Khánh Linh began her musical career in 2003, when she was 20 years old, winning third prize at the National Television Competition, which is now Việt Nam’s most reputable singing contest, Sao Mai Điểm Hẹn (Morning Star Rendezvous).
She is known for hits such as Họa Mi Hót Trong Mưa (Nightingale Singing in the Rain), Cô Tấm Ngày Nay (The Modern Vietnamese Cinderella), Ban Mai Xanh (Green Sunrise), and Tháng Tư Về (April Has Arrived).
Eschewing the online world and the showbiz scene, her beautiful voice sees her still honoured by the music industry and listeners, as Khánh Linh, the Nightingale.
AT HER BEST: Khánh Linh appears youthful and fresh in her new music video. Photo courtesy of the artist
Inner Sanctum: It’s been three years since the album Ngài (Butterfly) was released, and you’ve recently revealed that a new album, Khánh Linh’s Journey, is on the way. Why the long break in between?
The time came when I felt I had the knowledge, experience, and inspiration to record something new.
I am happy now. I believe that when I am free of mind, I have the positive energy to be creatively free. I want to bring the most beautiful, hopeful, and positive elements to music.
Inner Sanctum: What can you tell us about the new album?
I spoke with composer Võ Thiện Thanh about the concept and idea for the album, and then he wrote some songs. His music is always out of the ordinary. Neither of us is actually sure what genre it would fall under, so we call it “new way”. A new way to walk, a new way to make things happen -- and it’s been a process of evolution for both of us.
The album has eight songs praising the beauty of nature and the journey to finding character, tranquillity, and freedom. Listeners will sense the imposing, endless space in the songs.
I have released two singles -- Flying over the Hills and Crossing the Fields. The album will be completed by the end of the year. I will be working with singer Hà Lê and musician Dương Cầm on the remaining tracks.
Inner Sanctum: It was recorded and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Were there problems?
This year has been quite special. There were many obstacles in travelling between Hà Nội and HCM City so I could work with Thanh. But I also found the opportunity to slow down, to discover myself and give the album a lot more thought. I had a cough and a problem with my larynx when we recorded the two songs that have been released. But I still went down to HCM City because studio times are fixed and hard to change, and it was important to travel whenever it was possible.
Funnily enough, the cough and larynx problem lent a hoarseness to my voice that had a special effect on the vocals that are probably hard to recreate.
IMAGINATION FIRED: Khánh Linh believes happiness and the perfect life help her reach the peak of creativity. Photo courtesy of the artist
Inner Sanctum: After listening to these songs, I have a feeling that you love nature and camping trips.
Yes, I do. My family are regular campers. I always encourage my kids to get out and discover nature. We often sleep in the forest, listening to the sounds of the insects, smelling the earth, and breathing the pure air. I believe there is happiness to be found in modest pursuits. Nature is imposing, but also modest in its own way. I just need to go out there to feel happy.
With Khánh Linh’s Journey, I take the audience along with me to many places. I feel confident that the music videos will also shine a spotlight on Việt Nam’s many wonderful sights.
Inner Sanctum: You are happily married now. What’s the longest period of time you and your husband have gone without speaking?
The time it takes to sleep. We rarely argue and feel uncomfortable if we can’t talk to each other.
We are matched in mind, interests, characteristics, and the way we build a family. We are true friends, and this is how we love each other.
Inner Sanctum: You and your husband were both married previously and each had a child. How do you harmonise the relationships in the family?
Yes, we each had a son before we married, and now have three children. They are all my and my husband’s kids. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, of course. But when we had our daughter, I told the boys not to call their step-mother or step-father “aunty” or “uncle”. “Your little sister calls us mum and dad, so it’s pretty silly for both of you not to be doing it,” I told them. They then gradually started to call us mum and dad. We have bridged the differences now.
Inner Sanctum: You have a beautiful voice and may be a new “diva” in Vietnamese music. But you seem reluctant to appear on stage or at showbiz events.
The greatest love of my life is music. I don’t care too much about how my music is received. I just want to sing, create, and devote myself to music. VNS