“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star Simu Liu is known for his star-studded acting career, his extensive stock photo modeling, his amazing humour, but a lesser-known talent of the star is his musical prowess.

As we celebrate, Asian Heritage Month, we take a look at the 34-year-old’s roots in music that stretch all the way back to his childhood.

How It Started

Liu’s musical origins stretch all the way back to his teen years, when he joined the short-lived high school group LX4.

“I was a part of a boy band when I was 12. I mean, nothing ever happened. It was called LX4 because all of our names started with L,” he later recalled to “Q'”s Tom Power in 2023.

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It wasn’t until 2013 that the actor would see his first role in the music industry when he acted in Avicii’s “I Could Be The One” music video.

Liu played a suited-up corporate employee, perhaps a nod to his extensive career as a stock photo model.

It wouldn’t be his last time in a music video as he also served as Pete Wentz’s stunt double in the 2014 music video for “Centuries”.

Later on the singer would give the public their first taste of his singing chops in-between filming for his breakout role in “Kim’s Convenience”.

In 2018, Liu shared a jam session where he did a mash-up with friends of the 2013 hit “Hold on, We’re Going Home” and Daft Punk’s single from that same year, “Get Lucky.”

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Fans would get a glimpse of Liu’s singing again in 2019 during an Instagram Live, where he showed his love for K-pop with a cover of Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips”.


His Foray Into Music

The actor’s first official appearance on a record would be on the soundtrack for “Shang-Chi”, where he lent his vocals to “Hot Soup.”

The project was overseen by record label 88rising, who agreed to work with the actor for his music career after working together.

Speaking on the pivot into music at the age of 34, he expressed his excitement on “Q”.

“I’m about to turn 34 and putting out music for the first time. It’s a bit of an interesting feeling. But, you know, age is just a number you guys! People can have career changes or new careers,” said Liu.

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He would continue to showcase his musical talents at every opportunity, like at the 2019 Asian American Awards where he sang the opening song.

The Singles He’s Put Out

Aside from “Hot Soup”, fans finally got another taste of original music in April of this year.

Liu released his piano-driven ballad “Don’t” on April 7.

“This song was written for all of the hard times in my life where I have questioned my worth and felt like an imposter,” he said of the track on Instagram prior to its release.

He also promised fans this wouldn’t be the last time they heard from the singer, teasing, “more to come soon.”

His Junos Performances

The two-time host of the Canadian Juno Awards showcased his singing talent with special performances during each occasion.

During his first appearance at the 2022 show, he surprised the audience when he pulled out a guitar and did a short parody of Avril Lavigne’s hit track “Complicated”.

During the 2023 show, he delivered again with a complete medley of the Canadian singer’s greatest hits this time.


A Potential Album?

After his 2023 Junos performance, a reporter asked the actor what songs he would choose for a hypothetical cover album.

He chose John Legend’s ballad “All of Me,” “Go the Distance” from the soundtrack of Disney’s “Hercules” and “Lose Yourself” by rapper Eminem.

“This album (would) make no sense, but it (would) be amazing because I will have had a lot of fun doing it,” Liu joked, via The Star.

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Like his first “Complicated” parody, hopefully that joke will soon lead to an amazing follow-up as fans eagerly watch his musical career.

For now, fans of the actor-turned-singer can enjoy sporadic performances like Liu’s bro-Country bop version of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” on “That’s My Jam”.