Putting the L in LGBT Music: Denise Ho

Last time I mentioned that the biggest lesbian representation in Asia seems to come from the Chinese related nations.However, the artist I featured then was not a known lesbian. This week is different. Denise Ho, one of the biggest musical celebrities in Cantopop (Hong Kong) is not only the first out lesbian celebrity in Hong Kong but also one of the most famous in Asia.

Denise Ho has been in the business for almost 20 years now. She got her start by winning the New Talent Singing Awards which led her to being mentored by her idol Anita Mui. She’s often described as the second coming of Mui. Denise’s music  focuses on dark themes, from mental illness to the negative facets of being gay. (One of her earliest songs, “Rosemary,” caused quite the stir in Hong Kong by being about a lesbian relationship.) Her music videos are often artistic and surreal.

In 2012 she officially came out as a lesbian at Hong Kong Pride. Until then she was often rumored to be dating fellow Cantopop superstar Joey Yung, although officially they’ve only been known as friends. (Yung is currently dating a man and has never insinuated any other orientation.)

Below is her popular ballad entitled “Infatuated,” highlighting her rich voice.

And here is her more uplifting song, “Initiate,” the theme song to a film. (She’s also an acclaimed actress, by the way.)