Cantopop star Eason Chan returned to Kingston today, to receive an honorary degree for his outstanding achievements in music from his old university.
The multi-award winning singer, who quit his architecture course in 1995 to pursue a music career, was among hundreds of Kingston University graduates receiving their degrees at the Rose Theatre today.
Speaking at a specially-arranged press conference after the ceremony, the 39-year-old said: “I’m actually very moved, and a little nervous. I’ve been nervous for months, and I don’t know why.
“I’m really glad to be here, to share my joy with my family.
“I have a crew of about 30 people here today.
“I’d like to thank Kingston University for the education and this certificate. To graduate here amongst all these other graduates – I just love to see their eyes and their smiles.
“I can see a light there, and this whole world becoming better and better.”
Eason Chan addresses a packed press conference at the Rose Theatre
Chan moved to the UK from Hong Kong in 1986 at the age of 12, where he attended Dauntsey’s Boarding School in Wiltshire before joining Kingston University as an architecture undergraduate in 1993.
In the summer of 1995, he returned to Hong Kong and entered the New Talent Singing Awards, which he subsequently won.
The victory propelled him to stardom, in a career which has seen him record 46 albums and win almost 200 Asian music awards.
But, understandably, it left him no time to finish his architecture degree.
Almost 20 years on, Chan said of his honour: “This really encourages me now.
“I feel I can move forward, it’s so refreshing, I’m being reborn.
“You can get a bit stuck up when you’re doing the same thing, and the same questions are being asked, and you throw out the same answers. It’s not healthy. I think change is always good.
“I’m still not quite used to be called Dr Chan or Dr Eason. I think with this doctorate I have something to look forward to now, and something of a responsibility as well.
“There’s no excuse now – I’m a doctor of music. I’ve never come across anyone who became a doctor of music.
“Education is one of the most important things in life, and I will keep learning, and try to be a good doctor.”
The Cantopop star said his honorary degree would allow him to 'move forward' - but he had no regrets about quitting the uni 19 years ago
Asked whether he regretted leaving the university before graduating, Chan said: “Honestly? No, I don’t.
“I went back to Hong Kong for the summer in 1995, and entered the competition.
“There was a contract I had to sign and they informed you that if you win it’s most likely you’ll get signed and have to make a decision about what you were going to do.
“I came back to Kingston and spoke to the Dean. He suggested if you’re not really dedicated to it, if you’re not really ambitious enough, you should make a choice. And so I made a choice.”
Asked by the Surrey Comet what kind of architect he would have made, Chan said: “It’s very hard to imagine now.
“I guess I’d just try and make the world more beautiful. A nice place to look at.”