One of Viet Nam's most successful exports, Bang Kieu has enjoyed a career spanning 22 years and fronts a popular band in California. He talks to Le Ha
about his success and recent comeback performance in Ha Noi.
With a beautiful, soulful and enticing voice, Bang Kieu has enjoyed a great success during his career in Viet Nam and overseas. His music and song selections are exquisite compilations which accumulate resonate in the soul of every listener.
Born in Ha Noi on July 13, 1973, into a family with entertainment in their blood, Kieu is a famous Vietnamese singer. He and his family currently live in the US. He has released numerous albums since arriving in the States.
Last month, Kieu performed two live shows in Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi with divas My Linh (his first love), Hong Nhung and Minh Tuyet . It was his first performance in Viet Nam after nearly a decade singing overseas and created the music fever in Viet Nam that has marked the stamp of class on his stellar career.
Inner Sanctum: What were your thoughts on your recent two night sell-out performances?
I was really surprised and moved by the domestic audience's affection for me. After a singing career lasting 22 years, this was the first concert which was long enough to make me feel nervous. I counted every second to the moment of singing on Lan Anh stage and the National Conference Centre. When I was in Viet Nam, there were no such great performance stages. My feelings were mixed.
Inner Sanctum: How was it different from previous times, when you did not sing, but instead sat in the audience and improvised a few tunes when the MC discovered you?
The feeling was very unique. As I said, this was my first official concert. Singing a few sentences, songs or even singing for a few hours are the same. But as it was my own concert, I wanted it to leave an unmistakable mark, at least on myself.
Inner Sanctum: Many people tell me that you are overseas star and you were reluctant to come back for fear of losing your aura?
I would like to receive the title of "star" with sincere thanks. But I want to be the star of all Vietnamese music lovers. There is no boundary in art and music. I'm living happily with my family in the US, but my voice and my music is ready to serve all people, regardless of where they are. "Losing an aura" is not as frightening as losing the value of the affection that I have received from everyone.
Inner Sanctum: Do you feel differently about the Vietnamese music industry now?
I spent part of my concert performing my golden age songs which received The Green Wave Award. In those days, the audience used to rapturously welcome new Vietnamese songs with live spirit. Now the audience's tastes have changed dramatically, music has developed into several branches and this has affected musical performances and entertainment. I also think it is a good thing, as it is the difference of the young generation and I support these new young faces. But subjectively, I still expect my music "to be more live", because it is the only thing that will never repeat. I have met and worked with young people who are passionate and determined to also pursue that direction.
Inner Sanctum: I think you have revealed and taken advantage of your singing voice more in recent years. I am sure you will not face any musical competitors from now on until the end of your life due to your unique voice. With your status secure, will you be taking it easy?
I am still grateful for what god has sent me. My voice can not be trained at school because it is totally natural. I think there is no point in seeking competitors, as a true artist must have his own unique style. Young singers should be encouraged to find their own path. And the audience should love all the artists who dare to dedicate and create their own path.
Inner Sanctum: What are the musical ambitions that you have not yet realised?
There are a lot of things I have not done yet. As I said before, music and art is one issue, but the stage is the most important part. Without a civilised and suitable stage, how do artists get to shine? I will continue to work with my crew to find unique musical concepts.
Inner Sanctum: Which artist is more interesting, "the constantly creative – making changes and challenges for listeners", or "the public artist – who aims to continually satisfy the public?"
Both deserve respect, because each has his own needs and specific audiences. There is only one thing that we should respect and support - the value of decent music. That means viewers must get what they deserve. Trivia and cheap fun should be got rid of so that people do not confuse these values. On the other hand, do not underestimate the audience who don't like your favourite music, as I said before, music is related to real life. Life has changed and so do people's taste in music.
Inner Sanctum: Is your first concert in Viet Nam a "happy ending" for your story, or the start of a new one?
This is just the middle page of my life book. Obviously, I am living at the age of 40, which is just halfway there, because a fortune teller told me that I will live up to 80 years old! — VNS