Kit Chan breezes into the studio for our cover shoot, dressed in faded blue jeans, a crisp white shirt and flats. “This is my uniform,” she says, as if reading my thoughts. “I actually feel most attractive in this. On stage, I am always in gowns and extremely done-up hair. I feel extremely unnatural,” she adds, professing that she’s not a dress-up kind of girl. But that in no way means she doesn’t care about what she’s going to wear. She leafs through the different looks laid out for her, with a careful and curated eye. There’s a friendly curiosity about her, she is chatty, approachable, yet decidedly assertive. But all these different sides of her morph into one in front of the camera. She becomes sultry, seductive and mysterious, all at once.
It’s a year of anniversaries
It’s a big year for Kit – 2018 marks 25 years of her career as a singing star, and she’s celebrating with a brand new concert — 25 Years On: A Time For Everything. The two-night concert is jointly organised by KKBOX and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, and will be held at the iconic Esplanade Theatre on 9th and 10th November 2018. Tickets will go on sale on September 7 via esplanade.com/kitchan.
She also has a new album scheduled to release this year. At press time, she was not able to reveal much of the details. “I can’t yet tell you the name, what I can tell you is that it has mainly Chinese songs, with one English and one Cantonese song thrown into the mix as is my practice,” says Kit.
It’s also the 20th anniversary of Singapore’s unofficial national anthem, “Home”. Who can forget Kit’s soulful rendition of Dick Lee’s song? She was the first solo artist to perform at the National Day Parade in 1998, and it immediately made Kit, then 25, the darling of every Singaporean household. And the song, one of the most popular NDP songs ever.
“Home” holds a special place in her heart
When Kit was approached with the opportunity to sing the song, Kit was already an established singer in Taiwan and Hong Kong, yet “Home” remains her personal and career favourite. “It is a song that is so simple and plain, and I think it worked because Dick Lee (the songwriter) and I were living away from Singapore to pursue our music careers. But the longing for home was there, and feelings and emotions are ultimately what give life to a composition,” she says.
Being back in Singapore for a few years now has not changed that feeling, Kit still feels a sense of pride whenever she hears the song being sung. But she claims to have also developed a detached attachment towards it. “Over the years, I feel it no longer belongs to me, but to Singaporeans,” she explains. “Any Singaporean living anywhere can just pick up this song, and sing it, and they can own it.”
Neither Dick nor Kit expected the song to become so well-loved. “So, no, nothing was going through my mind, except that I had to do the job well. Everything is such a struggle when you are young. That is why age doesn’t bother me at all. I’m relieved to be older,” she laughs.