1,000 feet above Hong Kong with 032c, JESS CONNELLY catches some me-time.
Marooned in the sky-bar of the Upper House Hotel – the hyper-refuge that rises out of Hong Kong like a giant USB stick – Filipina RnB singer Jess Connelly waits for her night to start. Just two hours by plane from her hometown of Manila, Hong Kong is the perfect place to hide out in a glittering mall-scape. If a liquid-crystal touchscreen were a place, it would be Hong Kong. “But we don’t normally come this time of year,” she says, without explaining why.
Anyway, the city has a funny relationship to time. Its streets buzz with the silent ring of high-frequency trading. Its downtown is a rim of skyscrapers that casts spikes of shade onto a Jurassic-looking island. The special economic zone’s contract with China is set to expire in 2047, a deadline that hovers over the city like a tropical rain cloud ripe with anxiety and hedonistic abandon: In 30 years, who will be the sovereign of this small chain of islands and its 12 Gucci stores?
But Connelly isn’t preoccupied. Calm is her direction right now. At home in Manila, she is part of an emerging hip hop scene, and teamwork makes the dream work. “When I click with a producer we usually click very well as friends, too,” she says, a tone that carries through in her songs. From her concise output – one EP and an after-hours single – you can tell she is not pressed by anything outside her music. There is no killer rain cloud she is trying to ignore. For now, her plan is to go to one of Yeti Out’s events. “They throw the best parties, so if you’re keen to head out, check if they have something on while you are in town.”
Text Ben Barlow