Remembering The Life And Work Of Coco Lee

Remembering The Life And Work Of Coco Lee
Remembering The Life And Work Of Coco Lee

Born Ferren Lee, but popularly referred to as Coco Lee, this public personality is one that will be sorely missed. Through out her career, Lee battled with her physical and mental health, and ultimately, it was her mental health struggles that claimed her life on 5 July 2023, at the age of 48. However, that’s not the legacy that the Hong Kong musician, actress, dancer, and singer left behind.

She made numerous contributions to the Asian and Western scenes altogether, stamping her name in the annals of time. Lee also garnered a lot of fans and accolades in her day. It’s on that platform that we remember the life and work of Coco Lee.

1. She Was Born Into A Multicultural Family

Coco Lee 1

She was born Ferren Lee in Hong Kong back in 1975 to Hongkonger Yeung Kam-Ming and a Malaysian father, Lee Kah Shing. Unfortunately, her father passed away sometime before she was born, so she never got to know him. However, she did have two older sisters, Carol and Nancy Lee. In fact, Nancy Lee, who used to be an actress, later stepped in as Coco Lee’s manager when she started her singing career.

2. Coco Lee Was The First Chinese Vocalist To Make It Big In The U.S

As far as Asian music in the Western scene is concerned, Coco Lee was a bit of a pioneer. In fact, she was the first Chinese singer to achieve mainstream success in the United States. It was her single titled, “Do You Want My Love” that garnered her maximum attention. The song itself hit number four on the Billboard Hot Dance Breakouts chart in the United States. But it didn’t stop there; the song also entered the top 50 of the Billboard Dance Club Play Chart and the Australian Singles Chart.

3. Coco Lee Was Bred In California

Coco Lee and Michael Jackson

While Lee was born in Hong Kong, she only spent the first nine years of her life there. Once she turned nine years old, her family upped and moved to California. In fact, it was there she completed her middle and high school education. The star had to learn English as a third language there and went on to enroll at the University of California, Irvine.

4. She Set The Stage For Asian Americans

It’s no secret that Lee broke many bounds for Asian Americans as a whole. In fact, she was the first Chinese American singer to perform at an NBA game. Even more, she was also the first to perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. She equally bagged the honor of being the first non-mainland Chinese artist to win the Chinese reality show I Am A Singer.

5. Coco Lee Sang In A Karaoke Contest To Pay For Damaging Her Mom’s Car At 17

Coco Lee

There’s something about youthful exuberance — it often gets people into trouble, and that was the case for Coco Lee. When she was 17 years old, she wrecked her mother’s car and needed to raise money to pay for the repairs. Luckily, she had the talent and initiative to do so as she entered a karaoke singing contest and ended up winning. She didn’t expect to have such a great time, but she did, so she decided to do it again and she won!

6. She Was Married To Bruce Rockowitz

The star was married to a Hong Kong-based Canadian businessman, Bruce Rockowitz. The ceremony itself took place in Hong Kong, and guests were treated to performances by the likes of Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, and Bruno Mars. Crowning the event was Lee’s original song “I Just Wanna Marry U” which was later made available to the public on October 24, 2011. However, theirs was not a story of a happily ever after as they separated and lived apart in the period leading up to her death. Some people pointed the finger of blame at her husband for supposedly cheating on Lee.

7. She Believes In Giving Back

Coco Lee

Coco Lee didn’t just contribute greatly to the entertainment scene but to the well-being of others as a whole. She served as a youth ambassador for UNICEF and played an active role in the organization’s efforts to advance children’s rights and safeguard their wellbeing. She was equally a supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The star was only an ambassador for the Organization for World Peace in China and the Cancer Fund’s Pink Ambassador. The latter was during Hong Kong’s first breast cancer survivors’ fashion show in 2016. Needless to say, she was never tired of being involved in the right causes.

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