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Mar 10, 2024 / 10:24

Icon of love songs to hold live concert in Hanoi

Composer Duc Huy will give a live concert in Hanoi on May 11 to celebrate his 60-year career.

Songwriter Duc Huy, 77, known as an icon of love songs, is planning to stage a live concert celebrating his 60-year career in Hanoi, the city where he spent the first six years of his life, but which he spent his entire life loving.

Hanoi is four-season Vietnam

Your first live show took place as far back as the year 2007. Why did you decide on a second live show after so many years?

I never thought I would do another show after "And the Heart is Happy Again" in Ho Chi Minh City. When I returned to Hanoi last year, I met producer Thu Ha (Ngoc Viet Company) and we discussed the possibility of doing a live performance. If I'm lucky, I'll do it, I said. And here we are.

When I let things happen naturally, I don't have to think much. I feel lucky to have come through Covid-19 alive and well. People die of disease and also of stress, so let's get rid of stress and let things happen naturally. That's why I called the show What Comes Naturally, inspired by a line from my song And I Love You Too: "I love things that come naturally/ Truthful sayings/ And I love sunny days..."

 Musician Duc Huy, a prominent Vietnamese composer. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

Why, then, are you going to run the show in Hanoi?

Choosing Hanoi was a joint decision between me and the whole team. Hanoi was my childhood home and I am very much in love with this city. I still remember when I was 6 years old, the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake was not paved, just sand and grass. Air, water, food, nature... in this city left a profound mark on my heart during those first 6 years of my life. I feel that I was lucky to start living like this.

Even though I have been all over the place, I always feel happy when I am in Hanoi. Because Hanoi is a four-season Vietnam. Emotions can easily flare up here. Although I have not written songs about Hanoi, I express my love by putting all the Hanoishness into my songs.

In addition to famous singers like My Linh and Bang Kieu, the program brings together many young vocalists who may not be the best to perform their music. What do you think about that?

Perhaps Ngoc Lan was the singer who sang my songs the most, but she has passed away. In the future, whoever sings my music will make me grateful. Everyone has their strengths and qualities, so it's difficult for me to judge who sings better. The good interpretation of my songs depends on the context and many other factors.

At this age, do you feel nervous about presenting a program in front of 4,000 people at the National Convention Center?

People often ask me how old I am, but I don't pay attention to numbers. When I have the feeling that I don't want to live anymore, then I think I'm old. As for me, my cells still say: "Huy, we are still alive and well."

 Composer Duc Huy and his wife at a press conference in Hanoi to promote his upcoming concert at the National Convention Center on May 11. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

Things come naturally

Looking back on your career, what have been the highs and lows?

Going up and down is a necessary part of where we want to go. Perhaps the time I was most depressed was when I first settled in the US and had to adapt to a new culture and lifestyle. I stopped writing songs for about 10 years, then I wrote Crying a River out of nostalgia. After I got over that, I went into my most productive period of composing with the songs Love You for a Long Time, The Long Road Is Wet with Rain.

Most things in my life come naturally. Many people often tell me that I should write books and stories about my life, but I don't think it's necessary. Every day I live more and more naturally, I don't believe in the safety of holding on to something.

You have a lot of big hits in Vietnamese music. These days, do you tend to write what you like or what the audience likes?

Having to please others is my greatest fear. It's not something I do well.

When do you feel your writing is at its most exalted?

When I'm alone, in silence.

Not when you're in love?

You "trap" me with that question, don't you (laughs)? Love is another thing. Composition is something else. They must not be mixed up. I can't live without love, but in reality, I'm not as much of a lover as you think. Every time I love, I love only one person. I will talk about love, about my life in the next concert.

Will you be bringing your wife and two children with you?

I'm a very happy man. The happiness of my family is something private that I don't want to show off. It's my way of living. At this age, I am very grateful to everyone for their love.

How does your wife support you in your life and career?

My wife is a very capable person and she takes care of everything for me. I appreciate everything she has given me. We have principles in life and mutual respect. I am often asked the question: How can a man and a woman who are 44 years apart keep loving and romancing each other? It depends, of course, on both of us. I think I am more romantic now than I was on the first day we met.

What does a normal day in your life look like for you?

I go to bed early and wake up early, around 4 a.m. Then I train until 6 a.m. At the moment I am very disciplined about my diet and exercise, at my wife's request, to maintain good health. I spend the whole day writing songs or looking for ideas to write.

Thanks for your time.