two years ago it seemed impossible to switch on a radio – or, for that matter, any kind of electronic device – and not hear the sinuous and insidious rhythms of “Blurred Lines”, performed by Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams. The song was a monster, a chart-topper across the world and one of the biggest-selling and most-played singles of all time; it also, however, stirred up a wasp’s nest of controversy. There were allegations that the lyrics promoted date rape, and accusations by members of Marvin Gaye’s family that the recording copied the “feel” of “Got to Give It Up” (a jury found in their favour in March this year, much to the bemusement and consternation of musicians, critics and millions of fans, who rightly wondered how anyone could copyright a sound). To cap it all, Thicke’s marriage fell apart.
Some would say that with issues like that it’s little wonder that Thicke disappeared from the limelight almost as fast as he appeared. Yet as the 38-year-old singer-singwriter explains in this month’s cover story, he wasn’t so much licking his wounds but simply doing what he’s done very successfully for the past 21 years, which is staying in the background, working in the studio and writing and producing hits for himself and others (a long list that includes names such as Mary J Blige, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Usher). The results of that recent endeavour includes a new album that’s pretty much in the bag, and a collaboration with Flo Rida – “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” – that’s not only rocketing up the charts, but also looks as if it has the makings of yet another another global summer anthem. In fact, far from being down, it looks as if Thicke is on the rise once again; our interview with him begins on page 96.
Elsewhere in the magazine this month we introduce the dynamic young bloods whose efforts in business, culture, recreation and sport are making their mark on this city (“40 Under 40”, page 107). We plot the life and times of Sonia Rykiel, the Parisian designer who appeared to embody the rebellious spirit of Paris in the late 1960s, and whose eponymous label looks set to enjoy a renaissance (page 84). We meet the founder of Hong Kong-based firm Aedas, which has steadily but quietly grown to become one of the most successful architectural practices in the world (page 136). And we sit down to chat with acclaimed director Ann Hui, who over more than four decades has chronicled the social development of this city as few other filmmakers have (page 140).
As always, we hope you enjoy the magazine, just as we wish you a marvellous and memorable July.