Dubbed the Prince of Patriotic Songs, Viet Nam's number one tenor had his second solo show, Bai Ca Khong Quen (Unforgettable Songs), this week in Ha Noi. The 39-year-old singer talks with Thuy Hang about his concert and life.
Inner Sanctum: Your show Bai Ca Khong Quen is being organised by the newly founded company, the Hoa Dang Entertainment, operated by your wife. What does the company do?
My live show is the first event held by the company. Alongside organising music concerts, the company also acts as a recording company, producing albums and music videos. In the future, we will also establish a music training centre.
An important mission for the company is managing the copyright of my Youtube channel - Trong Tan Official. At the moment, I'm recording some songs for this channel as well as for monopoly contracts of some on-line music distributors, including Zing and Nhaccuatui.
My role is art consultant, helping the company to organise at least one big show every year.
Inner Sanctum: If you held your show in another city do you think it would attract the same size of audience?
I have no worries about the crowd because I'm confident that I have fans in every region nationwide. The main reason the show is being held in Ha Noi is because here we have all the necessary equipment to guarantee a quality show. If we held the concert in another place, we would have to transport all the equipment and the show's expenditure would be higher, meaning ticket prices go up.
In 2012, together with singer Anh Tho, we had a very successful show in Hai Phong.
We have started thinking about organising a show in HCM City.
Inner Sanctum: You revealed previously that in your up-coming show, instead of patriotic songs, which you are known for, you will sing love ballads that you've never performed before. Are you changing your music style?
I don't intend to change my music style, which has been loved by my audience. I will perform the songs that suit my voice. The love songs are not only about love among couples, but also about the country, or maternal love.
Inner Sanctum: What does music mean to you?
I started performing when I was a student at the Dao Duy Tu high schoolø in my home city Thanh Hoa. After graduation, I considered enrolling in the Ha Noi University of Architecture or University of Finance, or the National Academy of Music. I chose the Academy of Music because of my love for music.
However, at that time, I didn't have any knowledge of music theory, and I had only 12 days to prepare for the enrolling examinations. Luckily, I met by chance the People's Artist Tran Hieu, who very kindly offered to tutor me. Under his guidance, I became one of three new students of the Vocal Faculty that year.
After graduating from the Academy of Music, I became a lecturer of the Vocal Faculty alongside my singing career. In September 2013, I decided to quit my teaching job to focus only in singing.
Music is my life, my everything. It has brought me fame, a comfortable life, and even love. My voice attracted a pretty high schoolmate, who then became my wife.
Inner Sanctum: What kind of music do you listen to today? What genre of music don't you like?
I like listening to semi-classic music and Andrea Bocelli -- an Italian tenor. I have learnt quite a lot about singing through listening to him.
I also have a special interest in any kind of Vietnamese traditional music such as chau van (ritual singing), cheo (traditional opera), cai luong (reformed opera). Compositions of traditional music instruments are also among my favourites.
Actually, I don't dislike any genre of music because I can find the beauty and essence of each kind and enjoy it.
Inner Sanctum: Have you ever thought about writing music and/or lyrics?
Actually, on the occasion of the Thang Long-Ha Noi millennium celebration in 2010, I composed music for a poem by Nguyen Nguyet Thanh -- a poet from Thanh Hoa. The song then was recorded and broadcasted on VOV radio. However, so far, I haven't thought seriously about writing.
Inner Sanctum: Many famous people can't maintain a happy and long-lasting relationship with their partner. You and your wife started your relationship when both of you were high school students, and are still very happy. What is your recipe for happiness?
I first met my wife in 1993 and we started our relationship two years later. In 2004, we got married. After 20 years, we have a heart-to-heart understanding, like two best friends. The most important thing for our relationship is that we always listen and try to understand each other.
I've never hesitated in doing house work like washing dishes or going to the market because I want to share any family responsibilities with my wife.
There is some differences between love and marriage. For some people, their marriage fails as they don't know how to adapt to a new role as husband or wife.
Inner Sanctum: Many singers of your generation have been awarded the title Meritorious Artist by the cultural ministry as official recognition for their contribution to the country's art. Do you feel self-pity because you haven't been recognised after nearly two decades in the spotlight?
Not at all. For me, an official title is not my goal because recognition from the audience is much more meaningful.
Inner Sanctum: Do you have any advice for young singers who wish to sing patriotic songs like you?
First of all, a burning love for artistic endeavour is necessary. Secondly, they should have a pure mind because the pure mind can hold them to expose best their natural voice. And don't ever overact. — VNS