Sammi Cheng was born Cheng Sau-Man on August 19, 1972, in Hong Kong. She grew up with two older sisters and one younger brother. Throughout her childhood, Sammi and her family were devout Christians, a religious denomination she holds dear to her heart. “I love the influence by Christianity… and will often go to Bible study,” Sammi says.
In 1988, Sammi Cheng entered the New Talent Singing Awards competition, an annual televised event held in Hong Kong. She placed third in the competition, and although she did not take first place, the sponsor of the contest took interest in her.
Capital Artist signed Sammi in 1988 and before she even completed high school, she had already completed and released three successful albums. The album Sammi was released in 1990, Holiday in 1991 and Never Too Late in 1992. Each successive album outsold its predecessor, one of which remained on the Top 10 Albums of the Week Sales Chart for 10 weeks. The success of the three albums did not make Sammi an overnight celebrity, but she had gained recognition as a new artist to watch.
After finishing high school, Sammi Cheng made her feature-film debut in Best of the Best (1992). Her early experience in film mirrored her sudden impact in the music industry with its success: Sammi was nominated as Best New Artist for the Hong Kong Film Awards in 1992. Although she didn’t win, the nomination gave Sammi enough recognition to propel her into the film industry full throttle.
By 1996, Sammi Cheng had already completed five television dramas for Hong Kong audiences. She also released four separate greatest hits albums by the time she was 24. That same year, Sammi began to work on her second feature film, 100% Feel Right, at the same time she was working on releasing her next studio album, Worth It. The new album was with Warner Music, as Sammi left Capital Artists to sign with the new label to make a Mandarin-language project. The film and the album were both successful, so much so that Sammi released the sequel to 100% Feel Right called Feel 100%… Once More before the year was out. She also released two other albums in 1996, Can’t Let Go and Deep Passion. Sammi continued this mix of acting and singing through 2000, typically completing two or three albums a year and an equal balance of feature films and television dramas.
Sammi entered the 21st century with a bang. In 2001, she appeared in Wu yen, Fighting for Love and Love on a Diet. All three films garnered her with Best Actress nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards. This accomplishment had only been demonstrated by two other actors, Chow Yun-Fat and Anthony Wong. Sammi earned a Best Actress award from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. She then furthered the success of her film career, cranking out three to four films each year through 2004. She did the same with her music, releasing both Cantonese and Mandarin language albums.
In 2005, Sammi had one feature film release and no music projects. She became a representative for Veeko and Titus, a fashion and watch brand in Hong Kong, respectively. Sammi also began writing Sunday columns for Mingpao Magazine while she kept her creative juices flowing by drawing and painting. In 2006, she released another greatest hits album, but there were no new tracks from the artist. Sammi took a break from music and acting as she had done in previous years to recoup the energy it took to do that much work in the entertainment industry.