Hong Kong indie darling Yoyo Sham was not being angsty or negative when she titled her latest album Nothing Is Under Control.
“It reflects what I’ve been feeling and it’s not a pessimistic thing. Why do we want to control everything? Think about your perfect beach wedding – what if it rains? Or there’s a typhoon or there are flight delays?
You have to think about how much of your ideal you can control,” says Sham, who started her singing career doing backup vocals for Hong Kong singer Eason Chan.
Sham’s previous album was her debut release – 2015’s Here – which was lauded by critics and landed her a nomination for Best New Artiste at the 2016 Golden Melody Awards.
In the three years in between, Sham, a self-confessed perfectionist, has grown to be more forgiving of herself.
She says: “I used to get offstage and think only about what I did wrong. And then over time, I realised it’s weird that I’m so unhappy doing what I love for a living.
“Now, I accept that just because things can be better, doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.”
These realisations, her feelings and life experiences are all reflected in the new album.
“My first album had songs I wrote 10 years before. But everything in this album was written in the last three years, so it’s closer to what I am now. It’s like a diary or photographs that capture certain moments in my life,” says Sham in a phone interview from Hong Kong.
One such song is a duet with Chan, titled Just Another Day, that Sham wrote after witnessing a fatal car accident a few years ago.
She recounts: “I was hanging out at a performing venue and I was on the second floor when I heard this loud bang. I looked down and out the window and a girl, probably around my age, had been hit by a car.
“I didn’t know her. I felt like it could just as easily have been me standing there. I wrote the melody for the song then and completed it when I was doing this album.”
Chan, with whom she kept in contact after she debuted as a singer, was her only choice for a duet.
“I love him, he’s the best, he’s perfect,” Sham says. “He has such a big heart and his voice is so warm and it meant a lot to me that he was a part of my song.
“I can’t imagine someone else singing it. If he couldn’t do it, I would have probably filled his part with an instrument.”
When asked what she is hoping to do in the new year, Sham – who flew 67 times last year for work and performances – chuckles and says: “I’m going to give myself a break. I need to rest.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network