Steven Ma Makes Hong Kong Comeback
Steven Ma (馬浚偉) ended his contract with TVB last year due to poor working conditions and tense relationships with upper management. Afterward, he filmed several mainland series while hoping to make a comeback in Hong Kong someday. During this time, TVB and other rival stations attempted to lure Steven back to Hong Kong with promises of better roles and bigger salaries. While Steven admitted that HKTV’s Ricky Wong tried to recruit him, he ultimately decided to return to his “maternal home” at TVB.
In 1993, Steven made his debut as a singer after winning first place in a singing competition. He scored a record deal as part of the prize package and went on to release his first full-length album in December of that year. During an interview with Commercial Radio Hong Kong today, Steven reflected on his early music career and shared that he nearly considered quitting the business. “During my debut, the record company created a marketing slogan: ‘He is not Jacky Cheung (張學友). He is not Leon Lai (黎明). He is not Hacken Lee (李克勤). He is Steven Ma.’ This offended so many people. My third album also had poor sales, so I thought about quitting.”
Due to the negative publicity and low sales figures, Steven’s record label did not renew his contract at the end of its term. Ready to head back to the “real world”, Steven received an opportunity that forever changed his career. By chance, Steven met TVB executive Catherine Tsang (曾勵珍) whom he still credits as his mentor. “Catherine Jeh invited me to film The Duke of the Mount Deer 1998 <鹿鼎記>. I didn’t want to shave off all of my hair, but I’m really grateful to her for giving me the opportunity.”
Steven’s performance as the righteous Emperor Kangxi changed his public image and put him in the spotlight. Since then, Steven participated in various major dramas, earning his place as one of TVB’s first-line actors.
Despite Steven’s acting success, he felt trapped after 18 years of working at TVB. Last year, reports surfaced that Steven ended his contract with TVB because of low pay and decreasing opportunities. There were also gossips that Steven had a tense relationship with several TVB executives, most notably Virginia Lok (樂易玲).
Some said that TVB tried to unfairly suppress Steven’s opportunities. In today’s radio interview, Steven clarified the situation. “There was a grand production in mainland China and I was invited to film as the third male lead. I really wanted to do it, but the company [TVB] didn’t want me to. They thought I should’ve been the second or even first male lead. The company was just looking out for me, not trying to suppress me.”
Steven will return to TVB in May to film for producer Leung Choi Yeun’s (梁材遠) period drama Property Protector <守業者> with friends Tavia Yeung (楊怡), Maggie Shiu (邵美琪), and Evergreen Mak (麥長青). When asked about his decision to return to TVB, Steven replied, “Ricky Wong [from HKTV] did approach me, but I hold more sentiments towards TVB. Even though I am filming for TVB again, I will only sign a per-series contract. I hope that I can make music and film dramas in Hong Kong while also making movies in mainland.”
This article is written by Katrine for JayneStars.com.