“THIS IS MY FIRST INTERVIEW FOR A magazine so I am very excited,” says Ngoc Thy before unleashing a cackle from behind plumes of her own cigarette smoke.
Watching the 63-year-old singer mug and pose for our photographer with practised panache, it is hard to believe she has not been exposed to the full glare of publicity before. She certainly isn’t camera shy.
“I’ve got nerve and I am experienced,” she says. “Sometimes in Vietnam you can have difficulties if you have a strong and individual personality. But everyone who sees me perform accepts me and likes my music. I am not scared of anything and I will not give up.”
The fact that Thy clearly does not intend to exchange her microphone for the proverbial pipe and slippers anytime soon will not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen her strut her stuff.
The singer ’s twice weekly performances at the bohemian enclave of Yoko café-bar in District 3 make for compelling viewing in a city short on visceral live performers. Her powerful yet versatile pipes can handle everything from heartrending soul standards to hard-rocking potboilers by the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Rolling Stones, while her sparkling stage persona attests to over four decades of graft.