This month’s featured artist is Diễm Liên, one of Vietnamese music’s powerhouse voices of today. Born Đinh Diễm Liên, the singer was born in 1971 in Đà Lạt, where she grew up with 4 other sisters all with the name “Liên”. While living in Vietnam, Diễm Liên became acquainted with songwriter Tùng Giang and with his support she began performing for audiences. In 1991, Diễm Liên moved to the United States where she would soon reunite with Tùng Giang, and he would continue to help her find opportunities to sing at various clubs.
In 1992, Diễm Liên became a singer for Mây Productions, which produced the popular Hollywood Night shows in the 1990s. She would make her first performance in Hollywood Night 3, performing “Tình Khúc Tháng Sáu” by Ngô Thụy Miên. Still a young woman at the time, Diễm Liên caught the attention of audiences with her beauty and angelic voice. Her voice was pure and light, but more than capable of performing both nhạc tiền chiến and pop music. After Hollywood Night 8, Diễm Liên began performing for Trung Tâm Thúy Nga, making her first appearance in Paris By Night 26. Her time with Paris By Night lasted from 1994 to 1996, but in that short time, her fame grew and she became well-known for the song “Con Yêu,” which she continues to perform to this day.
After working with Thúy Nga, Diễm Liên took a hiatus from singing; during this time she got married and had a son. In 2003, she joined Asia Entertainment, the company with which she would spend most of her career – roughly 15 years. By this point, Diễm Liên’s voice had changed significantly, gaining much more strength and power, as well as an emotional intensity that fans had not seen before from her. Performances such as “Anh Còn Nợ Em” in Asia 46, or “Thiên Thần Trong Bóng Tối” in Asia 56 would solidify herself as one of the “big voices” of Asia Entertainment and in the Vietnamese music industry overseas. During this time, Diễm Liên also performed for other production companies including Tình and Vân Sơn, and also became known for her duet performances with fellow vocal powerhouse, Nguyên Khang.
In addition to singing, Diễm Liên has also displayed great talent in acting. While she had roles in films “Dòng Đời Oan Trái” and “Người Trong Mơ”, her breakout role would be in “Vượt Sóng (Journey From The Fall)”, a film about a family escaping Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon in 1975, where Diễm Liên starred alongside legendary Vietnamese actress Kiều Chinh.
From having a small yet pretty voice, to having a voice full of technical and emotional complexity capable of singing any genre, her growth as a singer should be an inspiration to all other singers. With hard work and patience comes great rewards. As an actress, Diễm Liên is a perfect case of a singer being able to successfully transition into acting while still maintaining a singing career, inspiring others to explore other areas of the creative arts. A true example of a well-rounded artist who continues to remain humble, Diễm Liên has earned a rightful and well-deserved place in the Vietnamese entertainment industry.
Dương Thái Hoà
Dương Thái Hòa has always been passionate about Vietnamese music. Graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music, Thái Hòa currently performs alongside the Liberty Band in shows within the Vietnamese community. In addition, Thái Hòa also writes, records and performs his own music on his YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/JamesDuongMusic