After getting the second-runner-up in the 5th New Talent Singing Awards, held by the TVB in 1986, Lai went to be taught singing by Dai Si Zong and in the same year, he also obtained an artist contract from Capital Artist. However he didn't get to release any albums for four years. As a result, his teacher, Dai, arranged to have him signed a contract with Polygram (now known as Universal Music) and then got the contract with Capital Artist annulled after some negotiation.
In Polygram, he released his first album "Leon" and subsequent album "Meet In The Rain" which propelled Lai into instant stardom. His debut album went gold. After several years at Polygram, he then signed a new contract with Sony Music on March 23, 1998.
Lai is known for his statements with deep meanings. His words, "I don't eat breakfast on an empty stomach", was voted the best "Golden Words" by netizens. He is subsequently considered the "King Of Golden Words".
For the first time, Lai was invited to be one of the judges of the 2008 Miss Hong Kong Beauty Pageant.
In the early stages of his career, he mainly sang cantopop, but due to the influence of producer Mark Lui, he expanded his repertoire to include popular electronic songs with compelling music videos. In 2002, he was selected to sing "Charged up", the World Cup theme song for the Greater China Region.
In 1996, he collaborates with composer-producer Steve Barakatt on his album "Feel". In 1998, Leon's Korean song "After loving you" managed to reach the Top 10 in a Korean pop chart. He was the first Hong Kong singer to achieve this.
He won numerous singing awards before announcing in 1999 that he would no longer accept any awards in Hong Kong. He won the "Most Popular Male Singer" award in 1993 and 1995 for TVB Jade Solid Gold. He has also won the "Song of the Year" award four times. In the 1996 year of awards, Leon Lai won a personal record 16 awards in the Hong Kong music scene. A tie with fellow singers Sky King and Jacky Cheung. This gives both artists one more award. The 4 stage Joint Award of Best Musicians. Awarded to the musician with the most awards won in the year ending award shows. Lai's music career gradually declined from the late 1990s. While he is still releasing new albums from time to time, his record sales are now less than impressive and his position has been overtaken by the newer generation of cantopop singers.
His song "All Day Love" released in 2000 got into trouble with the Chinese authorities for drawing passages from the China National Anthem, "March of the Volunteers". The starting tune also sounds similar to the Anthem tune. He was warned against using the song for commercial purposes.
In 2004, Leon Lai formed a new record production company, "A Music", East Asia Record Production Company Limited, with Peter Lam. The first album produced by the company, "Dawn" was released in September of that year. The album, "Dawn", was released with minimum promotion as Lai went to the Mainland for a movie shoot on the day of the album's release.
In order to bring in new excitements for his music, Leon invited a famous music producer Jonathan Lee Tsung Sheng from Taiwan in 2005 to produce his new mandarin album "A Story". However, by doing so he had to give up the opportunity for a lead role in a big budget Taiwan movie "Gui Si" due to conflicts in his schedules.
Lai returned to the Hong Kong Coliseum on April 13, 2007 to perform in his one night only Leon 4 in Love Concert where he performed not only his own hits but also hits of the other three heavenly kings namely Aaron, Andy and Jacky. He performed a total of 18 songs, all of which are newly arranged by Mark Lui. He subsequently released an album titled "4 In Love" on May 3, 2007, comprising 16 of the 18 songs he had performed in the concert. He released his new single on October 30, 2007 for his fans to listen and download on MOOV. The song titled, Think of you written by Lin Xi, composed by Lee Sang Jun, arranged by Mark Lui, Chen Yi and produced by Lee Han Wen.
After the New Talent Singing Awards, he had some opportunities to star in a few TV series. On one occasion, he went for filming of a romantic serials titled, Fengyun era, in Taiwan. There was a stark contrast in height between Leon and the popular lead actress who is only 1.60 cm in height. The actress then demanded that Leon squatted while filming so as to make up for the height differences. Leon had to act through all the scenes with the actress while squatting but he had to endure it as he was not popular at the time. However not long afterwards his new TV series, The Breaking Point which turned out to be a resounding success and propel him to widespread fame in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
He was again nominated for the Best Actor and Best Original Film Song award for the film City of Glass in 1999 at the Hong Kong Film Awards but he only managed to win the award for Best Original Film Song which he shared with Lin Xi and Dick Lee.
Lai was considered by Lee Ang to act as Li Mu Bai in the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, however he had to turn down the offer as he had advertising contract and live concert about to start which would not match his shaven head as was required for the role.
He collaborated with Cecilia Cheung in 2001 for the first time in the Wong Jing directed romantic comedy film, Everyday Is Valentine. In the film, Leon played a serial liar. In 2002, Lai took the spotlight at the Golden Horse Awards, the Chinese-language version of the Oscars in Taiwan. He won Best Actor for Three: Going Home. Leon played a minor role as Superintendent Yeung Kam Wing in Infernal Affairs III in 2003. In 2004, Lai starred with Faye Wong in the romantic movie Leaving Me, Loving You, the story of which he co-wrote with Wilson Yip and he was also the creative/production controller of the movie. However, the movie was a flop. The movie raked in HK$ 10,529,501 in the box office.
In 2005, Lai acted as one of the seven warriors, Yang Yun Chong, in the Tsui Hark directed Wuxia film, Seven Swords. In the same year in the film Moonlight In Tokyo, Leon unexpectedly acted as a Chinese retard who pretend to be a Korean gigolo in Japan and thus shedding his idol image. He won the Golden Deer Best Actor Award from Changchun China Film Festival for his portrayal in Leaving me Loving you in 2005.
In 2006, Lai starred alongside Fan Bingbing and Rene Liu in a love and horror, thriller film titled The Matrimony where he played a cinematographer Shen Junchu, the love interest of Manli and Sansan. JunChu was pressurised into marrying Sansan after the untimely demise of his true love Manli in an accident. The film was released on Valentine's Day on February 8, 2007. In the same year, Leon wrote and directed a musical film titled A Melody Looking which was shot in New York. It features Leon and the rest of the Amusic family of singers namely Janice, Jill, Emily, Charles and Chapman. This film marks his debut as a director.
In 2007, Lai starred alongside Kelly Chen ,Donnie Yen and Guo Xiaodong in the Cheng Xiaodong directed action and romantic movie Jiangshan Meiren which means An Empress and the Warriors. He acted as a woodland medicine man whom have a romantic relationship with a princess. The action will be choreographed by the director himself who had previously choreographed for movies such as, Curse of the Golden Flower, House of Flying Daggers, and Hero. The movie will be released on 1st March, 2008. Lai and Kelly will be singing the movie theme song, "Fly With Your Dreams" which is written by Lin Xi and composed by Mark Lui.
He underwent training in Peking Opera for playing the lead role as Méi Lánfāng in the biographical film Méi Lánfāng which was directed by Chen Kaige. The shooting of the film has completed in the year 2008 and it also starred actresses Zhang Ziyi and Gillian Chung. He is directing the music video of the film where he and Zhang Ziyi will sing the film theme song, "You Understand My Love".
Lai tryst with serious charity work started when his father had carcinoma of the rectum at an advanced stage. The doctors said he was incurable. But when his father went through an operation, he prayed to the Buddha to let the operation be successful and he will do a lot of good things to thank heaven. The operation was successful and his father got cured. So when the cancer foundation and the U.N. organization approached him for help, he started getting involved in charity work actively.
Lai first work with UNICEF was in a China polio eradication project in 1993. He managed to raise substantial funds accruing from his supporters, fans and concert ticket sales. In July 1994, he was appointed the International UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and thus becoming the first Hong Kong citizen to be given this position. Since the year 1994, he has been involved in various fund raising activities of The Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (HKCU). These activities include seven charity concerts, three charity chocolate sales and charity walkathon. Leon along with HKCU representatives visited Rwanda, Gansu of China and Brazil to study the works of the UNICEF and to hlep promote public awareness of UNICEF messages of "Help UNICEF Help Children".
Lai has been elected as one of The Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) in 1997, giving him a formal recognition of his professional endeavours and commitment to the community.
Lai bought the first donation ticket, numbered 000001 at a "Children's Education Fund Raising Campaign" launch event at Tsuen Wan PARKnSHOP's Skyline Superstore in 2001 to encourage people to contribute to a meaningful social cause. The funds raised will be donated to the Community Chest.
Ever since his decision not to receive any music award in HK, he has not appeared on the TVB Jade Gold Solid Awards Ceremony even as a guest, but in order to secure more funds for charity, he agreed to perform in the ceremony as a guest performer on Jan 8, 2005. On 13th May of the same year, Leon co-operated with Mark Lui to compose the song "8858" The song will be used as the promotional song of the China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF) The title of song means "Help me (sounded like 'bang bang wo ba' in Putonghua)" and the number "8858" represent the SMS number people can use to donate the money. In a surprising move in Dec 2005, Leon appeared in a Hong Kong government television advertisement requesting the public to support a gradual political reform package tabled by the ruling government rather than asked for rapid political reform. This marks the first time he got himself involved in a politically motivated advertisement.
He appeared at a recent ceremony in Beijing in which Sunrider International presented UNICEF with a generous donation. He also occasionally helps other non-profit organisations to raise funds.
In the aftermath of the devastating Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, Lai got together with two of his long time collaborator, Lyricist Lin Xi and Composer, Mark Lui to produce a single, "You are not alone" to raise funds on behalf of the UNICEF for children. The CD will retail for HK$10 at all Chow Tai Fook Jewellery store in Hong Kong. The logic behind retailing it at the gold jewellery store is that people buying gold jewellery are more likely to buy it than people buying CDs at record store.
|Year||Title||Chinese Title||Role||Box Office|
|2008||Mei Lanfang (post-production)||梅兰芳||Mei Lanfang|
|An Empress and the Warriors||江山美人|
|2007||The Matrimony||心中有鬼||Shen Junchu|
|2006||A Melody Looking||緣邀知音||Leon|
|2005||Moonlight In Tokyo||情義我心知||HK$ 9,417,992|
|Seven Swords||七劍||Yang Yuncong|
|2004||Leaving Me, Loving You||大城小事||HK$ 10,529,501|
|2003||Infernal Affairs III #||無間道 #||Yang Jinrong||HK$ 30,225,661|
|Golden Chicken 2 #||金雞2||Doctor Chow Man Kwong|
|Heroic Duo||雙雄||HK$ 8,453,877|
|2002||Three||三更||Yu Fai||HK$ 7,367,895|
|2001||Bullets of Love||不死情謎||HK$ 3,587,266|
|Everyday Is Valentine||情迷大話王||OK Lai||HK$ 10,993,905|
|Dream of a Warrior||天使夢||Song Chen|
|2000||Skyline Cruisers||神偷次世代||Mac||HK$ 8,549,418|
|1998||A Hero Never Dies||真心英雄||Jack||HK$ 6,792,090|
|City of Glass||玻璃之城||Hui Kong Shen||HK$ 9,895,565|
|Love Generation Hong Kong||新戀愛世紀||Bill||HK$ 9,754,950|
|1997||God of Gamblers 3: The Early Stage||賭神三之少年賭神||Gao Jin||HK$ 16,986,954|
|Killing Me Tenderly||愛你愛到殺死你||Lai Su-Kan||HK$ 15,881,265|
|Eighteen Springs||半生緣||Chen Shijun||HK$ 7,535,785|
|1996||Comrades: Almost a Love Story||甜蜜蜜||Li Xiaojun||HK$ 15,557,580|
|1995||Fallen Angels||墮落天使||Wong Chi-Ming||HK$ 7,476,505|
|1994||Love and the City||都市情緣||Liang Zhi-wu||HK$ 9,905,608|
|Run||仙人掌||Lam Man-fai||HK$ 5,572,381|
|City Hunter #||城市獵人||Kôtetsu/Gundam||HK$ 2,839,802|
|1992||The Sword of Many Lovers||飛狐外傳||Wu Fei||HK$ 6,859,835|
|Gun and Rose||龍騰四海||Xiao Lim||HK$ 14,944,759|
|The Magic Touch||神算||Yau Ho-Kay||HK$ 36,399,307|
|The Wicked City||妖獸都市||Renzaburô Taki|
|Shogun and His Little Kitchen||伙頭福星||Lam Feng||HK$ 9,687,943|
|1991||Fun & Fury||痴情快婿||Wai Hon||HK$ 3,861,348|
|Party of a Wealthy Family/The Banquet #||豪門夜宴||Cook||HK$ 21,921,687|
|With or Without You||明月照尖東||Ming||HK$ 9,601,534|
|Fruit Punch||Yes一族||Ming||HK$ 5,246,001|
|1989||Four Loves||四千金||Dongni||HK$ 7,355,334|
|Hearts, no flowers||少女心||HK$ 2,810,849|
|1987||Mr. Handsome||美男子||Johnny||HK$ 10,154,173|
|1994||Class Of Distinction||阿SIR早晨|
|1993||The Legendary Ranger||原振俠|
|1991||The Breaking Point||今生無悔|
|Challenge Of Life||人在邊緣|
|Chun Mun Kong Chuen Kei||晋文公傳奇|
|Period of Glory||風雲時代|
|1987||A Friend in Need||飛越霓裳|
|Year||Date||Title||Chinese Title||No. of Shows||Sponsor|
|2007||13 Apr||Leon 4 in Love Concert||1||3|
|2005||10 Oct - 15 Oct||Leon Crazy Classic Concert||6||Johnnie Walker Black Label|
|2001||14-16; 21-25; 28-31 Dec||Leon Live Is Live Concert||12||CitiBank|
|1999||20 Nov - 12 Dec||Leon Live 99||23||AXA|
|1997-98||20 Dec - 8 Jan||Leon Lai Live 97||20||G Sushi 元祿壽司|
|1995||2 Nov - 27 Nov||Neon Leon Live 95||那一夜我們在霓虹下起舞||26||Hang Seng Bank Credit Card|
|1993||8 Aug - 25 Aug||Summer of Love Concert||夏日傾情演唱會||20||Saab|
|1992||7 Oct - 14 Oct||Night Devotion Live #||一夜傾情演唱會||10||Kao|
(Note: # indicate literal translation)
|2005||Live 3” TV commercial series – “Sharing”|
|1999||Hutchison Orange dual band network||Acid|
|1998||Hutchison new line-Tianshan article||If I Can See You Again|
|1998||Airport Express Line||Happy 2000|
|1998||Hutchison new line-Xueshan article||I Love You Like This|
|1998||Hutchison new line||Love You, Love You Not|
|1997||Hutchison GSM Mobile||100 Possibilities|
|RTHK Chinese Pop||CTHK Ultimate 903||Metro Radio Pop Chart||JSG Billboard||UFO Mandarin Pop|
|2007||"Why did I let you go?"||14||-||3||-||-|
|2006||"You Have Ability"||-||-||-||1||-|
|"Love Can Be Crazy"||2||-||1||2||-|
|"Frequent meeting without purpose"||9||5||11||-||-|
|"Yi Yen Wei Din"||1||2||1||1||-|
|2004||"Bei Dian Shang Gao"||1||15||1||1||-|
|"Bu Ge Yi Shi"||7||1||1||1||-|
|Year||Album||HMV Sales Chart|
|Peak positions||No. of Weeks in Top 20|
|2007||"Leon 4 In Love"||1||6|
|"MORE THAN CLASSIC (3CD+DVD)"||5||-|
|"A STORY MUSIC MOVIE"||7||-|
|2001||IFPI HK Top 10 Sales Album||Leon Club Sandwich|
|IFPI HK Top 10 Sales Mandarin Album||The Red Shoes|
|IFPI HK Top Sales Male Artist|
|1998||IFPI HK Platinum Disc||I Love You Like This|
|1997||IFPI HK Platinum Disc||IF|
|IFPI HK Platinum Disc||Feel|
|IFPI HK Gold Disc||Leon's …|
|IFPI HK Gold Disc||Leon Sound|
|1998||Best Male Artist:Silver|
|Favorite Male Artist|
|No.3 professional recommendation||Jin Shen Bu Zai|
|Best Co-operation||Leon Lai and Hutchison Telecom|
|1997||Best Male Artist:Gold|
|Favorite Male Artist|
|Top 10 Songs professional recommendation||Only if you love me for a day|
|Favorite Song||Only if you love me for a day|
|10th anniversary Top 10 Artists|
|1996||Best Male Artist:Gold|
|Best Ads Song||Unspoken words of sentiment|
|Four Media IFPI Top award||Perhaps|
|1995||Best Male Artist:Bronze|
|Top 10 Songs professional recommendation||Danger tracking|
|1994||Most Played Artist:Bronze|
|Top 10 Songs||Not one day I don't think of you|
|Favorite Song||Not one day I don't think of you|
|Most Favorite Live Performance||Not one day I don't think of you|
|Top Composed Song||Not one day I don't think of you|
|1993||Best Male Artist:Bronze|
|Favorite Songs||Not willing to leave you tonightSummer DevotionSummer is burning|
|1992||Most Played Artist:Bronze|
|Favorite Song||My LoveWish We Are Not Just Friend|
|1991||Most Played Artist:Bronze|
|1990||Most Played Artist:Silver|