I’m not an avid follower of current Cantopop music or Hong Kong singers, but through the recent show Voice of Stars I have discovered a true gem: Fred Cheng. This is the 4th season of The Voice which is a Hong Kong reality singing competition show. This season, the show’s contestants featured artists currently working at TVB. The whole point of the show was to promote hidden talent and bring them into the spotlight. The finale just ended last weekend and Fred was the winner, which isn’t surprising since he was a clear favorite to win since the beginning. He has consistently for the most part, always received the highest scores every week compared to his colleagues and winning high praises from all the judges. Fred even gained a mentor from one of the judges Eric Moo who said to him during the second episode “Don’t act anymore, just be a singer!” and also asked him on the spot to be a special guest in his upcoming concert in Hong Kong.
What really draws me to Fred is his story. Fred was born in Vancouver, Canada and went to Hong Kong in 2001 to compete in the New Talent Singing Awards, to which he placed second. He then signed under Capital Records, but the company shortly after 2 months went bankrupt ending his music career. The following year, TVB enrolled him in their Artist Training class. After his graduation in 2002, he has acted in over 40 dramas but struggled for 12 years portraying various random characters that had little to no dialogue, such as soldiers, guards and waiters. Due to his low income, he struggled with everyday expenses, like how he was going to feed himself for his next meal. His family lives in Canada, so he contemplated returning home a couple times. He decided to stick it out because in the end he still wanted to be an artist. During the first episode, Fred said when he joined Voice of Stars, he didn’t tell his mom he auditioned and would going the show, because he didn’t want her to feel disappointed.
I’m genuinely happy for Fred when he was crowned the winner this past Sunday. He sings with so much heart and sincerity. He also plays guitar, which was showcased in many of his weekly performances, which helped him achieve his highest scores. A guy who plays instruments is automatically 10000x more attractive, especially if he plays guitar. When he performs, you can see his passion for music and without question, you know he belongs on the stage. In addition, he’s a fellow Chinese-Canadian, so that is also another reason for my huge support. Really looking forward to seeing more of Fred, he has a bright future ahead of him. I even posted a message on his Instagram (fredcheg83) congratulating him on his win and how I look forward to him releasing albums and one day have concerts, especially in Canada.
I think Voice of Stars is great because it gave a chance to the audiences to discover unknown musical talents. A majority of the contestants were also like Fred, struggling actors playing very minor roles. You would recognize them in various dramas but would never know their names. Ronald Law was another contestant besides Fred who started out on the first episode managed to stick towards the end, while their colleagues were continuously added and dropped from the competition each week. Unfortunately, Ronald did not make it to the finale because of his lacking performance, due to the stress and toll of juggling his drama and musical on the side. Hoffman Cheng who won second place, is another struggling actor who joined the competition the week before the finals. I believe if Hoffman joined earlier in the competition he would have been the biggest competition for Fred. However, thanks to this show I’ve been introduced to many unknown actors who I frequently see and recognize in dramas and also be able to discover their hidden musical talents. I believe the Voice of Stars was meant to help promote their current popular stars like Oscar Leung and Mandy Wong (who dropped very early in the competition), but I think TVB would never thought they would discover gems hidden within their company. I sincerely hope these artists will receive recognition and promotion from now on because they truly deserve it. Crossing my fingers for a second season to see more hidden talents at TVB.