Singing was her calling
At 45, Kit is today a lot more than just a songbird. She also has actress, writer and entrepreneur added to her list of achievements. “My first time on stage was when I was 13 years old,” she reminisces. It was at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall for Raffles Girls’ School Night, her alma mater’s biggest annual event. “It was quite a jump in the deep end for a clueless teen!” she adds. She sang “Memory” from the Broadway classic Cats – no mean feat considering that the school’s biggest night included two evening shows and a matinee over a weekend. “I think I caught the performance or stage bug that first time. I was nervous, I literally felt my knees knocking against each other involuntarily, but I remember thinking how strange it was that all this shaking and loss of bodily control did not affect my vocal delivery.” She had found her calling.
Kit was discovered by music producer Billy Koh in 1989. Three years later, he signed on Kit, and her first album Do Not Destroy The Harmony was launched at the end of 1993. She was barely 20 at the time, and pursuing a diploma in Drama at LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts. She chose to quit her course to start her singing career. “My first contract was signed by my very reluctant mum, who was half-charmed and half-coerced into it, I suspect, by my producer,” she laughs. Kit did get back to LASALLE during her six-year hiatus from the music scene from 2004 to 2010, and graduated with honours.
Singing in Mandarin didn’t come easily
It is ironic that although it was her English performance that got her noticed, Kit found fame in Mandopop. “I always saw myself singing in English or as a ‘musical theatre person’,” she says, having listened mainly to English songs growing up.
“Much of the preparation and training to become a Mandopop singer was done in the recording studio. It was so painful to record each track,” she recalls. “I had to recite all the lyrics to make sure the diction was emotive and natural, before even attempting to sing them, and of course, when I listen again to them now, I totally cringe at how unnatural and ‘put-on’ it was!”
But, by the time it came to giving live performances, she was a pro – fans in Hong Kong and Taiwan will concur, and her hits such as “Heartache” and “Liking You” stand testament.
Kit has come a long way from that young person who was completely in the charge of her record company. She’s found success, but has also had her fair share of failures, disappointments and heartbreaks and the negative publicity that comes part and parcel with showbiz. But she has successfully warded off all those with what she calls her personal “mind filter”. “I have always had on a filter in my head. I don’t let a lot of what people say get through that filter if I detect malice, or insincerity or hypocrisy,” she says. That said, she has no regrets, saying there’s nothing in her life that she would have done differently.