Jazz Singer Angelita Li Practises A Disciplined Daily Wellness Routine
Angelita Li doesn’t only perform with Hong Kong stars like Deanie Ip, Hins Cheung, Joey Yung, and the group Rubberband; the jazz singer is a regular and performs in headline shows at West Kowloon’s annual Freespace Jazz Fest, which returns on October 29 this year. Angelita Li wrote and performed at her own musical show at the festival last year, where she sang Billie Holiday’s songs with the accompaniment by Patrick Lui’s jazz orchestra. This year, she’s in another collaboration with Lui where pop singer Janice Vidal will also be featured.
Lately, Li, who is also a yoga teacher, has been running the Mindfulness x Jazz Improvisation workshops through a local chamber grou Ensemble Transcience. Founded by jazz guitarist Tervier Cheung, it promotes mindfulness by combining yoga, meditation and improvised interactions between jazz musicians. Li and her team run these workshops at Tai Kwun and Kwai Tsing’s Black Box, and the next will be on October 30.
We asked the jazz star to share with us her strict discipline on her life.
I usually wake up at 6am, but if I’ve had to work the night before, I’ll cuddle up with my cats for another hour. I wake up to plenty of sounds: my cats litter-digging or meowing for breakfast, and the twittering of birds from outside of my flat. Every day is different with food though. Coffee with turmeric is the most common first drink that goes into my tummy. Some days, I’ll also have hand-pressed juices of fruits and veggies, or fresh Masala tea. Then it’s either yoghurt with nuts and fruits, or hardboiled eggs in miso soup. I use Tamar Valley Dairy’s plain yoghurt. I buy everything organic. My cats are my breakfast companions.
I practise intermittent fasting and I’m 98 per cent vegetarian—the remaining 2 per cent is for when I’m eating with meat-eaters and there are no better food choices. I break my fasting at around 1pm daily. If I’m lazy with food preparation, I love heading to Cafe 8 in Central or Pret-a-Manger.
In case you missed: Tatler's Ultimate Guide To Vegetarian And Vegan Dining In Hong Kong
I do have a strict morning routine before I start working, which mostly consists of chores: I feed my cats and clean their litter, make my bed, vacuum the floor, wash up, and practise yoga. Yoga and meditation are important to maintaining my mental and physical wellbeing, alongside swimming, eating well, resting enough, and most importantly “Pratipaksha Bhavana”, which means always looking on the bright side of life. When I’ve got my morning sorted out, I’ll start my work at my desk or head down to the beach.
One thing that people don’t know about my job as a jazz singer is that it takes a lot of preparations. On the day that I prepare new songs for an upcoming gig or performance, I would switch my laptop and electric keyboard on, put my headphones and music app on, and then I run a song on repeat mode. I transcribe lyrics onto a word document, transfer the file to my tablet and make notes. I listen to the same song for about 20 round before moving on to the next one.
Read more: All that Jazz
I usually have lunch at home. If I eat out, I head to either Ahimsa, Tree House, the only vegetarian restaurant in Peng Chau, local style cart noodles shops, dumpling shops, Shanghainese restaurants, or Indian restaurants in Chung King Mansion. If I still have time during my lunch break, I catch up with work. The rest of my afternoon is pretty much the same as my morning. In the afternoon or evening, I occupy any free time with my many hobbies: sewing, swimming, gardening, cycling, reading, making things, and moon- or star-gazing.
Breathing deeply and sitting there and staring into nothingness helps me wind down. I sleep between six and eight hours, which is an essential amount of rest for an active person. My bed is my perfect space for relaxation.