoCo Lee

More popular than ever in the region, vivacious songstress CoCo Lee struts her stuff in this special fashion shoot. Her wardrobe is from Max Mara. CoCo served as spokesperson for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund's Pink Revolution campaign recently

Interview: CoCo Lee

When we last met [in 2010], you had just announced your engagement to Bruce Rockowitz after a seven-year courtship. What’s it like being a married woman?

Incredible! I never imagined I’d get married. Before I met Bruce there was only work and family in my life – I was a workaholic. Now, as a married woman, I still get to do what I’m passionate about. I’m in a very blissful state.

Has marriage changed you?

The only difference is a comfort level that I never knew could exist between a man and a woman. I now know that when we disagree about something, we will still be together tomorrow. We are each other’s best friends. He’s my pillar and I’m his best listener. 

Are you are still working as hard?

As a performer and recording artist there’s a huge load, which is hard on Bruce. I’m constantly away. There are a lot of shows; it seems like every weekend I’m in China doing a concert. It’s good for me, of course – I’m hot at the moment, which is the greatest feeling! – but I do have to sacrifice time with Bruce. He sometimes flies in for a show, and if he is in New York on business I may fly over for a few days to join him. We have promised each other never to be apart for more than 10 days.

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"I believe it’s very important for married women to have a career or something they are passionate about.Women nowadays are not subservient to men."

He doesn’t have a problem with you working so much?

No, he understands that I’ve had my career for a long time, that it’s my passion and it wouldn’t be fair if I had to drop it. The new generation of women is very strong and independent. I believe it’s very important for married women to have a career or something they are passionate about. It brings conservation topics to the dinner table, it keeps things interesting. Women nowadays are not subservient to men; they have careers when they are married and have children.

I wasn’t going to bring that subject up, but as you mentioned it are you and Bruce going to have children? [Rockowitz has two daughters from a previous marriage.]

[Laughs] It’s up to me, and up to God. I don’t know. At the moment I’m focusing on work.

So you are happy being on the road so much . . .

Seeing my fans in all the different cities in China is a big thrill for me. They are excited to see me in person and I’m always happy to take pictures with them – it makes their day.

There was one scary incident in Nanjing recently though. I was woken at 3am by the sound of someone trying to get into my hotel room. I called my manager in case she’d left something in my room and was trying to get in, but it wasn’t her. The noise went away, but 10 minutes later it was back – and much louder; it was like someone was trying to break down my door. I called the front desk but by the time they came up to check there was no-one there. I was really shaken.

In the morning I found that my door was almost off its hinges – thank goodness for the inside lock. After checking the surveillance cameras, the hotel reported that the disturbance was caused by two drunken guys, who had mistakenly thought it was their room and had tried to force their way in. The lesson here is always to activate the indoor look on your hotel door, especially if you are a woman staying alone.

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"I used to wear a lot of racy cropped tops – I was a Spice Girl before the Spice Girls came along!"

 

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"I’ve learned a lot about breast cancer – I’ve had a few friends who’ve had cancer too. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from them, it’s to never give up hope."

You’re a spokesperson for Pink Revolution this month.

Yes, I’m very proud of this. Bruce and I are always big donors to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, but this year I wanted to devote my time to the cause too. It’s been great working so closely with Sally [Lo]. I’ve learned a lot about breast cancer – that when you have cancer you feel so lost and alone. It’s important that there is such a wonderful charity organisation like the Cancer Fund to help women through it. Bruce’s mother is a survivor you know, and I’ve had a few friends who’ve had cancer too. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from them, it’s to never give up hope. Having a positive attitude is very important.

Tell us about your role in the Chinese edition of The Voice.

I’m very excited to be a part of the series, which is being filmed in Shanghai. I’m acting as the mentor to one of the four judges. I love the US show The Voice, and I always feel something when I watch singing contests because I got my break 
in a competition.

When’s your next album coming out?

It’s supposed to be at the end of this year, but I won’t rush it; we’ll wait till it’s perfect before releasing it. I’m really excited by this album. A few songs have been recorded already and I’m really relating to them, especially the lyrics. They are about the kind of love I’m feeling now.

It’s important to me when I record a song that that the melodies fit my passion and the lyrics my thoughts. I don’t want to sing a bunch of very, very sad songs at the moment, I want to spread joy and happiness – there’s too much shit going on in the world, you know. Just look at the news and you can see how crazy the world has become. I want to spread a positive message.

Do you have a name for the album yet?

No. I’m just thrilled to be spending time recording. I love being in the studio; it’s where magic happens.

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"I don’t want to sing a bunch of very, very sad songs at the moment, I want to spread joy and happiness."

Tell us about your association with Max Mara this season.

When I began to make money, one of the first pieces I bought for myself was a Max Mara jacket. So when the brand approached me to wear their collection, I said hell yes. It brought back fond memories.

How has your fashion style evolved over the years?

As a pop star you have to be a chameleon. I used to wear a lot of racy cropped tops – I was a Spice Girl before the Spice Girls came along! Now I’m more casual chic, wearing blazers over jeans and boots. I don’t wear a lot of tight clothes offstage; I prefer a more relaxed style of dressing. [CoCo comes to the shoot in a sporty black ensemble and flip-flops.] 

Who are your style icons?

Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Zoe, Gwen Stefani, Victoria Beckham, Sienna Miller – all very feminine and classic. These are the people who inspire me.

Would you like to follow in the footsteps of Victoria Beckham and design your own fashion line?

Anything’s possible! I love that a lot of doors are open to me right now.

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