CoCo Lee, Hong Kong-born ‘Mulan’ singer, dies at 48


Hong Kong-born pop star CoCo Lee has died after a years-long battle with despair. She was 48.

Lee’s sisters, Carol Lee and Nancy Lee, confirmed on social media that the “Reflection” singer died Wednesday because of a suicide try just a few days earlier at her Hong Kong house. She was hospitalized Sunday, slipped right into a coma and subsequently died.

“With nice disappointment, we’re right here to interrupt probably the most devastating information: CoCo had been affected by despair for just a few years however her situation deteriorated drastically over the previous couple of months. Though CoCo sought skilled assist and did her greatest to battle despair, sadly that demon inside her took the higher of her,” the Lee sisters wrote on Instagram, including that they’d prefer to thank the medical employees for his or her care all through the ordeal.

The Lee sisters mentioned they had been grateful and honored to have had such an “wonderful and excellent” sister, and so they thanked God for giving them “such a form angel.”

“Though CoCo stays on this planet for not [a] very long time,” they wrote, “her rays of sunshine will final endlessly!”

Lee was born Jan. 17, 1975, in Hong Kong and moved to San Francisco together with her mom, a surgeon, and two older sisters as a toddler. Her father died earlier than she was born. She was topped Miss Junior Chinatown in center faculty and was class president in highschool. After graduating, Lee studied at UC Irvine.

In 1993, whereas CoCo was visiting Carol and Nancy, who had returned to Hong Kong, her life switched course with a bang when she auditioned for what she described because the “Star Search” of Hong Kong: the twelfth annual “New Expertise Search.” She was certainly one of 10,000 candidates.

“I used to be pondering they’d by no means choose me, I used to be this chubby little lady from San Francisco who may barely communicate Cantonese,” Lee instructed Bloomberg in 2012. “The track that I used to be gonna sing was an English track, so I had a variety of disadvantages, however they gave me the callback. I used to be very proud.”

She sang Whitney Houston’s “Run to You” and was the primary runner-up within the competitors. The day following her look on the present, she was approached by executives from Capitol Data’ Hong Kong workplace with a suggestion for a report deal.

“On that stage, I felt no worry. And it was such an unbelievable feeling to me. How may I not be afraid, not nervous on such an enormous stage the place you could have 20,000 individuals watching? And that’s once I felt that is the place I belong. That is the place I’m most snug, performing for individuals.”

Lee was impressed by artists she grew up listening to within the ’80s and ’90s together with Houston, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey. However she instructed The Instances in 2000 that transposing R&B into Cantonese was difficult “as a result of Cantonese is a tonal language — which means that the identical phrase can have as much as seven meanings, relying on the pitch at which it’s pronounced.”

“Due to this, the licks and riffs employed by R&B singers in English are unimaginable in Cantonese,” she mentioned, “as a result of altering the pitch of a phrase additionally modifications its which means.”

So to pursue a vocal profession in a method that she grew up listening to in San Francisco, Lee taught herself Mandarin, which she instructed The Instances has extra tonal flexibility. Her Americanized tackle Asian pop was embraced all through Asia, and Lee’s profession rapidly took off.

In 1998, Lee was employed to sing the theme track, “Reflection,” and to be the voice of the heroine Fa Mulan within the Mandarin model of Disney’s “Mulan.” In the summertime of 1999, the star carried out in Michael Jackson’s “MJ & Buddies” charity live performance, and in November of the identical yr, she launched her debut full-English album, “Simply No Different Manner.” Lee’s love ballad “Earlier than I Fall in Love” was featured on the “Runaway Bride” motion-picture soundtrack, and her single “Do You Need My Love” grew to become a world hit.

In 2001, Lee’s “A Love Earlier than Time” grew to become the end-credit title track for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which she carried out on the 2001 Academy Awards. Additionally in 2001, Lee grew to become the primary Chinese language Chanel model ambassador for the posh vogue home’s Asian area.

In 2000, The Instances wrote that whereas the American music trade had been pining for its subsequent Ricky Martin, the Epic Data Group had discovered “the subsequent nice ‘crossover’ celebrity” in Hong Kong.

“The subsequent Ricky Martin sings in Cantonese and Mandarin and English, and he or she’s undoubtedly not a dude. Her identify is Coco Lee. … [L]ike Martin, she’s a multilingual, bicultural American who has bought tens of millions of albums in a language aside from English and is keen to make her mark in a mainstream U.S. pop world.”

Leehom Wang, an American singer-songwriter referred to as the “Chinese language king of pop” memorialized Lee on Instagram, writing that the 2 had been youngsters after they first met in Taiwan, each comparatively new to the nation and barely capable of communicate Chinese language.

“One night time a bunch of us went bowling with the [L.A. Boyz] and I can nonetheless keep in mind she was the lifetime of the social gathering, each man had a crush on her however assumed she was out of their league. She had a radiant smile, an infectious snicker, a bigger than life persona. She already had all of the qualities that had been to make her a future star.

“Her star saved rising. She was the most important star at Sony, after which, she was the most important star in Asia. I keep in mind her singing on the Oscars, Sony New York signed her to be the primary Chinese language artist to interrupt into the US Market. Mariah Carey’s agent signed her. Everyone needed to work with CoCo, and for good cause. She was the most effective,” Wang continued.

“Within the music trade, CoCo Lee broke down worldwide boundaries, earlier than some other Chinese language singer did. Let’s at all times keep in mind her, as a courageous pioneer, and an vital musical legend.”

In 2011, Lee married Bruce Rockowitz, a Canadian businessman who’s the previous CEO of Hong Kong provide chain firm Li & Fung and the chairman of Rock Media Worldwide and co-founder of the Pure Group.

CoCo Lee is survived by her sisters, her mom, her husband and two stepdaughters.

Suicide prevention and disaster counseling assets

For those who or somebody you realize is combating suicidal ideas, search assist from knowledgeable and name 9-8-8. The US’ first nationwide three-digit psychological well being disaster hotline 988 will join callers with skilled psychological well being counselors. Textual content “HOME” to 741741 within the U.S. and Canada to achieve the Disaster Textual content Line.


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