Nguyen Khang is a cool, very down-to-earth fellow. He was quite animated when we talked about music and the Vietnamese music scenes both in Viet Nam and abroad. It was fantastic to hear his side of the whole industry in his wit manner. He showed tremendous admiration for Tuan Ngoc and often spoke highly of him.
In our last conversation, I took him back to his pre-big-production days when he used less technique and more feeling in his singing. From “Chieu Mua Thu Ha Noi” to “Em Oi Ha Noi Pho” to “Da Khuc Cho Tinh Nhan” to the live recording of “Tinh Khuc Thu Nhat,” the rawness in his voice and his unrestrained delivery mesmerized me. His take on the pop hit “Hay Ve Voi Anh” was a phenomenal and yet he cut it in less then ten minutes. At the time Nguyen Khang was fairly new to the game. He was free from all the pressures and all of the burdens. All he had to do was going into the studio and singing his heart out. The producer already picked out the tunes for him.
He felt that Pham Duy’s music is not suited for his voice, yet his version of “Con Chut Gi De Nho” almost put me to tear. I was driving home from work one day on the cold, lonely road in Poughkeepsie and the tune struck my chord. The way he phased “Ở đây buổi chiều quanh năm mùa đông” sounded as if he could feel my lonesomeness and despondency at the time. In this icy, miserable place, I was thankful for that special someone, “May mà có em đời còn dễ thương.”
When we walked toward the bar, chicks just came up and kissed him. Despite all the limelight and all the love he gets from the female fans, he is still a very lonesome soul deep inside. Listen to his version of “Tim Ve Chon Hoang Vu” (Bruce Doan and Nguyen Ha) and Pham Duy’s “Tam Su Goi Ve Dau” and you’ll feel him. Enjoy the selection.
P.S. I love you too, man!