A concert entitled Tiền Duyên (Predestined Love) will feature Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến as a recognised musician. He is also an architect and only found fame in 2005 when he won the Bài Hát Việt (Vietnamese Song) Award .
Đức Chi from Thể Thao Văn Hóa (Culture & Sport) newspaper spoke with him about his first live show.
Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến
How did you start songwriting?
My songs Bà Tôi (My Grandmother) and Giọt Sương Bay Lên (Dew Drops Fly) won the Bài Hát Việt (Vietnamese Song) Award in 2005. It is a prestigious contest that aims to discover talented musicians.
It was my first music award. Later, my songs Ông Tôi (Grandfather) and Mẹ Tôi Và Những Thị Xã Vắng (My Mother and Deserted Towns) won awards in 2016 and 2019, respectively. These songs are from a series about my relatives.
Maybe it's due to my architectural mind that I like writing song with themes.
Why has it taken you so long to do a live show?
In 1992, I joined a poetry group with writers such as Phạm Tường Vân, Vũ Duy Hưng and Lưu Sơn Minh. Most of the group went on to become professional.
I want to explain this because I started off writing poems and stories. This makes it easier for me than other musicians to write lyrics.
My first album was Giọt Sương Bay Lên. Many established musicians encouraged me to combine folk and chamber music. And I have the second album with A-list singers such as Tùng Dương, Anh Thơ and Trọng Tấn.
After that I went to study in France in 2010. I did live shows in France and Poland.
I pursue many things such as poetry, literature, music and travel. These things earn me awards and I am recognised by my profession. But I don't think I do very much.
I'm now 45 years old and my mother calls me every day. If I look at my life through the eyes of Picasso it is OK. My life is like a cubist painting.
Possibly, I will do a live show in HCM City after Hà Nội.
What can the audience expect at the concert?
I will play 20 new songs at the concert. Bà Tôi will have a new arrangement. It is risky but I'm confident. The song will bring the audience back to my native homeland. A boy was born, grew up and fell in love in the midland area of the north.
In the second part, I will focus on a time when I suffered from depression. I was unhappy in love, disappointed with life and did not have interaction. In the increasing density of a metropolis people become smaller.
This part will introduce the main song Tiền Duyên.
To finish I'll perform my oratorios including the latest ones I write for the puppet show Kiều. The show won gold at the International Experimental Theatre Festival 2019 early this month in Hà Nội.
This part will be the highlight of the concert with singer Thanh Lam.
Could you tell about your depression and how you dealt with it?
It was in 2016 when I'd just returned home. I'd received a scholarship to study in France, but I decided to leave when the course was nearly finished.
I had serious depression. Quite often people commit suicide when they have manic depression. I lived for a year as a monk. I became a vegetarian. I'm sentimental. I'm closed to my grandparents and my parents. When I was in France I was disconnected with them. Plus, I was stressed from studying.
Thank God my new baby girl in 2017 helped me to recover. When her new life began, it felt like a new beginning for me.
You are famous for Bà Tôi, so how do you deal with that?
I don't think this song is my best. It is the first song I released.
At the beginning I wanted musician Quốc Bảo to arrange the song. But I was shocked by the price of US$20,000. I thought that I'd rather buy a car than pay that sort of money for a producer. I met Bảo later and found out he had mistakenly wrote $2,000 as $20,000.
Bà Tôi becomes popular thanks to singer Ngọc Khuê. I actually wanted Tùng Dương to sing because the song is about a boy. I didn't think Ngọc Khuê was suitable, but she has made it popular. VNS