Multi-talented Dick Lee has firmly established himself as a performer and composer, often recognised through his works as the spokesperson for the New Asian generation.
The Dick Lee phenomenon started in 1971 when, at the age of fifteen, Dick participated in various talent contests with the group, Harmony, and Dick and the Gang (teaming with his siblings). His first album, LIFE STORY, featuring his own compositions, was released in 1974.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, Dick championed the inclusion of Asian elements in pop music. His pioneering album, LIFE IN THE LION CITY (1984), won acclaim for just that. but the album that shot him to regional prominence was his 1989 release, THE MAD CHINAMAN, which achieved platinum status in Singapore in 3 months.
In 1990 Dick moved to Japan where he continued to develop the new Asian identity through his solo work, as well as collaborate with top Asian artistes like Sandy Lam from Hong Kong and Japanese group Zoo. He has to date, written countless songs for the top singing talents in Asia including Jackie Cheung, Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Anita Mui, Miyazawa of The Boom and Stephanie Sun amongst others.
Dick is also passionate about musicals. He has written many staged musicals including BEAUTY WORLD (1988), FRIED RICE PARADISE (1991, 2010), KAMPONG AMBER (1994), SING TO THE DAWN (1997), FORBIDDEN CITY (2003), which opened the Esplanade in Singapore, and Jacky Cheung’s acclaimed SNOW.WOLF.LAKE (1997), which toured Asia in 2005. NAGRALAND (1992) toured Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong in a sold-out season. Dick continues his love of theatre by being Associate Artistic Director of Singapore Repertory Theatre, an appointment he has held since 1998.
Apart from music, Dick’s other passion is for fashion, having studied fashion design at Harrow School of Art in London (1977 – 1982). His interest began at the early age of 16 when he designed for his mother’s boutique Midteen. His fashion career has taken him to Carrie Models, where he later became a partner. He also designed for his boutique Ping Pong, as well as in Singapore departmental stores. He has worked with Singapore label Celia Loe and Island Shop.
Other forays in the fashion world include Display Director for Tangs departmental store in 1984, Fashion Editor of Female Magazine in 1986. Dick was also one of the founders of the Society of Designing Arts (SODA), which in 1984 spearheaded the formal introduction of Singapore designers to the local fashion market. The success of SODA led to Dick setting up Singapore’s first young designer “market”, Hemispheres in 1986.
From 1982 to 1990, Dick ran his own event company Runway Productions, which specialized in fashion and tourism events, including tours of the USA and Europe, convention opening presentations and even a fashion parade on Orchard Road. Via Runway Productions, Dick was instrumental in the success of the early national fashion events in Singapore, like Fashion Connections, and Singapore Fashion Week.
On the entertainment scene, Dick founded talent management company Music & Movement with partner Lim Sek, and also had a hand in the creation of Boom Boom Room, a successful cabaret, which launched the career of popular comedian Kumar.
In 1998, Dick moved to Hong Kong where he was appointed Regional Vice-President of Artiste and Repertoire at Sony Music Asia where he stayed till the end of 2000.
Dick celebrated the 30th anniversary of his career in 2004 with the release of a 5-CD compilation as well as his autobiography THE ADVENTURES OF THE
MAD CHINAMAN. He also created Dick Lee’s Sunshine Project, a charity for handicapped children and youth counselling centres, in conjunction with the Community Chest of Singapore. He has also participated in 3 seasons of the highly-rated television show, Singapore Idol, where he was a judge.
As Creative Director, Dick has designed the annual Christmas Light-Up on Orchard Road and the Marina Bay area several times. He has also directed the National Day Parade twice, in 2002 and 2010, as well as the gala show for the APEC conference in 2009, and the Economic Development Board’s 50th anniversary celebrations, Singapop, in 2010.
His current appointments include Executive Creative Director of his own advertising agency, Dick Lee Concepts, and his publishing company, Fried Rice Paradise Entertainment. Dick partners restaurateur Tung Lok in two establishments, Dancing Crab in Singapore, and Modern Asian Diner in Jakarta, and returns to fashion in the opening of clothing store The Modern Outfitters where he designs collections for men and women. His latest venture is in marketing company Asia Fashion Management, which will open his new production company Dick Lee Entertainment (Asia).
In 2013, Dick was conferred the honour of being named a Steinway Artist, by the world-renown piano company Steinway & Sons, joining the ranks of the top practitioners of the piano, and the first Asian artiste in the pop genre to be honoured. He also held his first solo exhibition of paintings “Imperfect Memory” at Galerie Belvedere in October 2013.
His current projects include directing the National Day Parade 2014, and a revival of his 1997 musical Hotpants, as well as his first movie, which will be released in 2015. He is also in the midst of writing two musicals, and the second play of his Family Trilogy, the first of which, Rising Son, was produced in April 2014.
1995: Perfect 10, The Perfect 10 Music Achievement Award for outstanding contribution in the Singapore Music scene
1995: Hong Kong Film Awards, Best Original Movie Theme Song in the 1994 film, “She’s A Man, He’s A Woman” ( 《金 枝 玉 葉 》) for (《追 》)Search of my Life
1998: Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) Award, Top Local English Pop Song
Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) Award, Top Local Composer of the Ye
1999: Hong Kong Film Awards, Best Original Movie Theme Song in the 1998 film, “City of Glass” ( 《玻 璃 之 城 》) for ( 《今 生 不 再》)
1998-2001, 2005-2006: COMPASS, Composer of the Year Awards
1999: COMPASS, Artistic Excellence Award
1999: COMPASS Award for Top Local Chinese Pop Song
2003: Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize – Arts & Culture Prize
2004: COMPASS Award for Best Malay Pop Song “Sandarkan”
LIFE! Theatre Awards, Best Music for “Forbidden City”
2005: Singapore Cultural Medallion
2006: Community Chest Silver Award for Individual Fund-raiser
2007: Boh Cameronian Arts Award, Best Music for “Puteri Gunung Ledang”
2008: Boh Cameronian Arts Awards, Best Music for “P. Ramlee the Musical”
Community Chest Silver Award for Individual Fund-raiser
2009: COMPASS, Wings of Excellence Award
COMPASS Award for Top Local English Pop Song
2010: Singapore Tatler Leadership Award For Culture
Community Chest Bronze Award for Individual Fund-raiser
2011: Elle Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award
Community Chest Bronze Award for Individual Fund-raiser
2012: COMPASS Award for Top Local English Pop Song
2013: COMPASS Award for Top Local English Pop Song
Named a Steinway Artist by Steinway & Sons.
1974: Life Story
1979: Internationaland (Single)
1984: Life in the Lion City
1985: Return to Beauty World
1986: The Songs from Long Ago
The Songs of Christmas (Christmas album)
Fried Rice Paradise (Compilation)
1989: The Mad Chinaman
When I Play (Compilation)
1990: Asia Major
1992: The Year of The Monkey
Peace, Life, Love (Christmas Album)
1993: Hong Kong Rhapsody (Instrumental)
Life Story (Compilation)
1994: Secret Island
1999: Transit Lounge
2003: Rice (Instrumental)
2004 :Life/Stories (Compilation)
2010: Life Deluxe
2014: 40th Anniversary Collection
Musicals & Plays:
1988: Beauty World (Singapore, also 1993, 1998, 2008)
1991: Fried Rice Paradise (Singapore)
1992: Nagraland (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan)
1993: Hong Kong Rhapsody (Japan);
Fantasia (Singapore, Japan)
1994: Kampong Amber (Singapore); Mortal Sins (Singapore)
1996: Sing to the Dawn (Singapore);
Death In Tuas (play, Singapore)
1997: Hotpants (Singapore, also 2014);
A Twist Of Fate (Singapore, also 2005)
1998: Snow. Wolf.Lake (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China, also 2004,
2001: Re:mix (Singapore)
2003: Forbidden City (Singapore, also 2004, 2006)
2004: The Good Citizen (play, Singapore)
2006: Puteri Gunung Ledang (Malaysia, Singapore);
Man Of Letters (Singapore)
2007: P. Ramlee The Musical (Malaysia, Singapore)
2010: Fried Rice Paradise (New version -Singapore)
2011: Beauty Kings (play, Singapore)
2013: Lightseeker (Singapore)
2014: Rising Son (play, Singapore)