Destined for pop

Published: 20/08/2009 05:00


Modeling’s okay and acting in films is a nice diversion, but Maya belongs on the stage.

She has studied pantomime, acted in film, and has been a successful fashion model, but now 21-year-old Hanoian Maya, whose real name is Mai Thu Huong, reckons she has found her true calling as a pop singer.

Her sparkling eyes, jutting chin and long legs make for an eye-catching young woman, always a plus for a would-be star.

The pantomime skills, which she began acquiring at an early age, do her no harm either and are the secret behind her exquisite body control and spectacular dancing.

It was from her acting class that Maya was plucked for a supporting role in Nguyen Hong Son’s film Bi mat cua Khai (Khai’s secret) in 2007.

As for modeling, Maya reckons fashion chose her as its partner, yet she only sees modeling as a job and has no great attachment to it despite appearing in major fashion events like Dep (beauty) Fashion Show, Fashion Week, and the Vietnam Collection Grand Prix.

As fate would have it, Maya got the chance to appear in a music video being made by a Vietnamese-American director. The 16-year-old’s dream of becoming a star of the stage was reawakened.

Full of motivation, she taped her voice and sent the recording to a songwriter. He wrote back “you have aptitude, just follow your heart” so she did just that.

An unsuccessful stint with a foreign music company did not deter Maya, who decided she needed professional training and studied singing at the Military College of Cultural Art.

Her big break came when a friend introduced her to the songwriter Huy Tuan, who would later produce her debut album and suggest the stage name “Maya” as it was easy to remember.

She went on to win the Miss Talent title in the Miss Congeniality Vietnam-China contest in 2006 with the song Mong cho (Waiting) by Tuong Van. Maya got into the final 40 of Vietnam Idol the following year, and took up residence at the Ho Guom Xanh (Green Sword Lake) Club in Hanoi.

But Hanoi was too provincial for a girl with ambition so Maya, like Ho Ngoc Ha before her, tore up her roots and headed to Ho Chi Minh City, as she had planned to do for some time.

Once she was settled in the southern metropolis, Maya signed up with the agency owned by songwriter Minh Nhien, took singing lessons from People’s Artist Tran Hieu and refined her dancing with the Hoang Thong troupe.

After months of hard work and dedication, Maya has two albums and one video clip of pop and R&B that will be released before the end of August. She knows these genres are her forte, along with the spectacular dancing, so she’s sticking with them.

Maya is the latest protégé of the businessman and amateur songwriter Ha Dung, who made a name for himself by taking the relatively unknown singers Ho Quynh Huong, Quach An An and Tra My under his wing and turned them into stars.

Like Maya, they publicly denied any romantic attachment to their wealthy mentor at the time.

She feels fortunate to have Dung looking after her interests, and could not care less about the gossip that fills the internet.

Luck has certainly played a big part in Maya’s success, but there’s more to it than that.

“To become a celebrated singer, a good voice is not enough. Above all, you need luck and investment. A good singing voice is a gift but the investment has to be found. Ha Dung’s interest and perseverance have given me the opportunity to grow,” says Maya.

“I ignore comparisons with Ho Quynh Huong or Tra My. We each have our own path, our own strengths, and our own fans. I have youth on my side and plenty of room for hope and aspiration.”

Reported by Phuong Di

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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