One of Asia's leading singer-songwriters, Mr. Dick Lee has earned an international reputation as the standard bearer of Asian popular music, the most dynamic on the music scene today. He was born Richard Lee and began classical piano studies at the age of five. He is a talented performer who acquired a broad musical outlook in the cultural milieu of Singapore, where a complex blend of Asian cultures reside, including Malaysian, Indonesian, and Chinese, as well as Western cultures, starting with that of Great Britain.
Mr. Lee's music blossomed as he sought his identity while laboring with the reality of speaking not Chinese but English, despite being of Chinese ancestry. He is enamored of the Singaporean dialect Singlish, and uses it in his compositions, deepening his cultural awareness. This and other examples of his approach of insisting on his own culture are extremely important activities for developing a music deeply rooted not just in Southeast Asia but in Asia as a whole.
He released his debut album, "Life Story", at the age of seventeen in 1974. It was the first album released in Singapore on which all of the songs were original compositions sung in English. Since then, he has continued to produce his original music in Singapore, an environment where mainstream music borrows from the music styles of other countries.
His Japanese debut came in 1990 with the album, "The Mad Chinaman", and was very successful. His follow-up releases, including "Asia Major" and "Orientalism", established his work at the highest levels of Asian pop music. With the musical "Nagraland", he displayed a wide array of talents by writing the script, composing the score, and performing in the lead role.
In addition, Mr. Lee has pursued a wide range of activities throughout Asia, including fashion design, performances with other artists, and the composition and performance of music for ceremonies and events in Singapore and other countries. His activities are expected to further expand in the future.
Using Singapore as his base, Mr. Lee continues to make substantial contributions to the development of Asian popular music. He has become a leader in the genre of Asian popular music for his consistent artistic expression of his homeland Asia. For these stunning achievements, he is truly worthy as a laureate for the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.