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Born in 1970, singer Cẩm Ly joined the musical scene in 1993 and quickly rose to fame with many soulful Southern folk songs, though she does have quite a few modern songs that receive a lot of attention from the audience. In 2004, she married the love of her life, musician Minh Vy, and together, they have two daughters. She shares with Culture Magazin’s readers her family life and musical projects.
Culture Magazin (CM): You have just released the fifth edition of the Tự Tình Quê Hương – TTQH (Love for the Country) musical series; in it, you performed a wide variety of musical genres ranging from modern, romance to folk songs, under the musical direction of your husband, Minh Vy. Can you share with the readers some unforgettable moments during the filming of this musical video? With a natural acting talent, do you want to join the film genre?
Cẩm Ly (CL): Each TTQH show is an unforgettable experience for me, and we have released 5 editions already. TTQH marks a series of musical productions, and they are milestones that have been well-received by the audience, on behalf of myself and the entire crew. There were a lot of memories because I had to prepare extensively for the live show. This time, it was a bit different because I got to perform with my little students from the TV show Little Vietnamese Voices and my two daughters. Then there was the special performance of the song Lan & Điệp, which I got to perform with my partner singer Đan Trường, whom I am always in sync with when performing. There was the special trio rendition with my two idols, singer Phương Dung and Giao Linh… All these performances were supported by my entire crew and my performing partners to create an unforgettable TTQH 5 show. I would like to thank all of them again.
CM: A few years before, you often paired up with many well known male singers like Đan Trường, Lam Trường, Quốc Đại… Do you want to build another duo image with a new performing partner, and if you can pick a male singer from Vietnam or overseas, whom would you want to duet with?
CL: During all my years in the entertainment industry, starting from when I first joined, I have partnered up with many performers, both male and female, like Minh Tuyết, Phương Thanh, Đan Trường, Lam Trường, Đàm Vĩnh Hưng, Minh Thuận, Quang Linh, Vân Quang Long, Quốc Đại, Hoài Linh, Trường Giang…I can’t say whether I want a new partner or not but whether if we will have a chance to perform together or not; every collaboration is a wonderful inspiration. I am very lucky that I can work seamlessly with many performers, in our singing or performing style, therefore, a new collaboration would depend on whether we share the same “destiny” or not.
CM: Can you share with us your thoughts on the growing trend of Vietnamese celebrities donning fashion and accessories costing thousands of dollars when attending events. We don’t often see you joining these parties or product launch events, why is that?
CL: Everyone has a different view, and a different fashion style, as well as a different lifestyle and way of thinking. Perhaps those high-end outfits are pretty and elegant for certain types of fashion taste, and I am not an exception either. I am aware that when needed, I will wear expensive labels; however, I am not addicted to high-end fashion. An outfit looking good on you or not depends on whether it goes with your style and if fits your body, and most importantly, you have to feel comfortable and like what you wear, this is when it makes sense to wear it.
The audience doesn’t see me as often, though they do see me attending various functions, partly due to the fact that I have two kids now. Besides performing time on stage, I now have a family and many things to tend to for my two daughters. Therefore, I only attend events that are absolutely necessary.
CM: Your two sisters are now residing in the U.S. Do you intend to move your family overseas in the future? Is yes, what city or country would you like to settle in?
CL: My preference is that I really like Vietnam only (laughs). I am mostly an introvert, though our family always takes vacations together in the summer; we travel together with our children, or I try to take them with me when I travel overseas to perform. However, no matter where I go, I always miss Vietnamese food and my family.
CM: You recently celebrated your 10th wedding anniversary. You often take your children and husband along when you perform overseas and they are often seen by your side in many public activities. Can you share with us tips on how to keep your family bonded in this complicated and challenging entertainment industry that you are in?
CL: Complicated or challenging really depends on how a person perceives it. My husband and I are both in the entertainment industry so it’s easier for us to share and be understanding towards each other. I, just like other people, don’t really have any tips. Our tasks are clearly allocated: my husband takes the kids to school and back, takes them to get ice cream, does fun things with them or buys them toys. Basically, my husband plays the “good” role. I wake up later so I take care of all the remaining tasks, prepare for evening performances, or travel to various shows. The kids get home after lunch; that’s when I would ask them about their homework for tomorrow and talk to them, so it seems like I take on the “evil” role to balance out my husband’s (laughs).