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Culture Magazin: Back home in Vietnam, Mai Thiên Vân had already joined show biz under the stage name Mai Hậu. What made you choose the new stage name Mai Thiên Vân, and what is its special meaning?
Mai Thiên Vân: When I joined the Thúy Nga family, Ms. Thủy suggested a new name for me which was Thiên Vân. I liked this new name, however I added my last name to it, and it became Mai Thiên Vân. My fans love this new name. They give it many beautiful meanings such as The Cloud in the Morning Sky, The Dawn Cloud…
CM: Right from the first time, the audience fell immediately in love with Mai Thiên Vân and Quang Lê as a performing couple. And then there were many incidents of “breaking-up” and “getting back” between Quang Lê and Mai Thiên Vân, on the stage as well as behind the scene. Can you share more about the relationship between the two of you? Will there be a happy ending so the audience can celebrate?
Mai Thiên Vân: Generally speaking, things that happen on stage and in real life are not the same. Mai Thiên Vân and Quang Lê are a sweet couple on stage, very much like two lovers. And obviously in real life, there is some kind of a connection between us. We meet up with each other frequently whenever Quang Lê is in the U.S. I can say that we have been very close for many years. Only the future can tell whether there will be a happy ending. For the time being, we are very good friends. Quang Lê lives 40 minutes from Orange County, and drives up here every week if he is not busy touring on shows. We often go out and dine with friends like Minh Tuyết, Hạ Vy, Hoài Tâm, and other friends who are not performers.
CM: Recently, the audience has noticed that Mai Thiên Vân is doing projects related to traditional opera music. Is this your intention for future development? Besides singing, do you have any other artistic ventures?
Mai Thiên Vân: I came from Bến Tre, a province in the South that is famous for its traditional opera music “Cải Lương.” Since childhood, I listened to a lot of “Cải Lương” and though not being formally trained in this genre, I can still sing it very well. At the beginning, in the opera play “Bến Đợi”, I only took on a supporting role, but since there was no one to play the main female role, singer Mạnh Quỳnh kept on insisting 4-5 times that I should do it, and this made me change my mind to decide to audition for the main female role. Fortunately, I was well-accepted by the audience.
In the future if possible, I would like to participate in other traditional opera plays. I know that it is very difficult to produce one here compared to back home. Over here, in order to gather artists to film for one week, we need three years to prepare for it. That was the case of the opera play “Bến Đợi”. Anyway, I will try to intersperse country music with traditional music on the Paris by Night’s stage often to entertain my audience.
Culture Magazin: Most performers either have many diverse talents or side jobs. You were formally trained to become a music teacher in Vietnam. Now that you are in the US, what is your plan for the future when a singing career is no longer an option?
Mai Thiên Vân: I do not see myself having talents in doing business, however in the future, it is possible that I will return to teaching music in order to breed a new generation of singers. For the time being, I am focusing on my career as a singer, and trying not to exhaust myself by having my hand in too many pies.
Being a Catholic, I love hymns – singing hymns is like offering gifts to my audience and to myself – I just finished recording a 4th CD of hymns, which will be out on the Marian Days (in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary) which will take place in Missouri this coming August. DVD The Best of Mai Thiên Vân should be out at the same time. On this upcoming 4th of July, on Paris by Night’s stage – Show #115 with the theme: Asian Beauty – I will have my own performance, and also participate in a fashion show. Please come and join us on that day or watch the video when it comes out. Thank you all for your love and support.