Mandopop princess Kimberley Chen highlights importance of sustainability and coexistence in new album Kiki

MALAYSIAN-Australian singer-songwriter Kimberley Chen has released her latest album Kiki, revolving heavily around the themes of sustainability and coexistence of living things in the world. Kiki is also the seventh album released by the Mandopop princess, who is based in Taiwan.

The title of the album is inspired by multiple interpretations of the same word in different contexts. Kiki is the main character in Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, representing a girl who is adorable but has a strong and independent personality, reflecting Chen’s own personality.

At the same time, “kiki” in Japanese has a double meaning of either “crisis” or “opportunity”. In Korean, “kiki” refers to a beautiful flower while in the West, the name “Kiki” carries the meaning of love without boundaries. At the same time, “Kiki” is also Chen’s own nickname growing up, having been very much a part of her identity since childhood.

Message of co-existence

From these multiple derivations, the album Kiki revolves around three main beliefs that Chen strongly feels about, the sustainability of the environment, animal rights and a common understanding between people of different backgrounds and beliefs. These core beliefs in turn culminate in the main theme of the album Kiki, which is “coexistence”.

This is a reflection of Chen’s own lifestyle. As she enters her 30s this year, she sees her priorities changing and an increasing desire to coexist with the world around her. Chen expresses this love through her daily actions such as adopting a vegan diet for the past 14 years and advocating for sustainability and care for our nature through the themes of this album.

Chen believes the songs in Kiki do not just represent the ideas of her as an individual but rather “us” as an entire existence. Through these songs, Chen hopes to convey the importance of coexistence amongst living things on this earth and how we as different species can live alongside each other.

Ace production team

In the production of Kiki, Chen also assembled a team of top producers and composers from across the world to achieve a sound that is of international standard. This includes the likes of Colombian artiste Bad Milk (BTS, Fisher, ZeroBaseOne, Afrojack), EDM musician Sweater Beats (Kimbra, Flume, Chet Faker), French multi-instrumentalist Jean Castel (Nasaya, Mosimann, Boris Way) and Grammy-nominated recording engineer Brian Paturalski (Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Leona Lewis, Britney Spears, G.E.M).

On the Mandopop front, Chen also sought out the best lyricists in the scene to pen meaningful statements aligned with the important themes reflected in the album. These include lyricists such as Lin Xi, Xiao Han, Arthur Ma, Huang Jianzhou and Jocelyn 9.4.0, who was recently nominated for the Best New Artist at the Golden Melody Awards.

Animal advocacy

Beyond the music and lyrics, the album’s main messages are also pushed through the music videos. In a clip for Love Me More, Chen partners with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to raise awareness on animal abuse that is rampant as humans continue to exploit animals in inhumane ways for our gain.

The music video shows Chen as an embodiment of nature, interspersed with shocking images and clips of animal abuse happening across the history of mankind and calling for a stop to such cruelty.

In the music video for Good on You, Chen adopts a more upbeat tone, expressing a love song that is written for the animals. The video mainly shows clips from Chen’s volunteer work at an animal shelter and her interactions with the animals. It also ends with her encouraging people to adopt animals from shelters instead of buying and raising awareness on the situation of stray animals with nowhere to call home.

Eco-friendly package

The theme of sustainability carries on to the album itself, with the physical copies coming in the form of a biodegradable envelope made with Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper that is environmentally and socially responsible. Within the envelope are 14 postcards containing the song information as well as Chen’s concept photos for this release. In these photos, Chen is portrayed in different nature-related themes, resonating with the messages in her music. To ensure full sustainability, there is also no physical CD within this album but instead, fans will be able to download the album digitally via an album card with a QR code.

Additionally, Chen is taking fan engagement to the next level, leveraging the latest AI technology to share her album concept with fans in a creative way. Fans can now engage in conversations with an AI version of her, in which she will invite fans to write lyrics on the spot to create a new song instantly using AI vocals. The conversation will also generate an AI cat avatar for the fans based on their responses and personality.

$!Chen stands for sustainability and care for nature through the themes of this album.