Coco had first gained recognition when she won first runner-up in the 1993 New Talent Singing Awards with her own rendition of "Run to You". A local record company noticed that Coco's voice stood out aside from being the only contestant to sing in English. The following day, Capital Artists asked her to sign a contract with their label.
Coco is the first to perform in the Oscars, singing the Academy Award nominee for Best Original Song, A Love Before Time from the movie ''Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'' in the 73rd Academy Awards.
Coco also provided the voice of Mulan in the version of Disney's animated feature of the same name.
Coco's music has been influenced by genres ranging from , hip-hop, R'n'B, adult contemporary and soul. While her releases have often received mixed critical reception, she is renowned for her East-meets-West music and sultry vocals. She has also been nicknamed the "Asian Pop Diva" and "Asia's Mariah Carey" by the and due to her worldwide success, critics called Coco the "Best-selling Female Artist" of the continent.
In 2001, ''Asia Weekly'' magazine named Coco as one of the most powerful people in Asia on their Power 50 list.
Early life and discovery
Born in Hong Kong with ancestry from Harbin, China, Coco is the youngest of three children. She has two elder sisters, Nancy, who was her manager before, and Carol. Her father died when she was young, and Coco moved at the age of ten with her mother and sisters to San Francisco, California. She went through school while experimenting with her singing voice, and followed her elder sisters in entering several local singing contests. She attended Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School in San Francisco. Later on, Coco had a brief enrollment at the University of California Irvine. Coco is close to her mother, who managed her career before.
After Coco's high school graduation in 1992, she took a vacation in Hong Kong, to see her two sisters' participation in the Miss Hong Kong Pageant, and while there, she came first runner-up in the 12th Annual New Talent Singing Awards. The following day, she was approached by the record label, Capital Artists.
After winning in the 1993 New Talent Singing Awards, Coco was approached by Capital Artists and asked her to sign a contract with them. She made her debut on June 15, 1993, with her compilation album, "火熱動感 LaLaLa" . A year later, she worked with Fancy Pie Records. In 1995, Coco signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment. Rumors came out that her mother paid $350,00 to end Coco's contract with Fancy Pie Records and transfer to Sony; however, Coco stated in an interview that Sony had bought out her contract. It has also been rumored that Sony hired top lawyers to ensure that Coco's move to Sony was seemless. In 1998, 550 Music represented Coco with her stateside debut album, Just No Other Way and in 2005, released her second English album, ''''. Since then, Sony Music Entertainment continue in handling her career.
CoCo sang the song "A Love Before Time" for the movie ''Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon''. She received worldwide exposure when she performed the song live at the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony. Critics commented that she hit the high C6s right on, and delivered solid vocals.
In 2002, CoCo was the featured performer at a Houston Rockets game. She became the first Chinese singer to ever perform the at a major global sporting event.
In addition to her status in the music market, Lee's English-language performance has also received recognition. Her love song ''Before I Fall In Love'' was included in the soundtrack of the movie ''''.
She was invited by Andrew Lloyd Webber to perform ''Phantom of the Opera'' in China.
Also, Walt Disney Pictures hired her to sing the theme song and be the voice of the heroine Fa Mulan in the Mandarin version of ''Mulan''. She recorded the song "Reflections", which she also sang in the 2005 opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland. A "Reflections" Mandarin music video was also filmed. While the Lea Salonga English version is widely known, Coco also sang the English version, including one which she performed together with Lea.
The success of her concert in Taiwan in 1998, second to Michael Jackson in terms of audience, with more than 30,000 people who watched, caught the attention of Sony Music United States and Tommy Mottola.
Coco has also been getting into acting. She co-starred in the Chinese comedy movie, ''Master of Everything'' with John Lone, which won the Best Foreign Film award in the 2005 Beverly Hills Film Festival. While in character within the movie, she sings one of her own songs, "Di-Da-Di", which was the cover of Maria Montell's "And So The Story Goes."
In the world of fashion and commerce, CoCo was an Global Ambassador in 2004, and fashion house Chanel named CoCo its first "Asian-Pacific Celebrity Ambassadress". This brought Ferren's story full circle somewhat, as she got her nickname from being an admirer of the firm's products. CoCo, as the YouthAIDS ambassador had been to Bangkok, Thailand for the global AIDS conference in 2004. She attended the conference as the representative of the Asian artists to meet various youth groups discussing what she can do to educate them about AIDS.
In early 2005, CoCo visited countries all over Asia to promote her latest album "Exposed". During her visit in the Philippines, she guested in SOP and performed the songs Do You Want My Love and I Will Survive with Asia's Songbird, Regine Velasquez. It was remembered that CoCo humbly introduced Velasquez as the "Diva of all Divas" during the MTV Asia Awards back in 2003. CoCo, together with pop singer Shaggy hosted the show while Velasquez won the trophy for the second time in a row as the Philippine's favorite artist.
In June 2005 CoCo's engagement with Canadian businessman Bruce Rockowitz was made public, apparently having taken place some months earlier. Despite their 18 years gap, Coco's mother approved the marriage. Before her relationship with Bruce Rockowitz, Coco has been rumored with the Taiwanese singer Wang Leehom.
As of 2007, CoCo Lee has yet to break the U.S. market with a big smash hit single. Although both her English albums have sold modestly, regular airplay and recurrent airplay by radio programmers is still lacking. This is the main reason she has not been as successful with her English language output. Her moderate hit single, "Do You Want My Love", remains popular at discotheques and various internet radio stations. Her most recent English single aimed at the North American market is titled "No Doubt", the lead single from the album ''''. Once again because of lax programming on radio station playlists, this single was ignored by radio. The singles have become chart and video television hits in Hong Kong and Taiwan among other places. The second single from "Exposed" is the song "So Good" whose music video is increasingly run on Hong Kong and Taiwanese MTV.
Coco's follow up album to her C-Pop hit album "Promise", titled "Just Want You", features the hit single "Hip-Hop Tonight" with Vanness Wu, which follows in the same vein as "No Doubt." The album "Just Want You" was released on September 22, 2006. The second single from the album was "The Ninth Night", followed by the third single "Love You At 85°C" and the final single, "Dangerous Lover".
Coco Lee returned to San Francisco bay area for a live concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on September 22, 2007 with special guest Alex To. It was her first live performance in her hometown in several years.
"I really idolize everything my sisters do, so I went into singing contests and won also. That's how I really got into singing."
"People liked my voice so much, it was so different. I also combined the R&B feel with the pop music of Taiwan. Everyone there used to sing really conservatively-they sing to the melody and that's it. The music just sounded so dead. I wanted to bring the R&B flavor and other Westernized sounds to my music, because that's the type of music I grew up listening to."
"When I work, I work. I don't think about anything else. I just wanna get the work done. And I'm a perfectionist."
"They cannot imagine what I'll sound like. But always when I'm done singing, people are very surprised."
;Fancy Pie Records releases
*June 1994: Love From Now On
*June 1995: Brave Enough To Love
;Sony Music releases
*March 1996: CoCo 李玟
*November 1996: CoCo's Party
*June 1997: Everytime I Think of You
*January 1998: DiDaDi
*July 1998: Sunny Day
*May 1999: Today Until Forever
;550 Music release
*November 1999: Just No Other Way
;Sony Music releases
*August 2000: True Lover, You and Me
;Sony BMG release
*September 2006: Just Want You
Chart-topping hits and singles
* "Di Da Di"
* "Take A Chance On Love"
* "Do You Want My Love" Hot Dance Music/Club Play: #49
* "Before I Fall In Love"
* "Can't Get Over" feat. Kelly Price
* "Wherever You Go"
* "A Love Before Time"
* "No Doubt" feat. Blaaze
* "Love At 85°C"
* "All Around The World"
* "So Good"
* "Hip-Hop Tonight"
* "Brave Enough To Love"
* "Another Sad Love Song"
* "The Ninth Night"
* "Dangerous Lover"
* "A Love Before Time"
* "I Have a Dream"
*The Best Of My Love
*D. IS CoCo
*1994-2008 Best Compilation