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AsiaFinest's Interview with Vy Nguyen
Ben: How did you get into the music business?
Vy: In college, I worked with 2 different production companies: VHProductions (Puyallup, WA) and Battalion Entertainment (Seattle, WA). I started writing, recording and performing throughout the Northwest while still going to school. During my last 2 quarters in college, I competed in the Vietnamese Idol competition at the Emerald Queen Casino close to my hometown. After auditioning, and competing in the semi-finals over the course of 6 months, I ended up making it all the way to the finals.
At the finals, the MC for the competition, who is actually part of a major Vietnamese production company, picked me out of the top 11 to be a new artist in Van Son Entertainment. I was shocked beyond words. I didn't even win the competition! In fact, I didn't even place, but I was the only one to walk away with a contract. After I graduated from college (a week later), I flew to Japan to do my debut performance with VSE. When I came back, I packed my bags and moved to California to pursue my music career. Ever since then, I've been performing all over the country and the world! And I recently debuted my first album entitled "My Story" and am currently working on my second album.
Ben: What's the hardest part of being a musician?
Vy: For me, the hardest part about being a musician is constantly having to come up with new music and new ideas. Writing songs that mean something and that people can relate to can be a difficult process. Also, with doing live shows, there can be a lot of pressure - that I mostly put on myself - to be original and different. I am my worst critic, but I think that every performer is hard on themselves.
Ben: I saw some of your performances. You're a great dancer! Tell us about your dancing.
Vy: I've always loved to dance. I remember being in the first grade, at the local fair in my hometown Olympia, WA, when I saw some dancers performing by the main stage. From then on, I knew that dance was what I wanted to do. I started to make up my own choreography at age 5. I begged my parents for years to let me take dance classes. They finally agreed to it when I was 8 years old. I started taking jazz classes and started competing by the time I was 11. In the 7th grade, I started taking hip-hop classes and soon after, ballet, acro/gymnastics and lyrical-jazz as well. Dance became my whole life. I danced everyday and performed all the time. Once I got to college, I was even more exposed to the whole dance scene. I was the captain of my hip-hop dance team in college and danced for the Seattle Hip-hop group, Phyzikal Graffi-t. My dance teams performed for Russell Simmons, opened for D12 and various artists at Seattle's KUBE 93 Summer Jam concert. Now that I'm residing in California, I'm dancing with TEAMboogiezone.com-Breed where I perform all over the west coast. I've also been teaching jazz and hip-hop classes ever since I was 16 years old. I love to teach almost as much as I love to dance. Basically, dance is my #1 passion, but music is something I enjoy almost as much.
Ben: What was your favorite project or work to this date?
Vy: Four years ago, I danced in a group called "Generation X" through Positive Programs, Inc. Our group consisted of singers and dancers who would travel to various middle and high schools in Washington State to put on inspirational assemblies/concerts for teens. I remember performing at one particular middle school in which our performance changed our lives as well as one particular individual in the audience. After that show, at our following rehearsal, our director had told us that there was a student at that school who was going to commit suicide. After seeing our show and hearing our message, he approached a teacher, got help and decided not to end his life. Our performance saved that student's life. Ever since that show, I knew that I wanted to help people. To this date, there hasn't been a show that I've done to top that one.
Ben: Is it true that you write your own lyrics? Where do you get your inspiration for it?
Vy: Yes, I do write all of my own songs. In fact, I am one of the very few Vietnamese-American pop artists to write original music. My inspiration comes from my own life experiences. My debut CD, which was released in December 2005 entitled "My Story," is a compilation of songs I had written to express the ups and downs of my life in the last few years. All of the songs on my CD tell a different story about a different time in my life, whether it's heartbreak, love, drama or work. I write about how I feel at the moment. I just hope that my songs can influence my listeners and give them an inside look into my life and my story in my own words.
Vy: Depending on the day of the week, I do different things. For example, a typical Monday would consist of me going to lunch with my friends, going for a run, practicing choreography for my dance team, choreographing for my dance classes, practicing my vocals, writing and going to gymnastics class and dance rehearsal. I am an on-the-go type of busy girl, but mostly because I get bored easily and always have to be doing something.
Ben: What's the most embarrassing moment in your life?
Vy: I'm a very carefree person and I don't get embarrassed very easily. It takes a lot for me to feel embarrassed because I'm really good at laughing at myself. I've done embarrassing things like forget my lyrics when I'm performing and I've tripped on my way up to the stage, but for the most part, nothing sticks in my mind as terribly embarrassing. If anything, I would embarrass people around me because I'm being goofy in public.
Ben: How has the Internet changed your life?
Vy: The internet is AMAZING! The internet has definitely exposed me to more than just the Vietnamese industry, which I think is great. I love to share my music and my talents with the world and the internet definitely allows me to do that.
Ben: For the female visitors of AsiaFinest: How do you keep in shape? Any advice or tips for girls who's thinking of joining the music industry?
Vy: I keep in shape by dancing A LOT. I have rehearsals at least 3 days a week, plus I try to workout on the days I don't have rehearsals. I try to eat healthy by avoiding greasy foods, but I LOVE TO EAT! I'm not a picky eater so I'll eat just about anything you put in front of me. One thing that I've recently discovered is juicing. I don't like to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but I will drink it. Juicing is great because I can get all of the nutrients that I need each day in one or two glasses.
For girls that are interested in getting involved in the music industry, there are a couple things to consider. First of all, practice makes perfect. You have to eat, sleep and breathe music. Practicing your vocals daily is so important. Also, the music industry can be very physically demanding. It's good to keep in shape, but most importantly, healthy. Lastly, you should always be driven by your passion. It's important to keep a good head on your shoulders and keep a positive attitude. There will always be people that will try to discourage you, but if you surround yourself with people you love and trust, and have faith in yourself, you will undoubtedly go far in your career.
Ben: Did your family support your decision to sing?
Vy: I like to think of my family as my groupie. My family has been extremely supportive. They've traveled with me and have come to countless performances. They've been my strength through my music and dance career. I wouldn't be where I am without them.
Ben: Where would you be today if you weren't a singer?
Vy: If I wasn't singing, I would probably be a high school English teacher. I've always wanted to change the world so I figure, what better way to influence the future than to teach today's youth? But since all of these music opportunities have come my way, I've put my school-teaching on hold to follow my dreams while I'm still young. But I do teach dance classes to satisfy my enthusiasm for teaching.
Ben: Any goals that you want to achieve but still haven't?
Vy: I would like to open my own business someday. I might open my own dance studio, talent agency, or youth corporation of some sort. I would love to keep doing what I love in the entertainment industry with my dancing and singing, while at the same time creating a means for young, talented individuals to follow their dreams.
Ben: For the male visitors of AsiaFinest: Are you currently single? How would a guy approach a beauty like you? What do you look for in a guy? Turn Ons and Turn Offs?
Vy: My music will tell you whether or not I'm single. Pick up my CD and the answer will be in my music. *Hint, hint* To say "approach a beauty like you" makes me sound so intimidating. And I am definitely not intimidating. If a guy isn't confident enough to approach a harmless girl like me, than they're probably not someone I would be interested in anyway. I am often attracted to guys who are confident, intelligent and open-minded. I enjoy all things creative and artistic like musical theater, dance, art, music, and spoken word, so it's great to meet someone who enjoys those things as well. I am a low maintenance girl, so I don't like guys who try to impress me with money and cars. A sense of humor is definitely something that I find very attractive. I love to laugh, so anyone who can make me crack up to the point where I'm snorting and rolling on the floor gets an A+ in my book.
Ben: What do you do for fun?
Vy: I love to sleep in! Any day that I can sleep in until 1 or 2pm is a great day. I also enjoy going out clubbin with my friends because I love to dance. I really enjoy going to see shows whether they're concerts, plays, movies, dance showcases, or comedy improv shows. I love trying out new restaurants, clubs and community events. I also love sitting at home watching DVDs of my favorite shows with my sister.
Ben: Are you fluent in Vietnamese? Do you plan to sing in Vietnamese in the future?
Vy: I am not fluent in Vietnamese, but I understand some and speak a little. I was always one of the very few minorities in my school growing up which made it hard for me to keep up with my Vietnamese. I definitely would like to sing in Vietnamese in the future, but I probably won't be performing a Vietnamese song until I have perfected the language. I am a perfectionist, so I don't want to sing in Vietnamese until I am completely confident.
Ben: What genre of music and which artist do you listen to now? Who's your favorite artist(s) and why?
Vy: I'm very open to all kinds of music. But I listen to a lot of pop, R&B and hip-hop music because it's great for choreography and dance. Janet Jackson is my favorite artist because she dances, sings and writes her own material. I have loved her style and music ever since I was young. I love music from the 70s and 80s like Queen, Prince and early Michael Jackson. I also love classical music. Whenever I hear a song with a piano solo, I swear I'm in love. I don't know why, but piano music always makes me relaxed and happy. On occasion, I'll even listen to country music because I think that country songs tell great stories.
Ben: How did you get the nicknames: Stevie, V-nugget, Veebles?
Vy: When I was younger, my American name was Stephanie. My best friend growing up decided to combine Stephanie and Vy and it ended up being "Stevie." "V-nugget" came out of nowhere. A friend of mine just started calling me that one day. As for "Veebles", it's an inside joke. My friends often like to pretend like they're my biggest fans. One of my good friends was joking around one day, acting all crazy, saying he collected some of my loose hairs and named them "Veebles." It kind of stuck. haha! Sometimes at dance practice, when people see me they will say "HI VY!" while at the same time, holding their arms up in a "high V" (a cheerleading move). "High V" has become another one of my nicknames.
Ben: Any upcoming projects or performances that we should look out for?
Vy: Shows to look out for:
January 21 and 22 New Orleans, LA
January 28 Washington DC
January 29 Pasadena, CA (Dancing with TEAMBoogiezone.com-Breed)
February 3 Seattle, WA
February 11 Huntington Beach, CA
February 19 San Francisco, CA (TEAMBoogiezone.com-Breed)
February 26 Irvine, CA (TEAMBoogiezone.com-Breed)
Ben: We're just about done with this interview. Is there anything else that you would like to say to our AsiaFinest.com's visitors?
Vy: Support the music! There are a lot of Artists and bands that are out there sharing their love for the music. Support all musicians and all styles of music because without it, we'd all have a bunch of bored ears. Make sure to give props to those who are doin their thing. And thank you for supporting my music, my dream and the rise of Asian-American talent.
If you have any pictures of Vy Nguyen, please send it to us and we'll credit you for it. Talk about Vy Nguyen in our friendly discussion forum!
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