Tran Thi Cam Ly is a Vietnamese pop singer best known for folk songs from Southern Viet Nam. She first came to the country's attention in 1993 and was recently chosen to be one of the judges on the Vietnamese version of The Voice Kids. Quynh Nga chatted with her about the show and her decision to take part in it.
Inner Sanctum: You have never been on any reality show. What made you decide to become one of the judges of The Voice Kids? Do your fans support you?
Indeed, I have not. However, after watching several programmes, I found them interesting. I was very impressed by the children's singing talent. In fact, the show amazed me, as the kids are all innocent and pure, especially those who nurture love for folk music. Therefore, when I received the organisation board's invitation and encouragement from my husband, musician Minh Vy, I accepted it. Most of my fans support me.
Inner Sanctum: Can you tell us about your feelings now?
At first, both my husband and I pondered so much, as this is the first time I agreed to be the judge of a reality television show. However, things settled down and I now have nothing to be worried about. The only thing that bothers me right now is scandals and misinformation from the media. Those things can have a bad impact on our small contestants.
Inner Sanctum: Over the past years, a series of scandals have occurred in the entertainment industry. The audience sees you as a singer who says no to scandal. When you joined the show, many of them worried about your reputation. What will you say to ease their tension?
I think I will just do things the way I do. Sometimes, scandals are made by those of us working in showbiz, with the support of the media. I do not do anything to be ashamed of.
Inner Sanctum: Do you worry that your ability and experience to win over the kids will not compare with that of the other judges, Ho Hoai Anh and Luu Huong Giang?
As you know, I have had a reputation of being gentle for a long time. I think my sincerity and the experience of working with children will create a sense of faith in their hearts. In the new role of a coach, I may feel confused. However, you will see another Cam Ly when the show airs.
Inner Sanctum: As a singer who started in the pop music industry but is famous for the folk genre, are you going to choose the contestants who are good at your favourite genre?
As the show has not started yet, I cannot tell which genre the kids will choose to sing. Life is contradictory. When I was loved as a pop singer, I switched to folk songs. But when the audience got used to folk songs, I sang contemporary pop songs. Deep down, I know that the audience loves my folk songs and hopes the children perform them. Those who sing countryside music that touches the audience's hearts and represents the soul of Viet Nam will have a better chance of winning, not only on my team but on other teams.
Inner Sanctum: There is concern that because you only sing Vietnamese pop and folk songs, you won't be able to train the children songs in English. What do you think?
I have been through many periods of my career. When my husband and I performed at dance halls and night clubs from 1993-95, we had to sing in English. However, I still love it best when the kids sing in Vietnamese. It's not because I'm conservative, but because I think the audience will not favour those who sing in English.
Inner Sanctum: Is it true that the Vietnamese music industry, especially folk music, is being taken over by foreign genres, so that it's rare to hear traditional music in singing contests?
We are living in a modern and bustling city, so of course we are influenced by rap, R&B, dance and rock. Yet the sweet melody of countryside music still echoes somewhere out there. Maybe due to the hurried way of life, the melody has been forgotten. However, in a show, the applause for a folk song is never less than that for a pop song. I can guarantee that this kind of "rare speciality" will be fully supported by Vietnamese souls who love their country. — VNS