Update: May, 11/2016 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

Musician Đức Hùng is among the winners at the 11th Music Devotion Awards held recently by Vietnam News Agency’s Thể Thao & Văn Hóa (Sport & Culture) daily.

Hùng won the Musician of the Year award for his song titled Thật Bất Ngờ (It’s Very Surprising), which also fetched him the Song of the Year award.

Đức Hùng, 26, only emerged on the scene following his participation in Giọng Hát Việt (The Voice of Vietnam 2013), and since then has turned to songwriting and producing. He is best known for the song Bác Làm Vườn Và Con Chim Sâu (The Garderner and the Flowerpecker), a sassy number stylistically inspired by musicals.

Culture Vulture interviewed Hùng about the awards and his career.

Why did you thank singer Mỹ Linh (an A-list pop singer of Việt Nam) when you received the trophy at the award ceremony?

From my heart of hearts I want to thank singer Mỹ Linh. Although I have met her only a few times as a contestant at The Voice of Vietnam 2013, I was deeply impressed by her. Mỹ Linh was one of the judges at the contest and she gave me tips on how to sing better. She encouraged me and other contestants a lot.

I learned a lot from Mỹ Linh and I would like to tell her “I don’t want to disappoint you.”

Do you think your song Thật Bất Ngờ has become more popular thanks to the performance by singer Trúc Nhân and the music video (MV) producers?

Yes, Trúc Nhân and his team presented the song successfully. I was surprised by the idea of the MV. I’ve known Trúc Nhân for a long time and I understand him well. He has always prepared for something well. The MV producers did not disappoint me.

Could you tell us about your nickname "Mew Amazing"?

I love cats very much. I call myself "Mew". When I come back home and hug my cat I forget all my exhaustion.

"Amazing" refers to my desire. I want to do amazing things with music. My desire is to write musical works which will be known outside Việt Nam. I want people around the world to be surprised by the works of Vietnamese people.

Writing music helps me express my emotions. When I finished the song Thật Bật Ngờ I felt relaxed. The song is a means for me to let out my emotions.

I want to write a song which features entertainment and philosophy.

How did you turn your dream into reality?

I spend most of the day reading, listening and watching. The writing time is not much, about 45 minutes. I write music once a week. I am crazy about reading and listening to music.

The South Koreans have been successful in portraying their traditional culture in their music works. Vietnamese music typically depends on the orchestration and the musical instruments.

Vietnamese instruments are very unique and enable musicians to write Vietnamese music pieces with distinctive characteristics.

Every year my parents and I visit the family’s house of worship in the former royal capital city of  Huế. I appear too modern to get influenced by the ancient culture in the city. But in reality, the oriental lifestyle of my family has impacted me strongly.

Although I follow many music genres from around the world, I will always write music pieces based on my oriental roots.

During your first days when you decided to get into music, you did not get the support of your family. What made you determined to become a musician?

My mother bought a guitar for me in 1995 for fun. But my father didn’t want me to get into music because he was afraid I would not earn enough money in this field to support myself in the future.

I studied a foreign language and became a staff member in one year. But I felt bored at work and began to think seriously about music.

I quit my job and met many musicians hoping to learn music. But no one agreed because I was an amateur.

My career really took off when my song was awarded at the television show titled Bài Hát Việt (Vietnamese Songs). My first award at Bài Hát Việt was three years ago. I want to dedicate the Music Devotion Award to my parents who have always been beside me and have supported me a lot.

How did you -- a young city dweller -- write the song Bác Làm Vườn Và Con Chim Sâu, which fetched you your first award?

I love Broadway-style music and Disney’s works as well. I see meaningful messages in Disney’s pieces.

I wrote the song based on a children’s theme story. Listeners will find a deep meaning in the song. — VNS