A Career and Life that blends East and West

Singer Thanh Ha shares the secrets of her successful career.

After more than 20 years of singing, Thanh Ha has become an idol for many, from the middle-aged to the younger generation. Besides her beauty and talent, what makes Thanh Ha succeed is a burning passion. A self-admitted perfectionist, Thanh Ha also feels tired due to many shows. However, the moment she sees the audience, she forgets being tired and performs with all her heart. “I have had many hardships and challenges, but I always try my best for my audience.” She may have a Western appearance, since her mother is Vietnamese and her father is American, but not many people know that hiding inside her is the traditional beauty of a Vietnamese woman as well as an understanding mother.

Thanh Ha recently spoke with Culture Magazin to share the secrets of her happiness.

Besides being a singer, you also participated in shows and became a judge. On your YouTube channel, you have released many pop song covers. How do you feel about these new experiences?

Being a judge is a new role but I find it very interesting. I also learned a lot, especially about the energy of young singers. The way that they perform a song in a new way. My covers also came very coincidently. My fans love the song and when I had a chance to meet them, they suggested I sing the song again. I think we need to refresh ourselves all the time in the performing arts. However, I will choose a song that is appropriate to my voice, age, and personality. In addition, the songs must have a good melody and lyrics.

You are already a celebrity with the Vietnamese diaspora and you are growing your singing career in Vietnam. What is the difference between singing in the United States and in Vietnam?

Fame and a stable position in the field are what I achieved with the Vietnamese diaspora in the U.S. and other countries, but not in Vietnam. Later, I had an opportunity to develop my career in Vietnam so I took the chance. What I like about working in the U.S. and some other overseas places is the weather and the convenience of travel. I have time to rest before shows. In Vietnam, I can reach new markets and audiences, but the weather is uncomfortable. Besides that, I get jet lagged.

However, I can do what I like and receive great support from the audience. They make me forget all the tiredness. With the Vietnamese diaspora, I am a familiar face. In contrast, in Vietnam I am a new singer. Working in different places brings different feelings for me.

After two years’ work, you recently released a new album titled Moi Me Nao Cung Ngot Ngao (meaning new things are always sweet). Can you tell us about the recording, as well as your new music video?

I live in California, then had to fly back to Vietnam. The arrangement of people’s free time is not that simple. It took quite a long time to make this album.

As for the music video, this is the first time I worked as a producer. Luckily I received a lot of help from my juniors. Even songwriter Mr. Siro, and many other musicians supported me and gave me ideas. My most memorable memory was inviting Kha Nhu, the main actress in my music video, to participate in the project. I did gameshows with Kha Nhu several times and was impressed with her talent and beauty. I found Nhu was similar to myself when I was young, so I suggested her to the director. Fortunately, the director accepted.

At the press conference, I saw your tears. Why were you crying?

I was crying with happiness because I completed a project that I had cherished for a long time. Everything happened as I expected. Two years ago, I released a single and everything was prepared very simply. On that day, I only sang two songs and did not worry at all. I smiled the whole day but cried at night because of some unexpected. In this recent press conference, everyone saw me crying and being so nervous, but when I got home, I smiled at myself because I was completely satisfied. That same day, I also said to my boyfriend Roland, “Let’s get married!” Normally, a woman would not dare to propose to a man. But I found that he did a lot of things for me. I owed him and wanted to do something for him.

I want to say thank you Cao Thanh Huy, Steven Do (Tai) and the whole team for helping me to have such a successful press conference.

Your boyfriend is 12 years younger than you, do you find it hard to be in a relationship with this age difference? What makes him own your heart?

It is difficult to love someone because you have to get used to them, adapt to their personality. Even though my boyfriend is younger, he is very mature. In addition, we work together in the same field so we support each other. It is both difficult and easy to develop together.

Roland gives me unconditional love and is always ready to help me in everything.

What makes a successful modern woman?

A beautiful, modern woman is someone who is confident and happy. Beautiful does not mean that you have to dress nicely, wear makeup and do your hair all the time. It should be your happiness that brings about positive feelings, plus the good will to help other people.

What makes you happy?

To me, true happiness is when I am able to do what I love, having someone to love and care for, and someone who loves and cares for me since I am scared of being lonely.

At the present, I am very happy because my work is going well. I have a new album, a husband and a very good daughter who studies well. The beginning of 2019 is a privilege.

Because of your Western appearance, you have been mistaken for Jennifer Lopez. However, you once admitted that you have a typical Vietnamese personality. How so?

People often mistake me for Madonna, Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Lopez. These compliments make me happy, because all those women are beautiful, famous and successful. But that is just the appearance, the most important thing is whether I am happy or not. Especially at this age, I just wish for peace and quiet, someone to love and care for and for work to go smoothly.

I cherish what my parents gave me. This appearance and my personality are a mix of them. My past has much sadness and hardship that have made me strong and independent. Inside me, there is a Western culture mixed with Eastern culture. They complement each other.

At home, do you help your daughter to preserve Vietnamese traditions and culture?

I have encouraged her since she was 11 or 12 years old. I am most proud that she is a very good girl. Although I have to travel a lot, I spend time talking with her, teaching her to help people and give back, not just hope to receive from others. I often say, “You and I live in the U.S., in an other people’s country, so we should learn to be the best we can. And remember this, because of your youth you have a long time to focus on doing useful and meaningful things.” Luckily, she listens and follows my advice.

Between my daughter and I there is no gap. Whenever we go out to eat, I treat my daughter as a friend.

Most Vietnamese parents want their children to follow a certain career, are you like that?

I am modern. I let my daughter choose by herself because she is the only one that can decide her future. I give her some suggestions so that she can pick based on her interests and passions. Now, she wants to become a nurse and I fully support her.

Should people live emotionally or logically?

It is impossible to always live emotionally or logically. There are moments when I have to balance both. Emotions are necessary when I work as a singer. However, when dealing with people, I also need to use my mind to evaluate. In the old days, when I was young, I was often impatient, emotional, not thinking too much. Now, I pay more attention to people around me and lucky things come to me more easily. I tell myself not to think negatively anymore. I aim to be positive no matter what happens.

What are your future projects?

I will continue singing and performing in Vietnam and overseas. More songs will be released online. We are doing a lyric version of the song Moi Me Nao Cung Ngot Ngao so that the audience can sing along.

Please send some wishes to our readers for International Women’s Day.

I wish all women joy and beauty in their lives. No one can bring happiness to you except yourself. Keep your vibrant smiles. Positive and open thoughts will help transfer positive energy and attract other people to you and bring you more happiness.

This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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