|Hard road: Young singer Quoc Thien, winner of Vietnam Idol 2008, has faced many obstacles on the road to fame. — VNS File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — Many young, talented singers who win first or runner-up prizes at famous local singing contests end up facing obstacles, and sometimes losing their way, in the race to fame.
Tia Hai Chau had the best advantage after winning the reality singing contest Toi La Nguoi Chien Thang, which was based on the format of the Dutch show The Winner Is…, organised by HCM City Television (HTV) and Dong Tay Promotion in 2013.
First with Universal
She was the first Vietnamese singer to sign a record contract with internationally acclaimed Universal as part of her prize.
Nearly one year after her win, Chau released a debut single titled Out of Control last June.
"I've spent a long time on improving my singing skills and choosing the right song to highlight my voice," said Chau, a native of Da Nang City.
The song, composed by musician Duong Khac Linh, features Chau's music style of pop, hard rock and alternative rock. The lyrics are about the singer's challenges to follow her dream, which has moved thousands of music fans.
The single earned Chau a nomination for Favourite Music Video in the 2014 HTV Awards, which HTV gives to artists who have made great contributions to the local entertainment industry.
Five months later, the 22-year-old released her own song, a sad ballad titled Nguoi Toi Yeu Muon Quen Toi (My Lover Wants to Forget Me) with a gentle melody and moving words about a woman who was broken-hearted after an affair. But it did not receive high praise from critics and fans.
Since then, the singer has not released any music and rarely shows up on the music stage. Her absence caused many fans to question whether she would continue to follow a singing career.
"I love Tia Hai Chau's voice during The Winner Is… and always follow her," said Tran Dang Quang, a student at HCM City's Asia-Europe Vocational School.
"I know it takes a lot of time to make a quality music product, but I hope to see Tia soon," he said.
Like Chau, pop singer Quoc Thien rose to fame after winning a TV contest, beating more than 15,000 competitors in the Vietnam Idol singing contest, organised by the Viet Nam Television and BHD Company in 2008.
Despite a strong voice, good-looking appearance and an award, Thien's road to glory has had many obstacles.
The Dong Nai Province-based singer released his debut album Hat Cung Toi (Singing with Me) right after his win. The album featured Latin pop music but did not have financial success.
After the failure, Thien stopped appearing in music programmes or projects.
"The failure helps me work harder and harder to gain fans' hearts again," said the 27-year-old singer.
Between 2011 and 2013, he continued to introduce two albums and several singles, but it seemed not to work.
In 2013, Thien joined The Winner Is… contest aiming to rebuilding his fame, and stopped at the semi-final round.
At the beginning of the year, he worked with famous musician Duc Tri to produce his latest album Tinh Khuc Mot Thoi (Everlasting Love Songs), consisting of 13 songs composed by veteran composers like Trinh Nam Son, Duc Huy and Quoc Dung.
"The album's songs fed my soul when I was young. They reminded me of the past with its unforgettable and sweet memories," said Thien.
With the album, Thien received a warm welcome from both audiences and critics.
"It took me several years to find my music style. I expect timeless classic songs are my right choice in making an impression on fans after a long time of not succeeding with modern music," he added.
Many young singers, including Ya Suy, winner of Vietnam Idol 2014, and Ngoc Anh, runner-up of Vietnam Idol 2007, poured their heart and soul into singing at the contest.
But they also faced challenges in following their dream, and have given up on a music career.
In an interview with local media, Nguyen Hai, production manager of Dong Tay Promotion, said the awards were only a springboard for singers.
"The singer must still work hard to win audiences' hearts," he added. — VNS