Read below about some of the biggest artists in the business before they come to perform in Hong Kong and Macau.


Candi Staton on the KKK, Studio 54 & End Time: The Signs Are Everywhere. "Picking cotton was very physical work, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to sing, I thought ‘there’s got to be a better way’. You’d be in the hot sunshine all day long filling a sack on your back and once it was full of cotton, you’d go back, empty it then start all over again. Read more...Your back would be breaking and all the time I’d be thinking ‘God, I’ve got to get out of this country; I’ve got to do something else, because this is not me.’”

Growing up dirt poor in the cotton-picking country of rural Alabama in the 1950s, legendary disco/ soul singer Candi Staton not only had to work from the tender age of 8 but also had to watch out for the very real threat posed by the Ku Klux Klan, whose headquarters was close to her home.

“I’ll never forget one occasion when I was eight and my mother took me to the city,” she recalls.

“I could already read then and on the way there you had to cross a bridge which had writing on it, graffiti, saying ‘Run, nigger run. If you can’t read, run anyway’. After I read it I was puzzled and asked my mother what it meant, and she replied ‘don’t look at it, don’t even worry about it’. That’s how we lived back then, under that constant threat.”

When her mother moved north to Cleveland when Candi was 10 (ironically to get away from her alcoholic husband rather than the Klan) she found her escape and destiny via singing, performing gospel alongside fellow upcoming singers including The Staple Singers, Sam Cooke and a young Aretha Franklin. Touring the States singing gospel she switched to rhythm & blues when still a teenager then disco in the 70s, never giving up singing however her life progressed.

And 43 years after she started her career, she’s nowadays recognised as one of America’s all time musical greats, her acid house anthem You Got The Love recently closing Sex In The City’s final episode while her best known hit Young Hearts Run Free is rightly hailed as all time disco standard. That she dreamed up the song after one of her many abusive husbands held her over a skyscraper balcony threatening to drop her, speaks volumes for a singer who’s truly translated her life struggles into soul.

“He had me hanging from my arms, the way you’d hold a baby, over the balcony, says Candi, recalling the horrific incident, which took place in a Vegas hotel.

“He was possessive and jealous, we’d been rowing and the argument escalated until he put his gun to my head, threatening to blow me away, then he decided to hang me from the balcony instead, saying that if I coughed he would drop me,” she continues.

“I remember thinking of ways to get out of this predicament when I said to him ‘You know, this is a mafia owned club and I’m here for them, if you drop me, you gotta’ get outta’ here or they will find you’. That’s what made him come back to his senses. He then pulled me up back over the edge, in a big sweat.

I walked back into the living room and went to lie down on the bed with him still pointing the gun to my head. He lay down next to me and you know what? I went to sleep. You know, you can only take so much, all of a sudden your mind just shuts down and I was in a state of mind where I couldn’t care less. That’s the way that story ended.”

Chatting down the line to Benedetta Skrufff this week, Candi’s actually delightfully upbeat about the trials and tribulations that have relentlessly coloured her life admitting she’s a firm believer in the ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ school of thought.’She’s also cheerfully honest about her lack of input in her new compilation CD ‘Candi Staton’ which features 26 blues based tracks she recorded with Fame Records in the 60s.

“Someone called me one day out of the blue saying that I had a new compilation out and that’s how I found out about it,” she laughs.

“As a matter of fact, I even wondered, why in the world EMI would want to dish all those old songs again, who’d want to but them? But EMI and Capital Records made this deal without me in mind, and what can I say, these things happen.”

Skrufff (Benedetta Skrufff): The sleevenotes of the album talk extensively of your childhood experiences singing gospel as teenager, how well do you remember your childhood?

Candi Staton: “Oh I remember it all very vividly; those were very hard days for me. We had to travel endlessly, sometimes several hundred miles for a gig, in some places we would have an audience and in others we’d be completely unknown. Usually we’d play two shows; one at 10pm, the other at 1.30am, but I never needed to rehearse because I knew my music so well, so at least I could rest until before going on stage. After the show, we’d go back to the car, travel more and do it all again the following nigh”

Skrufff: Do you find today’s artists work as hard?

Candi Staton: “No, I don’t think they do. I think they have a lot more going for them than we did. We had an expression: ‘paying our dues’ which was something necessary back then, in order to become successful. These days, all young artists need to do is to go on Pop Idols then right out of the nest they travel first class. We had to work to get there.”

Skrufff: When you were ten, you were touring with Aretha Franklin, what kind of places were you playing in and were you conscious then of her greatness?

Candi Staton: “We used to sing in the same churches together and she was extraordinary from the start, she knew it; we all did. We had no idea that she was ready to go and play secular music, though she had already made plans to do that. I was there with her, Sam Cooke and a whole bunch of others, so even when they became famous I could always walk into their dressing room, because they never forgot their gospel roots.”

Skrufff: So there wasn’t any competition between you all?

Candi Staton: “Oh yes, there was competition, very much so. It wasn’t anything to be ashamed of though it was good competition because it brought out the best in all of us.”

Skrufff: When you signed to Warner Bros. in 74 and moved to California, how much did you fully embrace the disco world?

Candi Staton: “I was really into it, because before disco touring was hard, and disco actually made our lives easier and more pleasurable. Live performances became easier, all you needed was a backing track, you didn’t have to take a band with you and you could make more money. I honestly welcomed it. Though I still had a band, most of the time I would perform solo and I was able to make more money.”

Skrufff: Wasn’t that disco world a bit too much for you, given that you were a young church girl coming from the Deep South?

Candi Staton: “Oh, I loved that world, I loved the dancing, the excitement, the people. I used to go to Studio 54 and stay there all night, I had my drinks for free, the DJs would recognise you and bring your drinks over, then ask you to dance. It was just a never ending party.”

Skrufff: Who did you hang out with?

Candi Staton: “Let me see, Stephanie Mills, Ashford and Simpson, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor who’s still my friend, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, you know we were girls out together.”

Skrufff: You had a worldwide disco hit in the 70s with ‘Young hearts run free”, am I right in thinking that was inspired by one of your husbands who hung you out of a skyscraper window by your feet?

Candi Staton: “Well, it wasn’t by my feet, thank God, he had me hanging from my arms, the way you’d hold a baby, from the balcony. I though he was going to drop me. He was very possessive, very controlling. I was recording a show in Vegas for a whole week, and in one occasion, he got angry at me because he couldn’t find me. I saw him walking up and down the isle, but I thought nothing of it so I didn’t call him or even say anything when I returned to the room. He then questioned me about where I had been. I tried to reassure him saying that I was watching the show being recorded, but he wouldn’t listen, we argued and argued, but he was already in another state of mind. The argument escalated until he put his gun to my head threatening to blow me away, then he decided to hang me from the balcony instead, saying that if I coughed he would have dropped me.

I was thinking of ways to get out of this predicament when I said to him ‘You know, this is a mafia owned club and I’m here for them, you gotta’ get outta’ here or they will find you’. That’s what made him come back to his senses. He then pulled me up, in a big sweat. I walked back into the living room and went to lie down on the bed with him still pointing the gun to my head, he lay down next to me and you know what? I went to sleep. I don’t know when he left, you know, you can only take so much, all of a sudden your mind just shuts down and I was in a state of mind where I couldn’t care less. That’s the way that story ended.”

Skrufff: there’s that famous Neitsche expression ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and you had your fair share with men, I believe . .

Candi Staton: “I totally believe in that expression, every man I’ve ever had turned controlling and possessive, that’s why I have none around now and I like to keep it that way.”

Skrufff: In 1982 you formed Beracah Records with Jim and Tammy Bakker's infamous PTL Ministries organisation, did you go through that whole born again religious experience?

Candi Staton: “Oh yes, and I still am a Christian, I still love worshipping the Lord, it gives me so much peace, I’m in a state right now that I wouldn’t trade for any money in the world, I have the kind of peace that I’ve always looked for. The Lord is my man now.”

Skrufff: Isn’t it sometimes tough to follow a religion so closely?

Candi Staton: “Having a relationship with the Lord is not a religion. I actually have a problem with religion too. Have you seen The Passion? That film explains a lot. It was religion, the priests, which killed Jesus, not the sinners.”

Skrufff: What happened when all the scandals hit the Bakkers in the 80s? (Jim Bakker was jailed for fraud, and notoriously had many affairs, including a gay relationship)

Candi Staton: “I felt sorrow, I felt a compassion for them because we can all get there, none of us are exempt from those sides of life. Sometimes we’re not ready for that kind of success, he was a country boy who was earning millions, if not billions of dollars, and went overboard and made mistakes. I was there for him, as a matter of fact, I even went to visit him in jail, I did a concert for the inmates and he was so grateful. Today he’s a different man; that’s another incident where what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Skrufff: You Got The Love sold over 2 million copies worldwide when the dance version came out in the early 90s, what was the story of how that came along?

Candi Staton: “Dick Gregory, the comedian from Chicago, originally had the song for one of his videos that he made for a diet program- he was a fanatic fruitarian- and asked me to sing it, so I flew to Chicago and did it. The video featured this young man, Ron Hey, who truly weighed a ton, who never lost his weight and eventually died very young. Nothing ever happened with the song, just like these songs I have now out on the Fame compilation album, but then one day I received a call from London telling me that I had a number one record. I asked what the name of the song was, and when they told me, I took me a while to remember the track, since I’ve sung so many in my career.”

Skrufff: Were you ever tempted to stop it being released?

Candi Staton: “Well, no one asked for permission either to use the track nor my voice, so we had to do something. The guy who gave the track away tried to hide the whole deal from me, thinking that I wouldn’t have ever known, not expecting that the track would have become so big. When it did he had to make some sort of deal with me.”

Skrufff: You were born into poverty and made music at a time when most performers got ripped off, did you make much money from these early records?

Candi Staton: “I am just beginning to now, I’ve recently hired a manager. He’s a businessman so he’s recouping this money owed to us which I didn’t get back then, but thankfully I’m getting now.”

Skrufff: As an evangelical Christian, are you also a Bush supporter?

Candi Staton: “I don’t like the war. But I have to respect him because he’s our president, though I don’t agree with everything he does.”

Skrufff: Do you believe in biblical style End Times coming soon?

Candi Staton: “Oh yes. The signs are everywhere: war, earthquakes, children killing children, the internet; everything is way out of proportion and this world cannot last in the state it’s in for much longer. Something has to change.”

Candi Staton (Fame Recordings) is out now on EMI/ Capitol.

Interview by: Benedetta Skrufff (

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Whence He Came Interview

One of the most recognizable bands in Hong Kong, Whence He Came, is releasing a brand new album, “The Shorter Story”. As we talk to lead singer Joshua and lead guitarist Ephraim, to catch up with what they’ve been doing through the years, and their advice on young-hopefuls in Hong Kong. Read more...The people in the Interview room are as follows:

A: Alyson (
J: Joshua (Whence He Came)
E: Ephraim (Whence He Came)

A:I remember the last time I saw was at the Starsailor concert, but the last time I talked to you was when you were promoting “Still Amidst The Traffic”…

J:Wow! 3 years ago!

A:What have you been doing for the past 3 years?

E:Recording this record… (giggled) I guess like playing shows and stuff…we’ve done a couple of tours outside of Hong Kong…

J:Done lots and lots of shows… we started recording the new album last September… and yeah, it’s coming out next month!

A:So where did you guys go for the last couple of tours?

J:We toured Japan twice, and we’ve done Singapore a couple of times, but Japan’s been the biggest for us, every single time we’ve gone over, we’ve got more and more… like bigger and bigger response. We don’t even understand why people like us, because bands over there are so good…

A: So what do you think of the fans in Japan?

J: People that come to our shows are really really supportive. I mean it’s just really amazing playing for Japanese people, coz they’re really appreciative, except, in between songs it’s dead silence…


J:Yeah… at the Japanese shows… I mean it’s loud and crazy, and then they applause, and then if you have too much of a gap in between, then it’s complete silence, nobody says a thing…

E:I don’t know if that’s such a respect thing, or… just that… they probably don’t like us… (LOL)

A: Tell us about the new album!

J:It’s called the “Shorter Story”, it will be available in stores starting from the 1st of May.

E:It runs for about 40 minutes, and songs that we’ve been playing them through our shows in Hong Kong for about 2 years now. Most of them are new songs… I guess it’s a lot of big stuff compared to “Still Amidst The Traffic”, coz we’ve progressed a lot. Like we’ve got 2 new members for the band. And yeah… so much better than the first one!

J:We were able to get a really amazing producer from Holland, his name is Martin Groeneveld. And he’s worked with bands like This Beautiful Mess, and The Spirit That Guides Us… some incredible Dutch bands and European bands, so he flew over here and produced the album, and we mixed and mastered it in Holland. So… it’s an amazing experience.

A:Do you feel like sometimes it’s hard to put your own experience into the songs?

J:Yeah, totally! In fact, I haven’t written a single song for Whence He Came which used the word I in it, coz I just feel really weird writing about myself or writing about me.. so I usually try tot make all the songs stories of somebody else, maybe me, or may not be me… at least it doesn’t sound like I’m arrogant and writing about myself.

A: How would you encourage people, especially young people to stand up and do their thing like you did?

J:Phew… that’s an interesting question…

E:Go for it! I guess… do it while you’re still young… and just grown you get old, and you have a family… how much of a choice of doing it coz you’ll have to sacrifice a lot…

J:Like you said were still young, we still live with our family, we don’t really have… you know, not really have entered the whole real world…

E: We don’t have mortgage and rent and all that stuff…

J:Just go for it… if you enjoy music, do it. If you enjoy art, do it. Hong Kong is pretty hard if you’re doing art stuff, but as long as you enjoy it, then just do it.

A: Have you ever got to a point where you’ll go, “Uh, I regret doing this…”?

J: To be honest? Not really.

E:No, never.

J:I can say firstly it’s been the biggest step in my life, the most life changing experience, like starting a band and getting elsewhere and stuff. I never really pictured myself when I was 18, like… you know… touring places and playing shows and playing for fantastic people. I’ve been having the ride of my life.

E: Yeah!

J:I think one thing that I’ll say to most kids is that, figure out what you really love in it. And if you really love it, then give everything for it!

The new album is in stores from the 31st May, while the band will be doing more touring in Europe later this year.

Check out their website at:




Just like the Boogie Night Crew, this is the first time for Andre to leave his hometown of Paris for the beautiful city of ours. Apart from buying mobile phones, watches and crazy stuff, Andre bought the people’s love by his cute graffiti of Mr. A!! Here, we bring you the interview with this smooth criminal who would go to court, just to declare his love on the walls!


Alyson: Hey Andre, how you doing?

Andre: Good, ready for tonight!

Alyson: So you’ve just arrived, or have you been here for a few days?

Andre: Oh I arrived 4 days before, first time here, I’m so happy, I’ve just discovered the city, I really felt in love with HK.

Alyson: Tell me where you went!

Andre: Like… not really far from here, Mongkok…

Alyson: Oh! You’ve probably went to the street market!

Andre: Yeah, I went to that park that’s errr… all the fake stuff, that’s too much for tourists… I didn’t care about that… Nah I went to all the small malls… where all the young people from Hong Kong go to… those small shop, very specialized shops…

Alyson: Before you arrived, what did you expect?

Andre: Something like this… but not as crazy, I like there’s a kind of mix between like… modern things… old things… for me it’s kinda like the future will be like in Hong Kong.

Alyson: I know you’re really good at what you do, which is graffiti arts, how did it all started?

Andre: Oh it started when I was like about 13-years-old, was like the middle of the 80’s, I was just a kid you know, I had some spray cans and some markers, I used to walk around in Paris, and draw on the walls, just draw my name! And it was kind of a game, just write my name everywhere, in most places I could get.

Alyson: Wow! Did you get caught for it??

Andre: Ahhh… yeah, many times, was in court, I tried not to get caught, but sometimes, it happens.

Alyson: Well, what motivates you to stick to this?

Andre: I don’t know! You know, the 1st day I just draw on the wall, I felt something like.. I don’t know… it’s about freedom or something very powerful, I couldn’t really explain but I just had to do it. Even today, 20 years later, I’m still doing that, I’m still drawing on the walls outside at night, you know… it’s part of my life, I need it, it’s my energy!

Alyson: Tell us what’s your trademark!

Andre: Yeah, I have my icon it’s called Mr. A, who I usually draw a lot on the walls… but I also have many different work!

Alyson: I’m looking at this gallery book of yours, every one is so different, and it’s all like names!

Andre: Yeah, it was a project I called ‘Love Graffiti’, and I used to be like… a public writer, and people can order from me to write the name of their lover, so I used to go and draw the name of the girl or the guy, just nearby where they live, so when they get up in the morning, they’re up in their window, and they saw their name, in huge brightful colored letters, and that was a kind of declaration of love, and that was doing part of all the projects I made, I made about more than 100 different names, and that was a work!

Alyson: Now with all your experiences, there’s gotta be one or two pieces of work from yourself which you can just not forget, or you can just take that one out and be proud of!

Andre: Yeah… I’m proud of about everything I make… that’s good, yeah!! I make some crazy things, I made like… I painted the wall, that was like 400 sq meters big, all by myself, it took more than one month…

Alyson: Wow!

Andre: I KNOW! And I made a Mr. A giant! Was like one the building, and (that) was like more than 20 floors high… in Paris… all illegal… (giggle) that’s doing part of graffiti, I have a few… different things like this that are quite big…

Alyson: You’ve done crazy things like these, do you have anything in mind that you still haven’t done, but you’d die to do it!

Andre: Yeah! Paint a plane, up-going… that would be one of the great things I would love to do, I would also love to paint a really really big wall on a really high building. That’s gonna be something…

Alyson: I see you’ve been doing a lot live events, which combines your graffiti to music.

Andre: Yeah, I do that sometimes, I made it for HK, I used to do it when I was much younger, nowadays, I don’t always have the time, but for this occasion, I’m good to do something special.

Alyson: Speaking of music events, do you like music?

Andre: Yeah, actually I produce some music in Paris, and it’s part of my life, graffiti is always about music, dance, it’s about today’s life, it’s not just one thing, it’s not just art, or drawings, it’s just a complete universe.

Alyson: It’s like a whole culture.

Alyson: Now, before I let you go, everybody from our website they’ve all been waiting for this moment, they all want me to ask you to do something for our HKClubbing Radio… would that be ok??

Andre: Of course! I can do a small drawing for you!


Tokyo’s #1 House Party crew, the Boogie Night Crew, took the time to get on this journey to educate the people of Hong Kong, what Full Entertainment is. 10 members of the crew, including the 3 sexy Boogie Ladies, the 4 Boogie DJs who play insane sets, flew in just to provide a night for us with the most outrageous performances! When two of Asia’s busiest cities meet, we here as the host, should be polite enough to thank them with this - “Arigatou”!!

A: Alyson

Y: DJ Yan

D: DJ Daruma

H: Hidehisa Hara (Organizer)

A: Welcome to Hong Kong, are you all doing?

All: Yeah!!

A: I need you to correct me if I’m wrong… Konichiwa!!

All: Right right… Konichiwa!!

A: So what do you think of Hong Kong so far? You been here before?

D: No no no… first time…

A: First time? D’ya like it?

D: Yeah yeah!

A: What can we expect from the Boogie Night event? I know you’re playing…

D: Ehhh… (Our) style is house music, but not just house music, we like funky bass-line, (but we have 4 DJs, so we have different styles…) Like Daruma, me, my house style is not just funky house, (there’s) hip-hop flavor, electro flavor, and Rock’n Roll flavor, so that’s my house style.

Y: My style, basically French House, Rock’n Roll… and Romantic!!

A: Romantic?

All: (LOL)

A: That sounds like 3 different things? How do you mix them all together??


A: If you can play anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?

D: I went to Korea last Christmas, and I need to go to Europe…

A: Cool. Before you come to Hong Kong, what did you expect?

H: I think… of course this is the first time for us, I think Hong Kong is a very exciting city, we love European culture, and Hong Kong has many many English culture, I think England, Chinese culture mix, very interesting… and exciting city… and the town is very very beautiful, and people are so hot, and I think the music is very hot…

We came to Hong Kong this time with 10 people, so all the Boogie Night staff are here together, we want to tell HK people, our flavor, Tokyo #1 house party flavor, want to know if we feel the same thing together!

A: Compare Hong Kong to Tokyo, is it still very crazy and busy?

All: Yeah!

Y: People!

A: The people… yeah, people never walk, they run!

All: Yeah yeah yeah!!

A: Now, I have never been to Tokyo, what would you tell me to make me wanna go to Tokyo even more?

D: Tokyo is a mixing culture of two, American and European, and Japan. But this is the original Tokyo flavor. Tokyo’s crowd scene is so big, so many crowds in Tokyo, big crowds and small crowds, everybody likes night clubbing, so young culture of night clubbing, and everybody DJs! There are so many record shops, everybody goes to record shops and (look for records)!

A: How did the whole Boogie Night idea come together?

D: Boogie Night started since last year, and we like hip-hop style in Tokyo, but hip-hop is very (commercialized) in Tokyo, we like danceable music, in the world, maybe last year, the mainstream was dance music, maybe funky house style, we like funky bass-line music, so we went to many kind of crowds in Tokyo, house music, techno music, and the good (feedback) is funky house, is ours!! Sorry… I’m not speaking very good English…

A: So what would you like to bring back to Japan from Hong Kong? It can be just an object, or it can be very spiritual…

H: Especially, tonight’s party is very cool and beautiful… so many beautiful people will come, clubber people, we are the people of Tokyo club people, and every weekend we go clubbing… stylish clubs, French clubs… I wanna know the worldwide people, the clubber people, the stylish people, I wanna know the culture, the club culture in HK, and maybe we can see the very good culture of Hong Kong clubbers!

D: (Taking his camera out)

H: The people are very kind, I think the town is very exciting!

A: I hope you would enjoy your stay in Hong Kong, and good luck with the show~!


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