Mavis Hee: Recording Moonlight in the City in the '90s was 'like first love'

Mavis Hee: Recording Moonlight in the City in the '90s was 'like first love'
PHOTO: Disney+ Singapore

When it comes to local songs, almost none can rival the popularity of Home. After all, it's sung by our national treasure Kit Chan and reminds people of what they love about Singapore.

Its popularity has withstood the test of time since its release in 1998, which is a big indication of how much of a timeless classic it is.

However, there is one other song that can give Home a run for its money and though it may not be played annually on National Day, it still holds a special place in our hearts.

And that would be Moonlight in the City, sung by local songbird Mavis Hee.

It started off as the theme song of the 1996 Channel 8 drama Tofu Street, but has gone on to captivate the hearts and minds of Singaporeans and people in the region. In fact, it has been covered by Taiwanese girl group S.H.E., Taiwanese singers Tank and Jam Hsiao, and local singer Joanna Dong.


Now, 47-year-old Mavis is back with a special rendition of the iconic Mandarin ballad as part of the Stories from the Heart of Asia campaign by Disney+.

In an interview with AsiaOne on Dec 29, Mavis admitted that neither she nor her company expected the song to be such a big hit.

She said: "I think the beautiful lyrics and melody, written by the producer (Chen Jiaming), touch people dearly. Hence its popularity."

Mavis also didn't think too much about how she was going to approach the song when she first recorded it more than 20 years ago. A surprise, considering how many people related to it on an emotional level.

"When I first recorded this song, I probably didn't ask too many questions regarding the song, about how I was going to interweave the emotions or how I see myself as this person singing or living this life singing the song. Probably it was like first love, you don't know what to expect," she shared.

"It was tough then as I didn't expect to be a singer and I was still getting used to it. With endless and continuous work, it took a lot of physical effort. There was not enough time to rest. For someone in her early twenties, I would say that it was kind of tough."

The song holds different meanings for different people and Mavis is no exception as well.

For her, being able to perform Moonlight in the City "as a Chinese person" allows her to feel "more in touch with my roots" as the song is about a reunion and a person's feelings for their loved ones.

She added: "It also warms my heart when non-Chinese people tell me they like the song too!"

And, the singer is grateful to have the opportunity to revisit this song more than 20 years later.

"Being able to share a new version of Moonlight in the City means a lot to me since the song debuted when I was in my twenties. Now, in my mid-forties... it's more meaningful recording this song as we have been through more experiences in life. I feel very grateful for that."


If this new rendition is making you yearn for more Mavis then you won't have to wait long as she's got some projects in the pipeline.

When asked about her upcoming projects, she said: "Probably a single or a compilation album. There is a plan to tour China in 2022 and some commercial engagements as well. I'll continue with songwriting and I hope to share the new songs soon!"

Stories from the Heart of Asia is a celebration of the expanded slate of Asian entertainment content on Disney+ which now include shows such as Number 1, Precious is the Night, Blackpink The Movie and Snowdrop.

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