Cover Jill Vidal (Image: courtesy of Warner Music)

After decades of chart-topping singles and starring in a Leon Lai-led movie musical, the Canto-pop singer is set to take the stage this weekend

Hong Kong-based urban pop singer Jill Vidal is performing her first solo concert, Arrows, this weekend on September 17, where she will bring back some of her best-known titles, including those in collaboration with South Korean rapper San E. Ahead of the one-night-only event, she tells Tatler about the fantasy film that inspired the show, her travels to Africa, her dreams to be an actress, and why it’s time to take the stage alone.

Tatler: What inspired Arrows?

Vidal: I love watching movies like Lord of the Rings, in which Legolas shoots arrows. To me, the word “arrows” symbolises a warrior or fighter. There’s also an English saying: “follow your arrow”, which means following your dreams.

What songs have you selected for the concert?

I’m going to do a lot of my old songs, like the ones I did with Warner Music, and also ones I grew up with that resonate with me: R&B, funk and groovy music. For this concert, I’ll sing songs such as “See You Never”, “Being Told”, my collaboration with South Korean rapper San E, and one of my old songs “Get Out”, which is one of my singles I debuted with.

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Why did you decide to finally have your own solo concert?

When I was with my first label Amusic, I was supposed to have a concert, but it didn’t happen and then I rested for about four years. When I came to Warner Music in 2015, we wanted to build up my repertoire and song list first. Now that I have accumulated quite a number of songs [since the beginning], we decided that now is a good time.

How will your songs be different in your concert compared to their recording on your albums?

The band is going to play certain parts even more dramatically by adding more guitar effects, and they will add a synth pad to some of the songs. The songs won’t be completely different, but they will have a livelier sound.

What are some of the challenges of this show?

Maintaining the control of my voice mostly. Because it’s a long set with a lot of belting, I tend to get tired towards the end. Memorising the lyrics is another challenge, as I won’t have them on any screens or prompt monitors.

How would you describe your creative process?

It’s a journey—finding yourself in the music. The challenges evolve creatively, [but] I always find inspiration: from my relationships, the people around me, the stories I hear from them, my compassionate towards them, or through travelling.

Two years ago, I went to volunteer at the orphanages of Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia, and it was life-giving. I fed and played with the children, I got to know them, and see their cultures. It was an awakening and an inspiring experience where I learnt to cherish what I have and to use my life to help others.

[Trouble is], I have always been a perfectionist, so when I write a song that I think is not good enough but others think it is, I feel insecure releasing it. But then, when do I stop worrying, right?

Why did you become a singer in the first place?

When I first started singing, I worked with one of the top producers in Hong Kong. I got to step into a legit recording studio and perform with Korean dancers. I realised then that I really enjoy being a musician.

[Another] revelation was when I was leading worships at church, which introduced me to the concept [that music has] a deeper meaning — a connection to my faith — and a soul and purpose. This has affected the way I approach what I do now. Whenever I sing, there’s something in me that wants to lift my voice up. Whenever I release music, I want them to have a message and soul.

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How is your music different from your sister Janice Vidal’s?

We have different personalities and techniques. She’s gentler, whereas I’m a loudspeaker. Stylistically, she is more jazz and R&B influenced and can do gospel riffs and runs, whereas I lean more towards pop.

What’s next?

I’m working on a dance showcase with a group of jazz, hip-hop and pop dancers. I love dancing. In my early days, I would dance in my performances but I recently suffered a lower back injury, and it took some time to get my strength back. So, I’m really excited to get back into it.

I’m going to continue to write music and release songs as well, and hopefully get into more acting in the future. I would like to try action or comedy. I love to kick ass.


“Up-close with Stars” is a monthly cultural series where Tatler spotlights top performing arts talents on their latest achievements and get to the heart of subjects that matter to culture and society.


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