Taking the glitter off

November 20, 2022 - 08:00
Vietnamese divo Tùng Dương will hold a concert to celebrate his 20-year journey in music on November 25. The avant-garde singer talks with Thúy Hằng about the upcoming show and his family life.

Vietnamese divo Tùng Dương will hold a concert to celebrate his 20-year journey in music on November 25. The avant-garde singer talks with Thúy Hằng about the upcoming show and his family life.

All 4,000 tickets for Divo Tùng Dương’s upcoming concert were sold out. — Photo courtesy of the artist

Inner Sanctum: All your previous shows took place in a 1,000-seat venue. What made you decide to organise this year’s concert at the 4,000-seat National Convention Centre?

When I want to have a concert in such a venue with a more significant audience, I first need to understand my natural ability. For the moment, I'm confident that I have 'an army' of loyal fans [laughs] who follow every single step in my career. They understand my music’s motto, enjoy my music immensely, and never miss any of my concerts.

The fact that all 4,000 tickets were sold out after one month has proved everything. I am overwhelmed by the love of my audience. I think sometimes you need to take risks to move forwards in your life. And that’s also the way a man should mature.

Inner Sanctum: Launching new music products and doing shows is stressful. With this coming show, is the pressure different from before?

Year after year, my team and I are used to organising and producing concerts that present my music style. My production team has won three Devotion Awards [Việt Nam’s most prestigious music awards] for the Liveshow of the Year, proving that we are always active and creative.

We have been working hard and never stopped brainstorming to apply our creative ideas in all stages, from the central theme of a live show to sound and lighting effects, stage design, and repertoire. To say “I am ready”, I have to prepare very carefully. I'm a perfectionist who always knows what I want and how to satisfy my audience. The show next week is expected to be an amazing audio-visual feast.

Divo Tùng Dương feels free whenever he is under the stage spotlight and in his glimmer costume. — Photo courtesy of the artist

Inner Sanctum: In next week's concert, you will perform a new song composed by yourself. You said you are much more confident now. Do you intend to continue writing, even releasing an album of your own songs?

When I look back on my 20-year singing journey, there are so many memories I can never forget. It’s when the inspiration for the song Gieo Mầm (Seed Sowing) flashed into my mind. Like a tightrope acrobat who has to balance, the artist has to stand firm in any challenge and difficulty to receive applause. To be praised requires the artist’s effort and dedication to the utmost. He also needs to have great passion and determination.

I don’t want to be a good singer only because an artist nowadays should be multi-talented. If my new song Gieo Mầm is welcomed by the audience at next week's concert, I will spend more time writing other songs for myself. For me, composing is to test my abilities and evoke my hidden talent, not to become a composer. But who knows? First of all, I just keep trying [laughs].

Inner Sanctum: Young singers such as Lê Cát Trọng Lý, Bùi Lan Hương, and indie band Ngọt were guests at your previous shows. For the upcoming show, you have invited rapper Hà Lê, Vietnam Idol winner Uyên Linh, and emerging singer Tố Loan. What is the aim of such collaborations?

For most of my live shows, I also have two of my best friends, divas Thanh Lam and Hà Trần, whose friendship and experience have supported me a lot over the decades. While I have learnt a lot from those experienced friends, I can be inspired by the young ones, who always give me new energy thanks to their youth and talent. I don’t mind learning from those young singers who have created their image as multi-talented artists. They have their distinctive music style, so their performances have been and will add ‘different colours’ to my shows.

For the avant-garde singer, fashion helps to ‘declare’ his music. — Photo courtesy of the artist.

Inner Sanctum: Many young Gen Z people are said to have no idea who you are. Are you upset about this? Will you do something to make your music known to the younger generation?

A few years ago, it was confirmed that their parents had mainly heard my music [laughs]. However, thanks to the cover of hit songs that are favourites of young people, I have accessed more audiences, especially the young. Instead of being upset, I chose to take action. I think if I was not active in learning about the taste of the young, I could not expect them to know about me and listen to my music.

The number of young audiences listening to my music is increasing daily. I also have realised that I need to "rejuvenate" myself to stay fresh and energetic.

Tùng Dương and his six-year-old son. — Photo courtesy of the artist

Inner Sanctum: You have had much success over the past 20 years. How does a divo transform to be an ordinary husband and father at home? Can you describe yourself as a family man in five words?

A true man can be judged by how he treats and takes care of his family. When I take off my glittery performance costumes, I’m back to being an attentive and caring father who doesn’t hesitate to do housework and take care of my young son. I am doing my best to be a good husband and father. Big-hearted, self-sacrifice, humorous, strict, and hardworking are the characteristics that any husband and father need to have.

Inner Sanctum: Whenever you show up on the stage or in public, you don items from the world’s most exclusive fashion brands or by famous designers in Việt Nam. How important is fashion in your daily life and music?

Fashion plays an important role in creating the image of an artist because it presents his taste, style and creativity through which to ‘declare’ his music. Concert-goers now expect more than listening to my songs. They are curious to see what outfit I will have on the stage. I want to shine under the spotlight in my costumes – it’s when I am completely free on my musical planet. Dressing well makes me feel better, especially on the stage; it helps me to be 'supreme'. — VNS