Anita Mui

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Anita Mui
AnitaMuiFinalConcert2.jpg
Anita Mui at the "Anita Classic Moment Live 2003" concert in the Hong Kong Coliseum.
Chinese name梅艷芳 (traditional)
JyutpingMui4 Jim6-fong1 (Cantonese)
Born(1963-10-10)10 October 1963[1]
Hong Kong[2]
Died30 December 2003(2003-12-30) (aged 40)[3]
Hong Kong
(cervical cancer)
Resting placeTian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Other name(s)
  • 阿梅 (Ah Mui)
  • 梅姐 (Mui Je; lit. Big Sister Mui)
  • 何加男 (Karen Ho)
OccupationSinger, actress
Genre(s)Cantopop
Instrument(s)Vocals
Voice type(s)Contralto[4][5]
Label(s)
Years active1982–2003
Partner(s)
ParentsTam Mei-kam (mother)
InfluencedGrasshopper, Andy Hui, Denise Ho, Patrick Tam, Edmond Leung, Eason Chan, William So
 
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Anita Mui
AnitaMuiFinalConcert2.jpg
Anita Mui at the "Anita Classic Moment Live 2003" concert in the Hong Kong Coliseum.
Chinese name梅艷芳 (traditional)
JyutpingMui4 Jim6-fong1 (Cantonese)
Born(1963-10-10)10 October 1963[1]
Hong Kong[2]
Died30 December 2003(2003-12-30) (aged 40)[3]
Hong Kong
(cervical cancer)
Resting placeTian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Other name(s)
  • 阿梅 (Ah Mui)
  • 梅姐 (Mui Je; lit. Big Sister Mui)
  • 何加男 (Karen Ho)
OccupationSinger, actress
Genre(s)Cantopop
Instrument(s)Vocals
Voice type(s)Contralto[4][5]
Label(s)
Years active1982–2003
Partner(s)
ParentsTam Mei-kam (mother)
InfluencedGrasshopper, Andy Hui, Denise Ho, Patrick Tam, Edmond Leung, Eason Chan, William So

Anita Mui Yim-fong (10 October 1963 – 30 December 2003) was a Hong Kong singer and actress. During her prime years, Mui made major contributions to the Cantopop music scene while receiving numerous awards and honours. She remained an idol throughout most of her career, and was generally regarded as a Cantopop diva.[3] Mui once held a sold-out concert in Hammersmith, London, England, where she was dubbed the "Madonna of Asia (東方麥當娜)" and brought her to further international fame.[2] That title has stayed with her throughout her career, and has been used as a comparison for both Eastern and Western media.[6][7][8]

In the 1980s, the gangtai style of music was revolutionised by Mui's wild dancing and on-stage femininity.[9] She was famed for her outrageous costumes and high-power performances in combination with contralto vocals, which are rare in female artists.[4] Her fan base reached far beyond Hong Kong into many parts of Asia, including Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia, and other countries as well. In the Hong Kong entertainment industry, where stars often rise and fall quickly, Mui remained in the spotlight for 21 years (1982-2003). Her career came to a halt in 2003 when she announced that she had cervical cancer, and she died later that year at the age of 40.[3][7] Mui's continuing commemoration by the Hong Kong entertainment industry was due not only to her music and film legacies, but also her involvement in charity and humanitarian work.

Career[edit]

1963–78: Early years[edit]

Mui experienced much hardship in her childhood. She was the youngest daughter in a family of four children.[7] Her elder sister, Ann Mui, was also a singer. The children were raised in a single parent family. In some of her interviews, Mui mentioned that she had never met her father. This meant that she had to help provide for her siblings at an early age, dropping out of school at the age of 13 or 14. More hardship followed the family when the bar that her mother ran was destroyed by a fire.[2] To make a living, Mui entered the show business at around the age of four.[6][10] She performed Chinese operas and pop songs in theatres and on the streets.[6][10] Both Mui and her elder sister Ann performed in practically any nightclub that offered them a chance to make a living.[2] At the age of 15, due to the frequency of performances at different venues (up to six venues per day) that she had, her voice was affected due to the development of nodules (聲帶生繭) on her vocal chords. Following the advice of the doctor, she took a year off and to keep herself occupied, she attended art lessons with her cousin. After a year, she started performing again despite the change in her vocal range, which lowered her voice by an octave (eight keys). Her newly found distinctive voice became an important trademark in her entire career.

1982–89; 1994–2003: Music[edit]

In 1982, as encouraged by her sister, Mui competed in the first New Talent Singing Awards. It was the New Talent Singing Awards where Mui got a big break by emerging champion with the song "The Windy Season" (風的季節) originally sang by Paula Tsui, beating over 3,000 contestants.[10][11] Despite her title as "new talent" at that time, she had already been a singer for more than 10 years from street and club performances during her childhood.[12]

As an award to winning the New Talent contest at the time, Mui's first album was released with the local record company Capital Artists.[12] Her debut album Debt Heart (心債) drew a lukewarm response from the audience. However, the subsequent album fared much better, as she developed her personal style and image. In 1983 and 1984, she won the RTHK Top 10 Gold Songs award back to back.[13][14] Her winning streak continued as she won another major award in 1985, her first top 10 Jade Solid Gold Best Female Singer award.[15] Thereafter, she won the award every year until 1989.[16][17][18][19] She was awarded the Gold Songs Gold Awards (金曲金獎) in 1989 for the song Sunset Melody (夕陽之歌), which became one of her signature songs throughout her career.[20]

Mui released 50 albums in total.[21] Her best selling album was the 1985 "Bad Girl" (壞女孩), which sold over 400,000 copies (platinum 8x by Hong Kong's standards).[12] In her career, she sold 10 million albums.[6][10] Hong Kong had a population of about only five million in the 1980s.[citation needed]

In terms of live performances, in 1985, at the age of 21, her first concert was held lasting 15 nights (thus being one of the youngest singers to hold a concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum). Beginning in late 1987, a series of 28 consecutive concerts at the Coliseum were held through early 1988. This established a record at the time and dubbed Mui the title of "Ever Changing Anita Mui" (百變梅艷芳), which had become her trademark.[22] Her popularity was also gaining prominence outside of Hong Kong, as she was invited to sing at the 1988 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Seoul together with Janet Jackson.[23] She performed in 300 concerts in her career.[6][10]

In 1990, during the birthday celebration with the fan club, Mui announced that she would put an end to receiving music awards to give a chance to newcomers. She held farewell concerts for 33 consecutive nights before retiring from the stage. At the age of 28, she stepped down from the industry, only to return from retirement in 1994.[24] Mui mentored several Hong Kong newcomer singers who have since become successful, most notably Andy Hui, Denise Ho, Edmond Leung, the band Grasshopper, as well as Patrick Tam.[12] In 1998, at the age of 35, she was awarded the RTHK Golden Needle Award, being one of the youngest recipient to received the award as a lifetime achievement.[25]

Mui's star on the Avenue of Stars

1983–2002: Acting[edit]

Mui was also well known as an actress across Asia. As she starred in more than 40 films over a 20 year period.[26] Her films were mainly of the action-thriller and martial arts variety, but she had also taken comedic and dramatic roles. Her first acting award as a supporting actress was won at the Hong Kong Film Awards for her performance in Behind the Yellow Line (1984). Three years later in 1987, her performance in Rouge won her the Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards.[7] In 1989, she was awarded the Best Actress for her role in Rouge at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

In 1993, she starred in The Heroic Trio with Michelle Yeoh and Maggie Cheung, and it proved to be one of her most popular action films. In 1995, she found some international recognition by starring opposite Jackie Chan in Rumble in the Bronx.[2]

Later, in 1997, she also won another best supporting actress at Hong Kong Film Award for her role in Eighteen Springs. In 2002, she won Best Actress at the Changchun Film Festival Golden Deer Awards for Best Actress with her performance in July Rhapsody.[27] Her ability to successfully play a wide range of roles from comedy to tragedy allowed her to star in many lead roles.

Mui was originally cast in Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers (2004), but she resigned only two weeks before her death. Zhang had reserved her scenes to be shot last due to her poor health.[28] Out of respect for Mui, Zhang did not cast another actress in the role and the character was removed from the screenplay. She received a dedication titled In Memory of Anita Mui (謹以此電影緬懷梅艷芳小姐) during the closing credits.[28]

Throughout her career, the tabloid magazines were unforgiving. Rumours never ceased to plague Mui, who was accused of being addicted to drugs, having tattoos on her arms, going for plastic surgery, being suicidal, being linked to the death of a triad leader in the 80s and 90s.[12] Rumours of affairs with leading actors also circulated.[2]

1992–2003: Community work[edit]

Mui was actively involved in charitable projects throughout her career. According to the posthumous memoirs of democracy activist Szeto Wah, Mui lent significant financial and material support to Operation Yellowbird, to help activists flee from China after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[29] The Tibetan red-crown Shamar Rinpoche once said "She had a true heart. She was an unconventional woman and brought happiness to lots of people during her life."[6][10] Her establishment of a nursing home in San Francisco, prompted the mayor of the city in 1992 to name 18 April as "Anita Mui Day".[2] In 1993, she established the "Anita Mui True Heart Charity Foundation" (梅艷芳四海一心基金會). That same year, she was also one of the founders of the Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild.[12][30] Toronto declared 23 October 1993 to be "Anita Mui Day".[31]

One of the care centres established by Mui.

During the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, she initiated a fund raising concert titled the 1:99 Concert to raise money for SARS-affected families.[7] She was also awarded the "Fighting Against SARS Award" from RTHK and the newspaper Ming Pao.[30]

In 2003, she wrote and published the book The Heart of the Modern Woman (現代女人心). Profits from the book went to the Children's Cancer Foundation.[8]

On 23 September 2004, the "Anita Mui True Heart Digital Multimedia Studio" was opened at the University of Hong Kong. It included state of the art equipment for digital audio and video editing.[32] In Causeway Bay, an Anita Mui-themed cafe called "Happiness Moon" (囍月) is also dedicated to her legacy.[33]

Death and legacy[edit]

On 5 September 2003, Mui publicly announced that she had cervical cancer, from which her sister had also died.[3][10] It was widely believed that she had chosen holistic health treatments rather than surgical therapy because she wanted to preserve the possibility to conceive. Knowing that she would succumb to cancer, she had a series of shows entitled the "Anita Classic Moment Live Concert" that consisted of eight shows at the Hong Kong Coliseum from 6 to 11 November and 14 to 15 November 2003, which were to be her last concerts before her death.[12] Guests included Jacky Cheung, Sandy Lam, David Tao, Eason Chan, Andy Hui, Alan Tam, George Lam, Hacken Lee, Grasshopper (band) and Kelly Chen.[34] Her symbolic act was to "marry the stage", which was accompanied by her hit song "Sunset Melody" (夕陽之歌) as she exited the stage. The very last song she performed on stage was "Cherish When We Meet Again" (珍惜再會時), a rendition of The Manhattans' "Let's Just Kiss And Say Goodbye" on 15 November 2003, where she was accompanied by her friends on the stage. She eventually lost her battle to cervical cancer and died of respiratory complications leading to lung failure at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital on 30 December 2003 at 02:50 (HK local time).[3][7][8] She was 40 years old.[10] Thousands of fans turned out for her funeral at North Point in January 2004.[6][10]

In 1998, an ATV-produced television series Forever Love Song told a story of a character which was loosely based on that of Mui, but the character names were purposely changed. In 2007, a television series was produced in China titled "Anita Mui Fei" (梅艷芳菲) to tell the many dramas in her life. The 42 episode series was broadcast by China Education Television. Her friends Andy Lau and Leslie Cheung were also portrayed in the series, though some of the sensitive subjects such as her suffering of cancer, Cheung's suicide and her mother's real estate dilemma were avoided.[35] Alice Chan (陳煒) portrayed Mui in the series.[36]

On 11 October 2008, a show on TVB, titled "Our Anita Mui" (我們的梅艷芳), was dedicated to Mui. Many fans and off-stage personnel who worked with her had a chance to talk about their personal experiences with Mui. Singers who participated in the show included Andy Hui, Edmond Leung and Stephanie Cheng.[37][38] Mui was cremated and her ashes are interred at the Po Lin Monastery's mausoleum on Lantau Island.

Will[edit]

In her will, Mui bequeathed two properties to her fashion designer, and the remainder to the Karen Trust – a trust she had set up and looked after by HSBC International Trustees. Its beneficiaries included her mother, Tam Mei-kam, and four nieces and nephews. The Karen Trust provided Tam with a life tenancy of HK$70,000 per month; upon Tam's death, the estate would go to the New Horizon Buddhist Association absolutely.[39]

In 2005, Tam received a HK$705,000 lump-sum payment from the trust in May. She applied for and obtained a hardship grant to pay for medical expenditure of $50,000 in December; her application for funds from the estate to challenge the will was denied.[40] In 2008, Mui's estate was estimated to be worth HK$100 million. Tam Mei-kam contested the will, arguing that Mui was mentally unfit when she executed her will in 2003, weeks before her death. The High Court ruled that Mui was of sound mind when she signed the will, and that she simply did not trust her mother with money.[3][41] Through the years, Tam mounted several legal challenges to the will, and succeeded in having the life tenancy varied to $120,000.[41][42] Tam was reportedly owing $2 million in legal costs in 2011.[39] A fresh appeal by Tam and Mui's elder brother Peter Mui failed at the Court of Final Appeal in May 2011.[42] After that challenge, the Court of First Instance of Hong Kong declared Tam bankrupt on 25 April 2012 for failing to pay legal fees, whilst allowing her to continue receiving her monthly allowance.[43] In January 2013, the court ruled that the monthly tenancy of $120,000 to Tam, suspended since the previous July, would continue to be frozen due to mounting debts of the estate.[44] Mui's brother was declared bankrupt on 17 January 2013 for failing to pay legal fees relating to the appeals.[45] In May 2013, the court ordered the estate to pay Tam HK$20,000 a month for her living costs, as well as $240,000 to settle her overdue rent.[46]

Incidents[edit]

Canadian citizenship[edit]

Mui moved to Canada in the 1990s and lived there for two years and was granted landed immigrant status. However, her constant absence from Canada resulted in her status being revoked.

Banning of "Bad Girl" in Guangzhou[edit]

In 1995, Mui performed the song "Bad Girl" (壞女孩) in Guangzhou, China, where it was banned[9][47] because it was considered pornographic in nature.[9] The government authorities in Guangzhou were infuriated when she chose to sing the song on the last day of her concert.[47]

Discography[edit]

Usually, English translations of Chinese titles from AnitaMuiNet.com are used.[48] However, some English titles are different from the website, and some other albums are romanized in case that accurate translation may not be possible.

Studio albums[edit]

Cantonese[edit]

Capital Artists Ltd.
Go East Entertainment Co. Ltd.

Japanese[edit]

English titles are official English titles used by record labels for below releases.

Express (part of EMI Japan)

Mandarin[edit]

Rock Records
Other record labels
Anita Music Collection Ltd.

Concert albums[edit]

Capital Artists Ltd.
Music Impact Ltd.
Music Nation Records Company Ltd.

Compilations[edit]

Compilations that were released after 2004 are not listed here.

Capital Artists Ltd. (Cantonese)

Other record labels

Tour setlists[edit]

Awards[edit]

Concert Tours/Specials[edit]

YearNative nameEnglish NameReleased Formats
1985–1986梅艷芳盡顯光華演唱會Anita Mui in Concert '85television broadcast
1987–1988百變梅艷芳再展光華演唱會Anita Mui in Concert 87–88LD/CD/VHS
1990百變梅艷芳夏日耀光華演唱會Anita Mui in Concert '90LD/CD
1991–1992百變梅艷芳告別舞台演唱會Anita Mui Final ConcertVHS (limited edition)/DVD/VCD
1994情歸何處II梅艷芳感激歌迷演唱會Anita Mui Appreciating the Fans ConcertTV broadcast only
1995梅艷芳一個美麗的回嚮演唱會Anita Mui in Concert '95LD/CD/VCD
1999百變梅艷芳演唱會1999 / 百變梅艷芳演唱會1999延續篇Anita Mui in Concert 1999 / Anita Mui in Concert 1999 Part 2Not released
2001梅艷芳 Mui Music ShowAnita Mui Mui Music ShowRadio / TV broadcast only
2002梅艷芳極夢幻演唱會Anita Mui Fantasy Gig 2002CD/DVD/VCD
2003梅艷芳經典金曲演唱會Anita Classic Moment LiveCD/DVD/VCD

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Chinese) Sina.hk. "Sina.hk." 梅艷芳 focus. Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g UK telegraph. "UK telegraph." Anita Mui. Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Standard HK. ""Anita Mui's Mom loses court fight over $100m estate", The Standard, Retrieved on 14 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Farewell to Hong Kong's Sour Beauty". Time Magazine. 2004-01-04. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  5. ^ Anita Mui singing Danny Chan's Waiting in its original key with the lowest A2 note
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Lexisnexis. "Lexisnexis." Star with a 'true heart' brought happiness to thousands of fans. Retrieved on 23 June 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d e f People Daily. "People Daily." The legend of Anita Mui: Shining star's lonely life. Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  8. ^ a b c Thestar. "Thestar." Anita Mui, 40: Singer called Chinese Madonna. Retrieved on 19 June 2008.
  9. ^ a b c Baranovitch, Nimrod. China's New Voices. University of California press. ISBN 0-520-23450-2. pg 164.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i SCMP. "SCMP." Star with a 'true heart' brought happiness to thousands of fans. Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  11. ^ Broughton, Simon. Ellingham, Mark. Trillo, Richard. 2000 World Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides Publishing Company. ISBN 1-85828-636-0.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g HKVPradio. "HKPVradio." Anita Mui: Number One and Only . Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  13. ^ "RTHK award 1983." RTHK. Retrieved on 14 July 2008.
  14. ^ RTHK. "RTHK award 1984." RTHK. Retrieved on 14 July 2008.
  15. ^ TVB. "ten songs award 1985". Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  16. ^ TVB. "ten songs award 1986". Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  17. ^ TVB. "ten songs award 1987". Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  18. ^ TVB. "ten songs award 1988". Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  19. ^ TVB. "ten songs award 1989". Retrieved on 5 July 2008.
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ "Thousands say farewell to a superstar"." South China Morning Post. Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  22. ^ CNN. "Cancer claims Canto-pop diva Mui." CNN. Retrieved on 19 June 2008.
  23. ^ (Chinese) Anitamuinet.com "Anitamuinet." 封面女郎 1988 section. Retrieved on 21 June 2008.
  24. ^ SCMP. "SCMP." Actresses hit wrong note in a year of off-key performances. Retrieved on 17 June 2008.
  25. ^ (Chinese) RTHK. "RTHK." 歷年十大中文金曲頒獎音樂會. Retrieved on 27 June 2008.
  26. ^ Chinadaily. "Chinadaily." HK pop diva Anita Mui dies of cancer. Retrieved on 14 July 2008
  27. ^ Hanban.edu. "Hanban.edu." Film Festival Closes in Northeast China. Retrieved on 19 June 2008.
  28. ^ a b Lovehkfilm.com. "Lovehkfilm.com." House of Flying dagger review. Retrieved on 19 June 2008.
  29. ^ Lee, Diana and Wong, Natalie (12 July 2011) "Stars who played their part". The Standard
  30. ^ a b HKpag. "Hong Kong performing artistes guild." Profile. Retrieved on 23 June 2008.
  31. ^ TVB. Our Anita Mui (我們的梅艷芳).
  32. ^ Hong Kong university. "Hong Kong university." A Star's Legacy to HKU Students. Retrieved on 23 June 2008.
  33. ^ (Chinese) Kwongwah e-newspaper. "Kwongwah e-newspaper." 香江懷舊情. Retrieved on 23 June 2008.
  34. ^ Yesasia.com. "Yesasia.com." Anita Classic Moment Live Karaoke (DVD) . Retrieved on 23 June 2008.
  35. ^ (Chinese) Sina. "Sina entertainment." 梅艳芳传记北京悄然开播 负面内容一概不提. Retrieved on 4 July 2008.
  36. ^ (Chinese) Xinhuanet. "Xinhuanet." 梅艷芳菲. Retrieved on 4 July 2008.
  37. ^ Paper.wenweipo. "Wenweipo.com." 《我們的梅艷芳》特輯 下月11日播出. Retrieved on 1 November 2008.
  38. ^ Sina.com. "Sina.com." 許志安梁漢文等出席梅艷芳紀念特輯錄制活動. Retrieved on 1 November 2008.
  39. ^ a b Man, Joyce (10 May 2011)."Anita Mui's mother loses battle over will", South China Morning Post
  40. ^ Gentle, Nick (Dec 23, 2005), "Anita Mui's mother, 82, wins special will payout", South China Morning Post
  41. ^ a b "Diva’s mum denied cash". Taipei Times (3 April 2009).
  42. ^ a b "Anita Mui's millions to stay in trust fund after mother loses court appeal", (10 May 2011), Channel News Asia (Singapore)
  43. ^ "梅媽被正式頒令破產". 新浪(明報). 2012-04-26. 
  44. ^ Chiu, Austin (5 January 2013). "Anita Mui's mother hurls shoes at lawyer". South China Morning Post.
  45. ^ "梅啟明破產 揚言跳樓". Sharp Daily. 18 January 2013. 
  46. ^ Chan, Thomas (15 May 2013). "Pop diva Anita Mui's mother to get allowance from trust". South China Morning Post.
  47. ^ a b Straitstimes. "Straitstimes, orig date 29 May 2000. Archived by Asiaone.com." Did China over-react with A-mei ban?. Retrieved on 6 July 2008.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k (Chinese) Anitamuinet.com. "Anitamuinet.com." Booklet found in the Capital Artist - Anita Mui Memorial Stamp Collection and Inside Cover of Tribute to Anita Mui 梅 憶錄 CD Collection. Retrieved on 2008-06-17.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
None
Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
1985
for Behind the Yellow Line
Succeeded by
Deannie Yip
for My Name Ain't Suzie
Preceded by
Sylvia Chang
Golden Horse Awards for Best Actress
1987
for Rouge
Succeeded by
Carol Cheng
Preceded by
Josephine Siao
for The Wrong Couples
Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress
1989
for Rouge
Succeeded by
Maggie Cheung
for A Fishy Story
Preceded by
Shu Qi
for Viva Erotica
Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
1998
for Eighteen Springs
Succeeded by
Shu Qi
for Portland Street Blues
Preceded by
Alan Tam
Golden Needle Award
1998
Succeeded by
Leslie Cheung
Preceded by
Cho Tat Wah, Shek Kin
Professional Spirit Award
2004
Succeeded by
Jackie Chan, Yu Mo Wan