Nguyen Duc Tuan follows a style of music which is similar to classical but less complex and with wider appeal. For his performances of One Moment in Time and Sway at the ASEAN Television Melodies Festival 2012, he won Best Singer and People's Choice awards. Hy Ma
talks to him about his life and career.
Inner Sanctum: Can you tell us about your latest awards?
I feel very proud and happy to have won both categories. The contest has given me a chance to associate with my peers from the international community. It is also an honour for me to represent my country in front of overseas friends. I think that the participation of the Vietnamese delegation this year has played a majorpart in making the festival a success.
Inner Sanctum: You are like a salmon trying to swim upstream with your semi-classical and operatic styles which are usually unpopular with audiences. Are you not anxious about that?
Semi-classical is a combination of classical and contemporary music. Opera is just a part of it. I have never thought that these two genres are old-fashioned. On the contrary, this is a breakthrough for the Vietnamese music industry. We have been lagging behind the global music scene for a long time, and I think it's time we started to change with the times. I think I have explored the highest point of my voice and combined classical and modern music, like cha cha cha and pop, to create a diversity and transform classical music. I want to pursue my passion, but it costs a lot of money to put on a show, including an orchestra and musical instruments.
Inner Sanctum: It is not easy to find a professional stage for semi-classical and operatic performances in Viet Nam. Is it tough for a singer like you?
I am always well-prepared before getting on stage. However, that does not mean I have the right to choose where I perform. As I said, I love semi-classical music and I do not regret the path I have chosen, although it requires technique, training and a place to perform. As long as I can perform and the audience accepts me, I'll carry on.
Inner Sanctum: Which singer would you like to share the stage with most?
It has been an honour for me to be able to sing with many famous and talented Vietnamese artists. The youngest one I have sang with was Nguyen Thao, a jazz singer. Another singer I had an opportunity to work with was Nguyen Khanh Ly, best known for her renditions of compositions by Trinh Cong Son, mainly hisbeautiful love songs. Both of them have their own styles and personalities. I had to find ways to blend my style with theirs so that the audience could feel the meaning of each song.
Inner Sanctum: Who is your idol?
Whitney Houston, who recently passed away, is my favourite singer of all time. Besides her, like other people, I admire Vietnamese song writer Pham Duy very much.
Inner Sanctum: Those close to you must play an important role in your life. Can you tell us about them?
I have a comfortable and happy life. I also had plenty of moral support while I was growing up. My parents are teachers and told me never to stop exploring the world. I used to be in love with a pop singer, but since then I've spent most of my time on my music, I could not be with her anymore.
Inner Sanctum: What to you think about scandals in the world of showbiz today?
It's a difficult matter to discuss. For me, if people in the artistic circle do not cross the line too much or do not do ridiculous things like wearing inappropriate outfits, they should be given respect. I have seen many people with good voices who have failed to make it. In general, I think an artist should do everything in his or her power to win the audience's hearts, but I also have an open mind about this.
Inner Sanctum: Many singers and artists want to make the transition into different fields. What do you think about that? Would you accept a movie invitation if it came your way?
I'd accept because I've loved movies since I was a kid, but I'd rather play a bad guy than a good guy.
Inner Sanctum: Can you tell us about your plans for the future?
This month, I will release a new album featuring nine songs written by the young composer Tran Thai Nguyen about love and life. I hope the audience will sense the beauty of the music. I will also perform at a show with singer Ngan Ha in France, where I will sing Vietnamese and English songs. — VNS