With a unique gritty voice coupled with precise singing techniques, singer Le Quyen is achieving success in bringing back the pre-war genre of music. The queen of music lounges talks to Khac Thi about her unusual choice of music style and her first live show, Q Show, which took place last December.
Inner Sanctum: It took you 15 years to stage your first live show, such a long time for such a talented singer. Was that your intention?
In the last 15 years, I have sung and done everything as planned, but I did not force myself to do anything. For music, I think it is best to let everything happen naturally. Now my ripe period has come. Of course, there are many difficulties, so I have spent much time preparing and delaying. However, I think it is a perfect time for me to conduct Q Show so I can repay the affection audiences have bestowed on me over the past 15 years.
Inner Sanctum: You said you do not scramble in the music industry, which seems prudent, because your silence can stand out among the boisterousness.
Each artist has his or her own reaction to showbiz and the environment he/she is working in. I do not consider myself a prudent artist, but a reserved one. That is my personality. I do not intend to keep silent to stand out, because timely and appropriate speech positively influences the artist's image.
Inner Sanctum: You are considered a queen of music lounges. Do you know the reason for that success?
I think "The queen of music lounges" is a very affectionate title. I will try to work harder to deserve it. In my opinion, each artist has his own special space where he or she is most outstanding, and my voice is suitable for a cosy atmosphere. I don't think that I will limit myself within that title. I plan to keep searching for various spaces to shine.
Inner Sanctum: To be honest, without the music lounge as a platform (and your husband's financial support), would you have been able to achieve your current success?
Every success has its own reasons and contributing factors. I do not deny the role of my relatives, who keep backing me. However, if I sang like a machine and did not satisfy music lovers, would money help?
Inner Sanctum: This was also the first time you performed ca tru (an ancient genre of chamber music featuring female vocalists, with origins in northern Viet Nam) in your live show. Was it an experiment to add colour to your show or a new direction for the future?
When an artist experiments, it often arouses the audience's curiosity. I prefer experiments, like the first time I sang bolero, to safety. Adding new colour to my live show and trying a new direction are both correct answers. I also need time to realise what is suitable and what is not. But it is certain that the ca tru performance in my live show was not just for fun, as I prepared the vocals very carefully.
Inner Sanctum: For an artist, indifference to the public is not always a good thing. You rarely appeared in the newspaper for a long time, but recently your image has appeared frequently. What led to that change?
Having time for my family and for myself means a lot to me. Therefore, I have been quite quiet for the past few years and performed little. But I have not been indifferent. I have still kept observing the showbiz world every day to keep up with new trends.
Recently, I have appeared more, because it is time I showed off a little about my 15-year journey and about all my happy and sad stories and dreams, as well as the live show that I have expected for so long.
Inner Sanctum: You said that singing pre-war songs has changed you a lot. Can you elaborate on how it has changed you?
It has changed my thoughts and emotions. As time elapses, everyone, including me, has to adapt to the surrounding changes. The way I sing pre-war, emotional songs is different from that in the past, not because I understand them more thoroughly or differently but because I have taken up different roles. A mother and a wife with more responsibilities will understand more about the value of her own love, affection and happiness. That change makes me feel happier. Strangely enough, the happier I become, the more feelings I have when singing.
Inner Sanctum: You have a happy family life, which seems to contrast with your mysterious and emotional singing voice.
That is an unexplainable phenomenon. When I sing, the person singing is me as an artist. At that moment, the emotions expressed in the songs do not belong to a happy woman performing in front of the audience, but me in memories, or in another time. Therefore, the audience will see a totally different side of me. I think it is the most wonderful thing I could do for my singing dream. — VNS