Chances are, you might not have heard of Etty Lau Farrell—yet. The dancer and singer-songwriter and wife of rock legend Perry Farrell just made her solo debut at age 47. Putting her solo career on hold to raise a family, the songstress is now ready to showcase her talent as an Asian American artist.
Hailing from Hong Kong, Lau Farrell’s family moved to the US where she trained as a dancer and singer for a band. While on tour, she met her soon-to-be husband, Perry Farrell, the godfather of alternative rock. Since then, the singer has performed with her husband and her band The Kind Heaven Orchestra on many occasions.
In an exclusive interview with Tatler’s Front & Female timed to International Women's Day, Lau Farrell tells us about making her solo debut at a later age, the trade-offs she has to give as a mother and artist, and why she chose to be a rock star despite the industry being male-dominated.
You’ve just released your first solo song, He’s A Rebel. After all these years in the music industry, why did you choose to debut as a soloist now?
I’ve always loved performing since I was three years old when I began to dance. Even then, I had a passion for singing but kept it to myself. I entered the music industry, singing first with Satellite Party and then as lead singer-dancer for Kind Heaven Orchestra. I realise that a solo music career was what I wanted to pursue next.
During the pandemic, my husband, kids, and I would all hang out around our living room where we have turntables set up. We would put on classic vinyl, and listen together. We did that every time the boys bought records. Then we came across He’s A Rebel [from American vocal group The Crystals]. Perry and I thought it was the perfect song for the first solo single because of how well it fit my style and vocals. After singing the song around my house, I brought in some friends to add to the song and we decided that it would be the first release of my career.
But why now? There’s no better time like the present to do what you love.
In your song, who’s the rebel?
I can’t speak for The Crystals and who their rebel is, but for me, it’s my husband, Perry. He’s always been my hero, number one supporter, and, as we all know, a rebel in his own way. From the first day he discovered that I can sing, Perry has been a great teacher and mentor, never wavering in his support and his encouragement. Perry gave me his trust, belief, and attention in helping me develop my craft.
Your debut song is produced by your husband, Perry Farrell who is also an artist of his own right. What is your collaboration style like?
He’s very involved [in my career], taking me under his wings, as a mentor, a teacher, supporter, partner and as a manager. He weighs over every option but also considers my desires and opinion in decision making. He’s my producer who gives me directions, I follow, but with my own flair.