Famed musician holds biggest concert in capital

 Việt Nam News reporter Nguyễn Bình speaks with celebrated musician, songwriter and producer Đức Trí about his upcoming concert.

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Musician Đức Trí. Photo T.P

HCM City-based musician Đức Trí will have a concert at the National Convention Centre in Hà Nội on October 1. The concert Tựa Như Gió Phiêu Du (Like the Wind that Wanders) will be held by Ngọc Việt Company for his 50th birthday. Việt Nam News reporter Nguyễn Bình speaks with the celebrated musician, songwriter and producer of Vietnamese pop.

How did Ngọc Việt Company and you decide to organise the concert in Hà Nội?

I always have things about my songs that I want to share with audiences. I think that my story will never end. I have called the concert after the name of my first song. My songs are like winds that go everywhere.

I have experienced ups and downs in my life, and I tell them through music.

I was invited to work as music director for musician Trần Tiến’s live concert in Hà Nội in May. By chance, I was looking for a place for my concert in the capital city. After the success of Tiến’s concert, the producer sought sponsorship and we made a deal.

You were born in HCM City and you made your name there. Why hold the concert in Hà Nội?

I recognise that my audience in Hà Nội is much more than in HCM City. It is reasonable to hold the concert in Hà Nội. Possibly, I have to have a concert in my home city. But I don’t know when because theatres in HCM City are not big as the 3,000-seat National Convention Centre.

The producer will lose money if they hold the concert in HCM City because the concert cost is quite high.

You are not only a prominent musician and producer, but your hits have also been performed and recorded by others. How do you see yourself?

I don’t care much about what people call me because if you accept it you will be under more pressure. If you don’t accept it, they will think you are being falsely modest. I learnt to ignore those winged words focusing on my profession and I feel happier.

If you keep spending time caressing compliments, one day they may grow thorny and shatter your dreams. I spend time reading books, which is more interesting than reading comments.

You said you need to see yourself as a musician rather than a producer. Could you explain this?

I used to consider songwriting as my side job. Over the years, my daily work has been orchestrating, producing albums for singers and music writing for film, dance and drama. I spend all my time in music production.

I’m not like someone who writes songs on commission to earn a living. I write songs when I have time. I write a song and give it to someone who I like. That is why I didn’t care how much money I earned from songwriting in the first 10 years. It is just that I like writing.

My songs are out of the entertainment industry, and I am not pressured to write hits.

Then over the years, when I met people, I could see that they remembered a lot of my songs. At the same time, I make albums for A-list singers Mỹ Linh, Hồng Nhung and Cẩm Vân. The songs and the albums were made in the 1990s. But my songs are still sung today.

I realise that an original is significant in a musician’s career. People can forget your product, but they will remember your works.

Is this your biggest concert ever?

Yes, it is the biggest one. The cost for the concert is huge. I don’t have much money to invest in the concert. The producer invited me. The orchestra has 50 members and a high number of technicians. All of them are from HCM City.

What do you think about the role of a popular artist in community development?

A famous person can easily influence the community. However, their actions and words will show the public whether that character is worthy of their admiration and being influenced or not.

I’m not one of those idols that the audience has to imitate or scrutinise what I wear, what car I drive, or how I stay at home. I have a simple life, and I’m not rich in money or time.

But I think the work I have done has had a certain standard over the years, and it is what I always tell myself to never lose.

You were music director for Trần Tiến’s successful concert in May in Hà Nội. How do you feel to return to that stage in your own concert?

I have nice memories of Tiến’s concert. We have loved each other for a long time, and now we love each other even more.

Musician Hồng Kiên will support me in the concert. It is my concert, but I need a hand to make decisions. Kiên is helping me build the repertoire.

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ESTEEMED CONCERTS: Musician Đức Trí (far left) plays piano at Trần Tiến’s concert at the National Convention Centre in Hà Nội. Photo

What do you think about the importance of a good idea?

I’m a person who loves knowledge. I’m not a bookworm, but my learning has never stopped and the fields I want to explore have never stopped.

I love researching indigenous culture, dialects, and linguistics. I love collecting old books, I love philosophy, and I love books from the Indochina period. I have also learnt about calligraphy and typography.

My life is interesting, just because I love to know everything. I have no intention of becoming a cultural researcher, but culture from reading has helped me form my personality today.

I am lucky that my family have given me an excellent growing environment, so I have learnt many good things from my family which are not from books.

Likewise for the artist, an idea is not enough, but he or she must recognise the feasibility of the idea and nurture small feasible ideas to accumulate them into a big idea.

That awareness and sensitivity is a combination of reading and education from my family and friends. As in any profession, insight and acumen help us go a long way.

Theo Vietnamnews