SETTING THE TONE
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia|February 2021
Multi-hyphenate Henry Lau sets the tone for the year ahead.
Asaph Low
Scrolling through Henry Lau’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, one cannot help but marvel at the joie de vivre they exude. Not to be a wet blanket but we are still living at the height of the pandemic even as we bade goodbye to one of the worst years the current generation has seen. Lau’s energy and positive vibes are infectious but more importantly, it feels authentic. Perhaps that is the charm of Canadian-born multi-hyphenate Henry Lau, mononymously referred to as Henry.

“First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year! I learned that no matter what troubles or issues you face, you have to stay positive,” shares Henry on the biggest takeaway from 2020. “By staying positive, you will think of solutions or even other roads to take that may actually lead to better outcomes. No matter what, look forward and never give up!”

To say 2020 was a tough year is an understatement to the harsh realities it brought forth as many livelihoods changed overnight. Yet one of the enduring human spirits is the ability to persevere and as the world heralded in a new year, a longing for new beginnings, renewed hope and refreshed resolutions started to ring clearer than ever before.

“I think 2020 was a year I reflected a lot and learned more about myself. I was not travelling as much and was able to work very closely with my team to produce an album which really reflected my musical journey so far.”

“I found more of my identity and more of who I am over the last year. I want to focus as much as I can on creating good music and content in 2021, and to find new ways to connect closer with my fans all around the world.”

Born of Chinese-descent and without a command of Mandarin or Korean, Henry was put through the paces by SM Entertainment after his signing in 2006. Henry’s rise to stardom was set in motion in 2008 when he made his debut as a member of Super Junior-M, the Chinese sub-group of Super Junior. However, his career trajectory altered as the Korean entertainment mogul announced that Henry will make his solo debut in May 2013, becoming SM Entertainment’s first solo male artist in 13 years to do so.

Henry has since left SM Entertainment upon completion of his contract in 2018. That same year, he joined Monster Entertainment Group, an agency based in South Korea founded by his brother, to build his solo brand globally. November 2020 marked the release of Henry’s newest album, “JOURNEY” – one that is symbolic of his career thus far.

“My team and I crafted a musical story through these six tracks which really showcases who I am up until now. JOURNEY tells a story about love, friendship, hardships, and a story of being true to yourself. Ultimately, it’s a story about progression and always moving forward.”

“But I think this album goes beyond me. I feel the message is very relatable with the world, especially now,” says Henry, citing the unprecedented times we live in currently. “I feel the album has a healing effect not just for me, but many of my listeners. I was actually quite surprised when the Director-General of the World Health Organization tweeted and shared my album with the world on social media!”

Out of the five tracks – discounting the instrumental – Henry recounts “Radio” as the closest to his heart. “Initially I wanted to write a song to encourage people as the world was facing hardships. The opening verse sounds like an old church organ while the vocal line resembles a type of prayer.”

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