Hello to all our loyal readers, and welcome to all our new readers! It’s been some time since we last posted an interview, but we assure you, it has been worth the wait! Again, thank you for all your love and support for R.C. Without further ado, we present our exclusive interview with YouTube stars-turned rising Cantopop stars and singing duo, Robynn & Kendy!
Robynn & Kendy (comprised of both Robynn Yip, born August 30/1986; and Kendy Suen, born March 10/1986), are two former YouTube singer-songwriters who were signed as a duo by Universal Music HK in early 2012. The pair have been making headlines as a rising force in the Cantopop (C-pop) music scene! With their simple, honest and laid back musical style, the pair have brought a fresh breath of air to this music scene. Currently, the pair is promoting their newest release – their second album called “Dear Diary”, and while in the midst of local promotions, they took some time to answer questions for our readers! Enjoy!
For those who aren’t familiar with who you are, please introduce yourself briefly.
Hi everyone! We are a singing-songwriting duo from Hong Kong, and our group name is simply our own names put together: Robynn & Kendy. We started off covering songs on Youtube, and in January of 2012 we signed officially with Universal Music Hong Kong. So far we’ve released two albums already!
How did you guys meet originally? And what prompted the both of you to start writing music together and make a joint YouTube account?
We first met through a mutual friend. The first time we met we were jamming music in a band room, and neither of us really knew how much could come of that encounter. But it just felt very comfortable and “right” making music together, so we kept meeting and we became good friends really quickly. We just decided to make a joint account on Youtube because we simply wanted to make youtube videos together, and we wanted to join forces to make higher quality videos.
What was your initial reaction when you were signed to Universal HK?
Nervous, and then excited. We didn’t know really what to expect, and we were nervous about how different things would be, but it turned out okay.
Robynn, as you may recall, I first discovered you and interviewed you back in 2010 after you had won the Hummingbird Music Brand New Star contest. What is the one thing you can say has changed the most since that interview we did?
I’d say I’m more confident about my work as I’ve definitely improved as a musician since then. But I do know that there’s still a lot more to work on in terms of my musicality, technical skills, vocal skills etc. Will keep on working hard!
Kendy, you’ve done some stuff with East Asia Music prior to making your major label debut. What has that experience been like?
I was a freelance writer with East Asia Music while I was still working full time back in London. If I hadn’t had the chance to work with East Asia Music, I definitely would not have been where I am now. They also helped me release my first demo as the theme song of the movie ‘Love in a puff’ starring Miriam Yeung.
What is the one thing you can both say helps you to really bond as artists, aside from your love of music?
Friendship, mutual appreciation & trust. Tough to narrow them down to one.
As a duo, you girls got lots of media attention since before your debut and won several major accolades and awards after debuting. Briefly tell the readers what sort of awards you were given and your response to each of these honours you were presented with.
We got a few newcomer awards and original song awards for our debut year from various radio stations in Hong Kong and even in Mainland China. It’s very reassuring to have these awards, but in essence we still gotta keep going because we simply enjoy what we do. Love from our fans and the inspiration they get through our music is still the best award of all.
How did each of you get into music originally? And what kind of musical background do you have?
R: I was a part of an a cappella goup in college, and I enjoyed arranging acappella music, directing, organizing events and recruiting new members. I’ve always liked singing but only started solo singing in college. I took piano lessons as a child and picked up the guitar very casually when i was a teenager, and slowly in college I started playing it more.
K: I bought a guitar when I just started schooling in the UK. I started playing and singing with my guitar first in my dorm room. Then slowly I got more performances on stage in schools, open mic bars, and to street busking. I have always liked singing and learning to play the guitar gives me the opportunity to sing anywhere.
Both of you graduated from noted programs at your respective universities. How did you come to the decision to pursue music full-time?
R: I kind of fell into it… took it a step at a time, from posting videos myself to making them with Kendy and signing with a label, it all happened without too much of an agenda. I just did what I loved and did what I felt like doing.
K: I’ve always had music as my no.1 hobby. One day when I felt I was really bored at work in the office and was frustrated where all life was heading, I saw an advertisement online on a songwriting competition. I took part in it without thinking too much and to my surprise, I got an award for it and also got to know a few more people in the industry. That’s how it all started.
How supportive have your families been since you decided to go on this career path?
R: My family was very supportive so I’m very grateful!
K: They were quite worried in the beginning as everyone knows doing music doesn’t guarantee any salary. But I’ve always said to them I am still young to explore life and fulfill my passion. I am really lucky to have such understanding and caring parents.
If the opportunity was given to you, would you girls consider an international/US debut?
I’m sure that would be a lot of singers’ dream. We’d just like to take it one step at a time, we wouldn’t want to take up more than what we could handle. We are already very blessed.
Have you performed outside of HK/China/Taiwan yet? And if not, where would you like to go next to perform?
We have not performed in Taiwan as a duo before. That would be amazing.
You guys just released an EP called “Dear Diary”. Do you think that fans’ expectations grew even higher after the release of your self-titled debut album?
Our album Dear Diary is definitely a step up from our debut album. I would say, there are more musical elements and genres within the songs, and while I do think fans’ expectations grew, so did ours, if not more so. But most of all we wanted the album to have a unified theme, and that is to stay positive, to embrace your inner beauty, embrace who you are, and believe in yourself and what you can offer to the world, because anybody, no matter who they are or where they come from, can shine for those around them if they choose to do so.
Name any artist you would like to collaborate with, and why.
Too many to name! I think you can learn something from anyone who has been in the industry, esp those who write songs and play instruments.
As far as music is concerned, who do you look up to as inspiration?
We both look up to a lot of singer songwriters who stay true to themselves and to who they are.
R: I really look up to Adele. I love her honesty, and I love the fact that she doesn’t feel the need to go with the crowd and be thin. Beauty lies from within her and it shines through when she sings. That’s really admirable.
K: I like Adele too for the same reasons. I also really like Sandy Lin. She has an amazing and versatile voice. And she may not be the conventional beauty but yet she is so beautiful inside out.
What are your five most played songs on your iPod currently?
R: My own demos… I’ve been really trying to write more songs recently.
K: Adele – Skyfall; Chet Lam – Mirror Says; John Mayer – Shadow Days; Athlete- Half Light; Ingrid Michaelson – I’m Through
What do you do for fun when you have some time to spare?
R: I like to run, I like photography, I like traveling, and I like writing. I am cherishing my time more with my friends, having meals with them etc. despite being busy a lot of times with work.
K: I like badminton, running, eating (a lot!) and cooking. I like watching movies and just walking around nice parts of Hong Kong. I also like having a good laugh with good friends and just being silly.
Name one recent guilty pleasure…it can be anything!
R: Scramble with friends.
K: Sleeping. I have been catching up on all my sleep debts.
Name one thing that fans may not know about you already.
R: I cannot do body massages/foot massages because I’m extremely ticklish.
K: I used to be a dancer in the style of hip hop, funk and locking and was the president of the dance society back in university.
Any final words for the readers?
We could end with one quote we recently really like, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Stay strong, and keep smiling!
A big thank you goes out to both Universal Music HK, and to Robynn and Kendy themselves for taking the time to do this interview with us! The girls have grown so much as artists, and we’re excited to see what the future brings them next! Until next time readers, that was a rhythm.connection exclusive!