Van Mai Huong, 17, was runner-up in last year's Viet Nam Idol. She was unfazed by losing out to Uyen Linh, and has since gone on to become a singing sensation. She shares with An Vu her philosophy on life.
Inner Sanctum: When you competed in the contest, were you under any pressure from your family and other competitors?
From the beginning, I joined the contest out of fun and a desire to learn from others, so I didn't feel any pressure at all. Besides, I received heaps of encouragement from my parents who always understood me and stand by my side. Before I joined the competition, my father even wished me luck and good health.
Other competitors were kind to me, so I totally forgot all my worries. Some have become my good friends.
Inner Sanctum: Could you tell me about one of your memories or experiences relating to the contest?
My most unforgettable memory is the surprise birthday party my friends threw for me. To be honest, I almost forgot my birthday until my parents called me. The day after, my friends at the contest surprised me with a birthday gift.
Inner Sanctum: You are the youngest contestant. What motivated you to join in?
Age doesn't matter once you have a dream. At age 48, Susan Boyle dazzled the world when she showed her talent in Britain's Got Talent. David Archuleta, who I shared the stage with in his recent tour of Viet Nam. David was about my age when he won the second award of American Idol. Also, my father told me to enjoy myself and not to worry too much. For me, I just needed to try my best before the judges, and more importantly, my fans.
Inner Sanctum: Have you ever experienced love? How can a teenager sing adult love songs like Troi Trong Guong (Dripping Through the Mirror), Anh Mai La (You're still the One), I Have Nothing, from Whitney Houston and Neu Nhu Anh Den (If You Come)?
I can not say that it is absolutely love but all of us have feelings for someone as a teenager, right? Theoretically, if you want to become a professional singer, you have to learn to borrow every single emotion of life, then turn them into your own feelings. By doing so, you capture the soul of the song and push it up. For me, I just need to be on stage, throw myself into the song and sing it with my whole heart.
Inner Sanctum: What do you think about the pop music market today? What about the online songs with nonsensical and unsuitable lyrics for Vietnamese culture?
It is totally normal. Pop singer My Linh, who is considered to be one of the divas of domestic pop music, used to say that everything has two sides, just as there is good and bad in the music market. Perhaps some youngsters think they will be famous if they can catch attention. It is true that these people have caught lots of attention online. But those in the virtual world do not exist for long.
Inner Sanctum: You received a lot of incentives from the judges of the contest and the audience, what do you think about that?
I am very proud, and I am trying my best to repay those who have offered support to me. I still have a long way to go, so I don't dare to say that I am a professional singer.
Inner Sanctum: How is your schooling going?
Not at all. At the moment, I'm studying at the Military's Art and Culture College. All of the directorial board and teachers have supported me so much, from the moment I took part in this contest. It has helped me to watch and learn more than I expected.
Inner Sanctum: What about your plans for singing and studying?
At present, I've just finished filming my video clip Neu Nhu Anh Den (If You Come) ready for my upcoming album. I am also concentrating on my studies, since I know I will lag behind if I don't.
Inner Sanctum: Type of music you choose for your career?
I think each kind of music has its own specific and unique attributes. I am still young and inexperienced so I can't sing romantic music right now. I want to venture into all types of music until I find my strong point. I'll let the music find me." — VNS