News

Hong Kong pop star Greg a Gympie boy

INTERNATIONAL STAR: Gympie’s Greg Rivers on stage in Hong Kong.
INTERNATIONAL STAR: Gympie’s Greg Rivers on stage in Hong Kong. Contributed

FAILURE was never an option for the Hong Kong pop star from Gympie, Greg Rivers - a man with a career so unusual it could only have happened by accident.

The former James Nash High School student moved with his parents to Katoomba, near Sydney, in 1980.

He might have been a doctor had he not become fascinated at university by the Cantonese language and the way such a complex tonal language interacts with music.

Greg Rivers spoke to The Gympie Times from his Hong Kong home this week.

"I went to the University of New South Wales in 1973  and met people from Hong Kong while I was living at a dormitory called International House.

"We just clicked," he said.

"I came into contact with the Canto pop songs, lost interest in medicine and decided to be a pop star.

"I started learning Cantonese from singing along with records.

"I worked at three different dish washing jobs and as a brickie's assistant, saved $1000, got a one-way ticket and I was on my way.

"I stuck to the one-way ticket because I didn't want to give up if things got difficult."

Canto music is like a Chinese version of 1960s British pop music.

"It's just perfect for me," he said.

"Hong Kong used to be a British colony and in the 1970s, the bands were doing Cliff Richard and the Beatles songs, and a few people started using the same kind of melodies, with Cantonese words.

"With English you can put the words anywhere you like, but Cantonese is a melodic language and the meaning changes with the intonation, but they succeeded and it became popular.

"They have big concerts with 10,000 people each time. And they do 40 concerts and reach 400,000 people.

"When I got to Hong Kong in 1987, a local agency was looking for a Caucasian actor who could speak Cantonese.

"My audition was a disaster, but I was the only one who turned up.

"That was the start of 20 years on Hong Kong television.

"For a Caucasian to be able to speak Cantonese well enough to be able to act on TV is extremely rare.

"We were doing episodic soap operas and the sight of a Caucasian speaking Cantonese struck a chord with the Chinese people, even if I was struggling at the start.

"I had a lot of tight times, but I never wished for a ticket home.

"This is my home. I don't care how hard it gets.

"The people here have accepted me as one of their own and I'm not going anywhere," he said.

"I started singing Canto songs professionally five years ago.

"I had a lot of bad singing habits and had to do singing exercises."

And the rest is history, an unusual history for a boy born at Gympie Hospital.

Gympie Times

Topics:  hong kong james nash high school



Facebook bans ads for pregnancy services

Midwife Amanda Bude is having difficulty advertising on Facebook as they continue to ban photos of fully dressed pregnant women. Amanda is pictured working with Haley Hughes, who is 9 months pregnant, on a hypnotherapy birth.

Advertisements with baby-bump photos are being deemed too offensive

MY SAY: So you have a QTAC offer, eh?

UNIVERSITY: Plenty of people don't make it to graduation so it's a good idea to do your homework before starting a course.

Before you accept that QTAC university offer really look into things

Was Pauline Hanson really invited to Trump's party?

Pauline Hanson

One Nation senator Brian Burston will now attend the inauguration

Local Partners

Bushfire threat continues months longer than expected

UNSEASONALLY hot and dry weather has firefighters on alert as dangerous bushfire conditions extend nearly two months longer than usual.


The Amity Affliction's overdue homecoming

BACK IN TOWN: THe Amity Affliction play the Gympie Civic Centre on Friday night.

After 10 years away from Gympie, the local legends are back.

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

What's on in Gympie this weekend and next week for Australia Day?

Check out the Gig Guide for a couple of fun ideas for Australia Day, including a family friendly event at the Jockey Club Hotel.

All the action in Gympie for the Gig Guide this weekend.

The Amity Affliction's overdue homecoming

BACK IN TOWN: THe Amity Affliction play the Gympie Civic Centre on Friday night.

After 10 years away from Gympie, the local legends are back.

Married At First Sight: Ipswich bachelor seeks love

READY FOR IT: Ipswich man Simon McQuillan will appear on the upcoming new season of Married At First Sight.

Romance would top off recovery for Booval man

Dinky-di Denyer: Family Feud favourite hosts Oz Day party

Grant Denyer will host Channel 10's Australia Day concert from the Sydney Opera House.

GRANT Denyer shares his Australia Day traditions ahead of concert.

Chelsea Handler blames the Kardashians for Donald Trump win

Chelsea Handler pictured in a scene from her talk show in Los Angeles.

TALK show host blames rise of reality TV family for election result.

Law & Order’s Trump inspired episode is still in limbo

The cast of Law & Order: SVU season 18, from left, Kelli Giddish, Raul Esparza, Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T and Peter Scanavino. Supplied by Channel 10.

SHOW'S mastermind unsure if or when twice-delayed episode will air.

50 Shades of Bli Bli: Adult theme park plans revealed

THE MIND BOGGLES: Potential buyers of Sunshine Castle at Bli Bli have considered a range of different themes, including an 'adult entertainment venue'.

Sunshine Castle looks to new, prosperous future.

Ipswich block of dirt sells for $582 a square metre

JUST SOLD: A property on the Brookwater golf course sold for a record-breaking $612,000.

Property smashed 2007 record by close to $100,000

Sunday auction for historical home

Former Catholic school sure to attract spirited bidding

Looking back, looking ahead in Noosa

NEVER-ENDING GLORY: Looking towards Laguna Bay and Hastings St from Noosa National Park.

Natural appeal of Noosa continues to attract buyers

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!