Dubbed a “divo” of Vietnamese contemporary music, singer Tùng Dương picked up three awards at the 16th Devotion Music Awards held recently by the Vietnam News Agency’s Thể Thao & Văn Hóa (Sports & Culture) newspaper. His album Con Người (Human) was named “Best Album of the Year” while his concert of the same name won the “Show of the Year” award. Dương was also selected as “Singer of the Year”. His concept album Human has 12 songs composed by songwriters Duy Hùng, Bùi Caroon and Sa Huỳnh, and was unified by a theme of being dedicated to earthlings.
DISTINCT: Tùng Dương is known for his diverse musical style. Photo courtesy of the artist
Inner Sanctum: How do you feel about picking up these three awards?
I had already won 10 Devotion Music Awards so I went to the ceremony in a relaxed mood. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I didn’t win anything. Many young artists were nominated this year, so an award would have been encouragement for their efforts.
It was really pleasing to win the three awards, and I think I deserve them. I worked hard over the last year, though it’s been a tough time for everyone around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic. My team and I did our best to create works of art, in music videos, new songs, a new album, and live shows.
I was among a range of artists who were active and quick in helping the community last year, during the pandemic and then the disastrous floods in the central region.
Inner Sanctum: You are now a leading singer in Vietnamese music and are also involved in many concerts. Why did you decide to cooperate with younger artists on your most recent projects?
I have performed with the young band Ngọt and young singers Bùi Lan Hương and J Ducky. On my latest album Human, I worked with young producers and musicians like Sa Huỳnh and Bùi Caroon. They are emerging artists and very talented. They have different styles and their music is rich in philosophy. Young people always have a certain energy.
I believe that professional singers can learn from both veterans and younger artists. When you strike a balance between inspiration from the old and the new, you can paint your portrait completely.
Inner Sanctum: Do you have any tips on protecting your voice?
After many years as a professional singer, I recently learned how to properly take care of my throat and found a good doctor for my larynx. I don’t eat much hot and spicy food or drink fizzy drinks. I also practise singing every morning.
IN TRIBUTE: Tùng Dương sings at a recent concert in Hà Nội dedicated to the music of Trịnh Công Sơn. Photo courtesy of the artist
Inner Sanctum: Which artists inspire and motivate you the most?
I listen to many artists from around the world and have various idols, which is maybe why I have a diverse style. For example, I love Sarah Vaughan when it comes to jazz, Whitney Houston in pop, experimental artist Björk, and rock musician Peter Gabriel.
Inner Sanctum: Out of family, music, and your personality, which is most important for you?
It’s hard to choose. All are important and integral parts of my life. I have received huge encouragement and support from my family, which enabled me to reach my peak. My wife has a good sense of art and aesthetics. She is one in the team who help me define my performance and fashion style, making me stand out from other singers. She also gives me advice on album covers and live show stages.
Inner Sanctum: What are your plans in the immediate future?
After the outbreak of COVID-19 and social distancing measures, I think we all realised the importance of social networks and the internet. I will launch a channel next month, where I livestream programmes called "Tùng Dương and Friends". Each episode will have a theme. Diva Trần Thu Hà will perform with me in the first episode. VNS
TWO OF A KIND: Tùng Dương and Trần Thu Hà together in concert. Photo courtesy of the artist