By turns fashion designer, regional pop star, creator of musicals and composer of the much- loved National Day song, Home, Dick Lee celebrated his 40th anniversary in show business this year. And what a year it was.
The Cultural Medallion recipient returned as creative director for the National Day Parade, arguably the biggest entertainment spectacle in town. Lee, who helmed the parade in 2002 and 2010, earned kudos this time for staging an engaging and inclusive show, with the help of a creative team that included film-maker Boo Junfeng.
In addition, 40 years after releasing his first album, Life Story (1974), at the age of 18, he put out a two-disc collection of his greatest hits. These included Home (1998), Beauty World - the title song of the iconic 1988 musical which he composed - and Search Of My Life, written for the 1994 Leslie Cheung movie He's A Woman, She's A Man.
To top it all off, the bachelor was appointed creative director to the 50th anniversary edition of the National Day Parade and tasked to write the all-important theme song.
For his show business longevity - and for still managing to scale new peaks - Lee makes his debut on the Power List.
Reflecting on the past year, he says: "This has been one of the most remarkable years of my life. I'm still astounded at the offers of work that have come in in spite of my 'advancing years' and am humbled by the trust the industry still has in me."
The irony is that he was planning to slow down, work-wise. The death of fellow music veteran Iskandar Ismail from lung and brain cancer last month also reminded him of his own mortality.
He says: "As I am approaching 60, I have been thinking about beginning my winding-down process... but the opportunities that have materialised, along with the passing of Iskandar, have spurred me on to keep doing what I love doing."
This year, he formed a new company Dick Lee Entertainment, with plans to produce films, musicals and TV shows and groom new music talents.
Next year is set to be an even busier one. He has six musicals in the works here and in China, plus a gig at the Esplanade in September based on his acclaimed The Mad Chinaman album - which achieved platinum sales in the late 1980s on the strength of its then-novel mix of Western pop and Asian folk. He will also start work on a film based on his early years in the music industry.
This article was first published on Dec 14, 2014.
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