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Coco Lee
CoCo Lee at Shanghai 2013718 (cropped).jpg
Lee in 2013
Ferren Lee

(1975-01-17)17 January 1975
Died 5 July 2023(2023-07-05) (aged 48)
Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong
Occupation Singer, songwriter, actress, dancer
Years active 1992–2023
Bruce Rockowitz
(m. 2011)
Musical career
Origin British Hong Kong
Genres Pop, C-pop, dance-pop, hip hop, R&B, soul
Labels Capital Artists
Fancy Pie
Sony Music Entertainment
550 Music
Sony BMG
Warner Music Group
Universal Music Group
Chinese name
Chinese 李玟
Birth name
Chinese 李美琳

Ferren "Coco" Lee (Chinese: 李玟; 17 January 1975 – 5 July 2023) was a Hong Kong–born American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actress. Her career began in Hong Kong and later expanded to Taiwan and internationally. Lee had released 18 studio albums, two live albums, and five compilation albums, including her first English-language album, Just No Other Way.

Her single, "Do You Want My Love", received international attention, entering the top 50 of the US Billboard Dance Club Play chart and the Australian Singles Chart. Lee performed "A Love Before Time" from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at the 73rd Academy Awards, becoming the first Chinese American to perform at the Academy Awards. Lee was also the first Chinese ambassador for Chanel.

Early life

Ferren Lee was born in Hong Kong on 17 January 1975, the daughter of a Hong Kong Cantonese mother and Malaysian father. She had two elder sisters, Nancy, who later became her manager, and Carol. Her father died before she was born. When she was nine years old, her mother brought her and her sisters to live in San Francisco, where she attended Presidio Middle School and Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School. The summer after graduating from high school, she was offered a recording contract in Hong Kong and attempted to juggle her burgeoning career there with her studies at the University of California, Irvine, but eventually left after her freshman year to concentrate on her pop career.


Career beginnings and Sony Music: 1992–1998

After Lee graduated from high school in 1992, she returned to Hong Kong to see her sisters participate in the Miss Hong Kong Pageant. While there, she took part in the 12th Annual New Talent Singing Awards and was the first runner-up, singing Whitney Houston's Run to You. The following day, Capital Artists offered her a recording contract. She made her debut by appearing on several compilation albums, such as Red Hot Hits '93 Autumn Edition (火熱動感93勁秋版). In 1994, working with Fancy Pie Records, she released her first solo albums in Mandarin, Love from Now On (愛就要趁現在) and Promise Me (答應我). In 1995, she released an English language cover album, Brave Enough to Love, as well as her third Mandarin album, Woman in Love (被愛的女人). In 1996, Lee signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment and her subsequent album, Coco Lee became the best-selling album of 1996 in Asia. In 1997, she released the Mandarin album Sincere as well as a self-titled Cantonese album. In 1998, the Mandarin album Di Da Di was released and sold 1 million copies in less than 3 months.

International collaborations and English debut: 1998–2005

From her next album Sunny Day, "Colors" was used for the opening of the Football World Cup, and the song "The Answer" (答案) for the Chinese movie Bishonen. In 1998, she was hired by Walt Disney Pictures to sing the theme song "Reflection" (自己) and voice Fa Mulan in the Mandarin version of Mulan. In August 1998, Coco performed in Taiwan to a concert audience of more than 30,000 fans, the second-largest concert audience in Taiwan (a feat that only Michael Jackson has claimed in the past). She also performed in Michael Jackson's "Michael Jackson and friends" charity concert. In 1999, under 550 Music, Lee made her debut Just No Other Way, which included the hit, "Do You Want My Love". Her love song "Before I Fall in Love" was included in the soundtrack of the movie Runaway Bride. She also recorded a duet called "Can't Get Over" with singer Kelly Price. Lee recorded the charity singles "We meet the future" and "Hand in hand" for SARS with other artists including Wang Leehom, Stefanie Sun, Elva Hsiao, and Jolin Tsai. In Asia, she released a Mandarin album You & Me. By 2000 she had released 20 albums in Asia and had sold 7.5 million copies of her albums in that continent. In 2001, Lee sang the song "A Love Before Time" for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which she performed at the Oscars. Her album Promise Coco was released in October 2001. In 2002, Lee released her remix album D. Is Coco (Dance Is Coco). She sang an anti-tobacco song called "From the Beginning 'til the End" (煙絲萬縷) with singer Jacky Cheung. She sang the anti-racism song "A Dream of One" with Korean singer Jin Young Park. In 2003, she performed with Shaggy at the "MTV Asia Awards" in Singapore and also presented the show with him. Lee co-starred in the Chinese comedy movie Master of Everything (自娱自乐) with John Lone, which won the Best Foreign Film award in the 2005 Beverly Hills Film Festival. In 2004, as the Youth AIDS ambassador, she attended the global AIDS conference in Bangkok, Thailand as the representative of the Asian artists to meet various youth groups discussing what she could do to educate them about AIDS.

Second English album and Warner Music: 2005–2011

076 Coco street concert mod
Lee (on the left), performing "Hip Hop Tonight"

In 2005, Sony BMG released her second English album, Exposed. Lee's next Mandarin album, Just Want You (要定你), was released on 22 September 2006. In 2008, Lee was chosen to sing one of the Olympics songs, "Forever Friends", opposite Sun Nan. She changed her record company from Music Nation in order to work with Warner Music Group (Taiwan). On 14 August, she released her new Mandarin album East to West (CoCo的東西) with Warner Music Group. It contains the songs "Party time", "Turn" (流轉) which is the soundtrack of the movie "The Legend of Silkboy" (世博总动员-湖丝仔) for the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and "BYOB" ("Bring Your Own Bag") a song to encourage people to bring and recycle their own shopping bags to save the environment. She recorded the song "Smile Shanghai" (微笑上海) with other artists including JJ Lin, Andy Lau, Jam Hsiao, and Jane Zhang for Shanghai World Expo 2010. On 27 March 2010, Lee began her "East2West" World Tour Concert in Taipei at Taipei Arena. She performed at the Encore Theatre in Wynn Casino in Las Vegas on 3 and 4 July, then in Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on 2 October and in Nanning on 16 December. In March 2011, Lee was one of many artists participating in the recording of "Artists 311 Love Beyond Borders" (愛心無國界311燭光晚會) official theme song called Succumb not to sorrow (不要輸給心痛) in Cantonese version. On 7 April 2011, her song Dreams on oriental seas (梦在东方的海上) featuring Sun Nan was broadcast. It was named as the theme for the 14th FINA world championships, that took place in Shanghai on 16 July 2011.

New album: 2011–2023

On 8 June 2011, Lee announced that had she set up her own studio. On 25 June, her song Four seas alliance (四海盟約), the theme song for the 2011 China television drama All men are brothers (水滸傳), was broadcast. On 17 December 2011, she performed at "Booey Lehoo Concert" in Beijing with and from The Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, and Shunza. On 9 February 2012, she performed at the TRANS4M Boyle Heights benefit at Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles with, and Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas.

Her album Illuminate (盛開) was released on 31 May 2013 with Universal Music.

In 2016, she competed in the fourth season of the Chinese reality show I Am A Singer, although she admitted that losing her voice to bronchitis in 2014 had affected her singing ability. However, she recovered and participated, going on to win the competition, making her the first non-mainland Chinese singer to do so. Lee later returned as a guest singer for two more seasons (now rebranded with the new title Singer); on the fifth season during the biennial concert, and on the sixth season as with a guest performer for Jessie J, the eventual winner of that season.

Personal life

Lee married Canadian Bruce Rockowitz on 27 October 2011 in Hong Kong; the Jewish ceremony included performances by Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, and Ne-Yo. For her wedding, she recorded the song "I just wanna marry u" (Chinese and English version), which was released on 24 October 2011. She had two adult step-daughters from her husband's previous marriage.


On 2 July 2023, Lee was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital in an unconscious state. She died at the hospital three days later, on 5 July 2023, at the age of 48.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Coco Lee para niños

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