Karen Mok’s First English Album, “Somewhere I Belong”

Karen Mok (莫文蔚) fulfilled her dream to release an English album with Somewhere I Belong. Released on January 14, the 10-track jazz album blends musical cultures from the East and West with the use of classical Chinese instruments.

With 15 successful albums behind her, 3 Golden Melody Awards, the lead role of Mimi in the 10th Anniversary Asian tour of the Broadway smash Rent, and acting as a torch bearer at the Beijing 2008 Olympic games, Karen Mok’s list of achievements have long crossed beyond film and music.

It has always been Karen’s lifelong dream to release an English album. Being a fan of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald since young, it is of little wonder that Karen would choose the jazz genre for her first English album.

A Marriage of Jazz and Chinese Music

Somewhere I Belong is recorded in Shanghai in 2012, covering an eclectic mix of songs, from Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale” to George Gershwin’s “The Man to Love”. Believing that jazz can be improvised into contemporary rock music, Karen injected jazz into Sting’s “Cross Over Bourbon Street” and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Games”. She recreates English band, Portishead’s “Sour Times” with a dose of Jazz peppered with Chinese music influence.

Somewhere I Belong also features Karen playing the guzheng, the traditional Chinese instrument she learned many years ago, in her cover of the Beatles classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

Not forgetting her Chinese roots, the album also consists of two Chinese songs, including one from the heyday of Shanghai’s swinging jazz scene in the 1930s and 1940s.

In Somewhere I Belong, Karen manages to cross cultural barriers to create a unique jazz album that integrates different genres of music across different times and continents, demonstrating Karen’s versatility and musical talents.


“The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships” <傾國傾城>

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“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

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Source: 21CN.com

This article is written by Karen for JayneStars.com.

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  1. I’ve seen her perform live before many years ago for a I think ZA function. I was sitting very close and she was so softspoken and she was tiny. Very very slim because she is very very tiny. Her singing isn’t much, because her voice isn’t much but she makes do with what she has and so she works a genre to her voice. Not the best entertainer or best voice but in a way a credible singer.

    1. Funn,
      Karen Mok seems quite popular in mainland China. She is a capable singer and has made more achievements in music rather than film in recent years. And that’s likely due to her ability to reinvent herself and give a feeling of freshness, such as her new English jazz album, which has soothing melodies and relaxing to listen to while working.

      1. She speaks English with an English accent. She’s a brit I remember?

        Yes her style of singing is those without energy. She is not those diva type who shouts. I believe partly because she doesn’t have that big voice.

      2. Just listened to While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Still same style of singing but I really like the guzheng incorporation.

        But the jazz part is not Jazz enough. It is just her interpretation. You know who could do Jazz? Lui San (Roseanne I think her name?). Her cover of that old chinese song the name I have forgotten was beautiful.

      3. Funn,
        Lui San’s rendition is a bit too breathless (almost like breathing in your ears). Hehe among that generation of singers, I like Liu Ying Hung (柳影虹) more. Her voice is throaty, a bit masculine, strong yet sexy.


      4. In part because the clip quality is not good. It is breathy but it is rather good.

      5. Jayne, thanks for the link to Liu Ying Hung. I didn’t know she is a singer. I remember that song. I used to watch that series when I was very young. Don’t remember anything about that show, but I remember that song.

      1. She is 5″7″? You must be kidding me. She was standing right in front of me, with about 4 inch heel at that time and she is still so much shorter than me! She didn’t look like she weigh more than 90 pounds. Always, ALWAYS minus 3 inches. And even then that is 3 inches too high.

      2. You must be well over 6′ to consider her tiny. She’s taller than Stephen Chow and many other actors who must be midgets.

  2. this great beauty who is mixed-race, married western & now produce english album to commemorate!!!!! its perfect

    1. clearly you haven’t been outside HK to have seen mixed race children…

  3. First time for me listening to her. Vocals are quite good and I like the number While My Guitar…….also just watched that clip on that ‘jazz’ album presentation. She needs to improve on her mandarin pronounciation cause I can only make out 30% of the lyrics.

    Yes, she’s very tiny but she works on what she has and that’s good.

  4. Has anyone seen her standing side by side with Dadawa? heheh

    I was thought she was tragic in the same way that Japanese dramas are – almost nihilistic in a fruitless vanity – that was always struck me about her and her life. I was never a believer that Hong Kong girls envied her background and her looks because she looks very Cantonese to me and everyone is more and less fortunate than everyone else but maybe it’s seeing her committed performance in Fallen Angels or some other type of movie where she made a point of being very Hongkie and then very English – I guess she is the opposite of Tiger Mom Amy Chua’s older daughter in that the latter comes across as very solid. Karen Mok strikes me as always striving never reaching (“aching to be” as the Replacements song goes) – a little Wong Meng Choon translated into the modern age.

    1. She strikes me as very German i.e. transactional in her dating – she takes what she can get and tries to make the best of it whereas a Chinese girl like me would have been gone like a shot at the first hint of disrespect not LIVING with the likes of Stephen Fung who I knew right away was toying with a labeled libertine.

    2. I stopped reading at “nihilistic in fruitless something something”.

      Cleo: poster of the year, every year.

  5. when I read in disbelief that she was marrying a German whom she knew from long ago – I was afraid for her. Can she really pull off a lifelong relationship with such a person – sometimes I see marriages in their old age that worry me – sometimes I see really great ones for whom I wish eternal life.

    1. Karen Mok? I read that guy was her first love. I don’t see why not. She is now a stepmom to his children and in her wedding pictures she looks blissfully happy. It wasn’t just a date or a fling. She had a serious relationship with him and now that she had a 2nd chance, she took it.

      1. because if it was the real thing, you don’t let go or move on or circle the buffet table and eat several meals before returning to your first choice – think about it? When did you pass up the lobster for the corn flakes and then the danishes and then the oatmeal and then … and then … and then … I have returned to my first choice!

      2. fyi – Germans are not like other Europeans or rather they have contaminated other Europeans but they are NOT what Chinese people think of when they think of white people or Europeans i.e. Celtic. They’re not Hugh Grant, they’re Daniel Craig and they have “yeah sum” i.e. a covetous heart which is why you see Germans running for political office in Hong Kong and locating their school on The Peak. Stanley Ho is part Germanic.

        And believe this – the annual Jewish celebration of Passover and Hanukkah does mean that the Germans were never forgiven for the Holocaust and that there will be no sharing of accurate science and technology with them. Being MOSTLY non-German isn’t going to buy you any leniency with the people who saw their babies thrown alive into the fire or cut up for “research.”

      3. Cleo,
        I’ll admit to having Facebook envy, especially looking at pictures of exotic vacation trips and fine cuisine. Although triggering misery in one’s life may be a bit extensive.

      4. Really? It makes me feel better to see things that I like being described by someone actually doing them plus window shopping actually changed my tastes because someone else did it and I got to rethink about what I really wanted. For example, I realized that baking and overly complicated recipes are NOT for me thanks to the internet and shows like America’s Test Kitchen.

  6. The fact that shes the only hong kong female singer(not counting Sally Yesh cuz shes Taiwan origin and Faye wong who represents mainland china) to win Best femlae singer twice at taiwan golden meldoy awards already shows her ability. Its super hard to win that award since its choosen by professional judges just like the golden horse and hong kong film awards. In theory, she already beated all of the hong kong singers that still fights for those HK awards. Shes also a song writer and takes part in the production of all her albums. If you compare her with say Joey, she wins by miles. Karen also has movie career and won two best supporting actress. Her sucess makes joey a loser.

    1. i still don’t understand how she won golden melody. her vocal is so weak and her songs are soo boring.

      1. a lot of people loves her songs and boring is a subjective thing to say. The difference is that her muscic gets professional regonition while other HK signers get awards through money talk and connection from their record companies. Not to say, she also won best ablum(the biggest award of taiwan golden meloy). Only her, Eason, and Jacky have own this in terms of hk artists.

    2. Why must u put Joey down to push Karen up? It’s great that Karen writes songs and acts well too. But it doesn’t make Joey any less of a good singer. The voice and performance are still the most important factors to judge a singer by.

      1. Its the truth. Karen does not need push up because shes already a diva in Asia and just in Hong kong.

    3. I was struck by Joey Yung’s gangster moll cuteness when she came out. To me, she seems like an ideal looking favorite of guys – she’s pretty in a harmless way with a perfect body and she can really sing. Karen on the other hand has to put in some effort – her face is quite plain and her skinny body is no better than a typical Southern Chinese girl plus her Cantonese can come across as grating. And I can’t really see that her singing is so great when her face seems so sad and ucomfortable.

      1. Karen is actually the only artist that made it into some magazine fashion as the sexisest asian women alive. (i forgot the details, but that magazine was pretty credible). Karen has vocal and singing skills as well. To be a sucessful singer, vocal skills is not what just count. What matters is if the singer has actual musical talent and incorporate that into their music. Most mainlanders and espccally taiwan people will agree that Karen is a more skilled and verstile singer than Joey or any other hk female singers. I compare her with joey becasue both of them are hk singers. If Joey was that good then why does none of her mandarin albums got professional regonition? Only hk people listen to her music.

  7. I don’t understand why singers that can’t sing as well as the original singer, try to cover their songs. Wicked Games is a great song by a great singer. It does not need to be covered by Karen who does not have the range or talent to sing it well or improve on it.

  8. I know it’s probably her body type which influences this but: somebody get her a frikkin hamburger. Way too skinny.

  9. omg – she should just be a civilian youtuber because karen Mok should “just get OVER herself!” HAhahahaha!!!

    at least her Irresistible German didn’t bankroll this album like Jean Todt did for Yeung Zhee Keng’s moralistic film about whatever it was about – but seriously, what did that dude say when she asked him what she thought of her album!??

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! OMG – a marriage made in the Austrio-Hungarian Empire indeed. (They both have German blood in common.)

  10. Whilst watching the Last Emperor as Joan Chen walked away drugged up and destroyed by her idiot character’s idiot husband and his idiot Japanese puppetmasters, my friend leaned over and said, “she’s so graceful” – Karen Mok may not remember that scene but that’s what the beginning of her first video looks like – like she bootlegged Joan Chen and Bertolucci and Karen didn’t do a good job of it.

  11. This albums gonna suck, she can’t sing. The only person who will like this is probaly her ugly gweilo husband

  12. She is alright, not really my cup of tea listening to her.

    I think it would be better without the MV, the English one was odd with her just wondering around and touching the string instrument for ancient time then said guitar…

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