Đinh Mạnh Ninh, a singer-songwriter who has been making music for more than a decade, first gained popularity with his heartfelt ballads about love. Recently Ninh made a comeback with a new, more up-to-date record in the genre of groovy and disco funk. Reporter Hoài Thương speaks with him.
Inner Sanctum: Do you believe the music you're engaged in has a small audience?
Perhaps it's because I have a bit "odd" character. Neither the current fads nor the way people describe them as "trendy" hold much sway on me. I tend to be more curious about unusual and unorthodox topics than the general public. Put in the time, energy, and resources and you'll reap the benefits you want. With enough skill and fortitude, the bitter berries of adversity will one day taste sweet.
|Đinh Mạnh Ninh has built a reputation for himself with charming love melodies. Photo courtesy of the artist|
Inner Sanctum: You have launched the new album "Make It Together" eight years after the release of Vol.2 "Run" in 2014. Why such a long hiatus? And why the disco funk genre? You appear to be challenging yourself?
I've always believed that a person's "material" is determined not just by age, but also by their life experience.
Eight years is not a long time to make a significant shift. It is, in my opinion, a well-deserved era of experience. It introduces new musical ideals. Calling it a self-challenge isn't exactly wrong, but I believe it's more of a natural growth based on my personal desires at my age.
Unlike the eighteenth and twenty-first days, I am no longer a boy who daydreams about beautiful love. Now that I've been through a lot of challenges, I hope that I may remain resilient, enthusiastic, and upbeat so that I can enjoy life to the fullest. I want to spread that optimism, stir up enthusiasm, and motivate others around me who, like me, have struggled at some point.
And I believe the disco funk rhythms that helped me will inspire many others as well.
|Đinh Mạnh Ninh (centre) and the album 'Make It Together' production team. Photo courtesy of the artist|
Inner Sanctum: What more can you tell us about your newest album, "Make It Together"?
I am blessed to have Thành Vương as a music instructor, a longtime friend, and a big brother. He had major musical effect on who I am now.
Vương and I have decided to collaborate on a studio album in 2019. After 2 years of pandemic lockdown, we began working in early 2022, and after 4 months and over 800 hours of production in the studio, we had our achievement named Make It Together.
I like to think of the song's melody and the lyrics as the skeleton, and the orchestration as the flesh, if we were to personify music. A song is inextricably linked to its arrangement. If the music is well-arranged, it will give you chills or maybe make you cry.
Vương's arrangement not only completes the concepts in my demos, but also fills in the emotional gaps in the songs on the Make It Together album.
Vương meticulously plans the use of instruments in a mix. Some songs' synthesiser sounds, for instance, are the result of his playing 30–40 tracks to assure the song's depth and spatiality. The absence of these elements might render a mix shallow and make it challenging to get the listener to the "right point" in their emotion.
Again, I want to emphasise how pleased I am with this album's setup and how confident I am in projects that include Vương's input.
Inner Sanctum: If you could go back in time to 2022 and change one thing, what would it be?
If I could change one thing in 2022, I would start planning the production of visual products and the marketing of Make It Together sooner, perhaps even when I was preparing to produce the audio part.
After an 8-year gap from releasing a studio product, the preparatory phases are significantly different from my first two albums, and I also require time to adapt to new situations.
Inner Sanctum: What are your plans for music and life this year?
Since the album was released by the end of October 2022, I expect to be quite busy in 2023 with a lot of promotional projects for it that my team and I have developed.
I'm rushing to be ready for a live session following the Lunar New Year festival break. This will be a live recording session featuring me, the band and the production crew. Everything was done with thought and care.
After that, I plan to do a university tour and, eventually, a live show in the second half of 2023, before beginning to compose and prepare for the next album. VNS