With an irresistible take on living life to the fullest, Mars Siu-Hong Lei opens up about music, moments and Macau memories. Leading a busy lifestyle as a lecturer, conductor and vocal instructor at the University of Macau, he is also the director of Macau Jazz and Macau Vocal Associations. A performing artist, he takes immense pride as a guitarist. He describes his home as one with great artistic and cultural heritage more than you can imagine or think of. It’s a charming and cosmopolitan city that has definitely set its eyes upon the future.
Speaking to him about Macau Jazz Festival and its conception in 2012, making a mark in its fifth year, it truly has come a long way. He shares the pool of talent from international, regional performers and local artists that have converged in this spectacular affair that makes it an exciting time in Macau.
Did you always want to be an artist/performer?
I had a classical background. I sang in a church choir and I chose to study music in a deeper and more technical stage. I have always identified myself in that category so my answer is yes.
What do you think of music scene in Macau?
I think as an artist and on a personal note, there’s a long road ahead but I am trying to be optimistic. Macau is a special place and a lot of our ventures are organized by the government and associations are often sponsored. The small big city makes it hard for people to pay and make it geared towards something more commercial. It has its practical side and as long as we never stop creating venues and platforms to promote music then we’re all doing a great job.
What kind of advice would you give to a young musician?
As long as the music is your real interest and passion, I believe that you should concentrate and pursue it. People never expected Macau to grow and transform so much in the past decade. Now you can see how much it has grown and changed. I believe the Macau society is more aware of advocacies towards culture, arts and music. It’s truly developing and it’s a good thing. If the younger generation is more exposed to these kinds of scenario, it paves a worthy road for them to travel.
What motivates you every day?
I believe it’s in my nature to be closely attached to music. It came naturally for me to revolve my life around it. And I chose this path for a reason and I keep doing it because I love performing, teaching, promoting and these are all the things that make me who I am. I truly can’t imagine doing anything else. I find a great sense of exploration and fulfillment. I motivate myself by saying, “Be who you are. Follow your heart and mind”. Many people venture into this path to find themselves so the goal is to find yourself.
What do you love most about Macau?
“It’s small and I’m sure you’ve heard that often”, he laughs. “It’s a convenient place for anyone. You can get in touch with people easily which is what matters most.”
What’s your all-time favorite spot in Macau?
I am always on the look out for great spots but you’ll walk through Taipa and find amazing restaurants. I love Portuguese food so that’s always my direction when it comes to dining out.
Where would you take a friend who is visiting Macau for the first time?
The Macau Tower is one that should definitely not be missed. I think that the Guia Lighthouse always makes for an interesting visit so these two incredible spots are a good start for a sightseeing adventure in Macau.