Hong Ngoc has just embarked on a four-city tour across America. The renowned singer talks to Khac Thi about her tour and her life in the US as well as her experience juggling the responsibilities of being a businesswoman and music promoter as well as mother of two.
Inner Sanctum: Did your music change after you settled in America?
Living in a country with such a huge and diversified musical industry, I certainly have more opportunities to watch many interesting performances; exposure to these entertainers forces me to be more focused on my own career. But to change my musical style, I think I need more time to take it all in.
Inner Sanctum: Can you share something about your experience as a Vietnamese singer doing her own live show in the US?
I'm very pleased with the results of my live performances. My choreography is more practiced and it will lead to new developments. DVDs of my live show are going to be released soon and I hope fans will see all the hard work I put into the show and appreciate it!
Inner Sanctum: Do you intend to bring this live show back to Viet Nam?
Yes. I'm planning to, I'm not sure when, but I know I have to spend a lot of time preparing for my return.
Inner Sanctum: A fish can only swim freely in its own pond, so do you find domestic or foreign musical environment suits you better?
I enjoy both domestic and foreign music genres because I like flying high. The more I push my career the bigger the audience I have to conquer. I think that increased popularity is the measure of the singer's true talent.
Inner Sanctum: Vietnamese audiences still don't consider you as an overseas based singer. It seems that they still have strong affection for you. What do you think about that?
I know that and have always appreciated their heartfelt affection. Nothing is more important to someone who has given their all to their career than this love. I have always felt as if I'm a child living far from home but always warmly welcomed with open arms on return.
Inner Sanctum: Vietnamese families always aim to maintain their traditional values, both the good and the not so good. What Vietnamese values do you expect your children to carry on living as expats in the US?
I think that my children will become useful grown-ups if they are born into a cosy family atmosphere full of love. I don't need anything important, but I'm willing to sacrifice and try my best to secure peacefulness and harmony for the family.
Even though I'm living in the US, I have always encouraged my children to maintain Vietnamese culture, and cooked Vietnamese typical food for meals and of course, we talk to each other in Vietnamese.
My children are also asked to say hello and goodbye whenever they arrive at or leave the house. In general, I still prefer preserving Vietnamese habits and customs, which I think is important for my kids.
Inner Sanctum: Vietnamese habits? Can you specify?
There are many. For example, I'm only keen on cooking and eating Vietnamese food, planting aromatic herbs that are typical of Viet Nam.
Inner Sanctum: How about your present life?
My current life is very simple. In the morning, I wake up to prepare food for my children, drive them to school, prepare meals for the family, then pick them up after school and take care of them in the afternoon. I'm just absent from home at weekends when I have to perform for shows. I am simply a woman enjoying taking care of my own family.
Inner Sanctum: There have been many changes in your style, but the most surprising of which is your image: from a young mischievous young woman with raucous singing voice, and brown complexion to a more mature, attractive singer who is at home on the stage. What has led to that change?
I think just time and life experience. Time makes people more experienced and mature, you learn to know what looks good on you and choose a style that you know enhances your own beauty. Every woman wants to become more sexy and attractive, and I'm not the exception.
Inner Sanctum: Do you feel hesitant to be sexy on stage as a mother of two? Do you have to be less sexy when you perform in Viet Nam?
I'm mature enough to know what I have to do and I have always been aware of the fashion style that suits me. Even when I'm back in Viet Nam, I also choose clothes suitable for my character as well as to the aesthetic requirement of the show I am performing in.
Inner Sanctum: On looking back the path you've been through, what do you regret most, both in terms of career and private life?
I regret nothing. I have gained more things in life than I have lost. I don't feel ashamed and don't want to trade anything. Everything I have is the results of my efforts and ability. Anyone who is not wholeheartedly dedicated to their career will not gain the recognition they desire.
But short cuts or cynical calculations will never be a part of my career path. — VNS