Back-burner passion comes to the fore

Thanh Nien News

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A still from American singer/songwriter David C. Murray’s music video clip ‘Heart of Gold’ that was released in Vietnam last year.  FILE PHOTO
When David C. Murray learnt that he was coming to Vietnam to join the US embassy in Hanoi, his first thought was “Wow. Vietnam. I don’t know anyone there.”
Two years on, he not only knows a lot of people, but many more people here know him as a foreigner making a name for himself in the local music industry.
As part of a family involved in music for a long time, Murray had dreamt of becoming a singer himself, but in deference to his mother’s wish, entered a medical graduate school, focusing on a different career.
As fate would have it, he was lounging at the Sofitel Hotel when he met a group of young Vietnamese musicians performing there, he said in an interview with the Vietnam Television.
He began performing with them there and was soon invited to gigs in other places.
Almost two decades later, Murray’s passion for music was rekindled, and a singing career became worthy of serious consideration again.
Last year, he released three music video clips online, two of which featured the songs “Are you for real” and “Heart of gold” that he co-wrote with famous American R&B entertainer Akon in the 1990s.
Murray said he collaborated with young Vietnamese musicians like Hoang Touliver, Cuong Seven and Phuong Dao in rewriting “Are you for real.” The video was praised by the public, especially for featuring Hanoi’s beauty.
He said many people do not know about Vietnam, or have only read about the country in books, so he wanted to show what it looks like today.
Thus far, he has received positive feedback for his music products as well as his attitude to work.
Long “Halo,” who produced “Are you for real,” told Vietnam Television: “It’s good to work with David. American ear for music, including David’s, is different from Vietnamese’s, and so is his working style – very serious, punctual and reliable.”
“I wanted to work with David because of his professionalism. In fact, a lot of music producers do,” said Vuong “Jazz”, another producer who is working with Murray on a musical project for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Murray said working on this project, for which he has recorded a song called “The Sound of SLTMA (Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance),” was a fulfilling experience, allowing his music to reach out to 38 countries around the world.
He said he wants to make some contribution to the development of the Vietnamese music industry, and inspire other foreign musicians to come and join it.
“I hope my work will draw more foreigners to Vietnam. Several artists that I have spoken to in the US have expressed interest in performing here,” Murray said.
He said his experience should also show people, especially the youth, that it is possible to have a different career and still pursue one’s passion and interests.
For himself, he said he feels he is doing something he was meant to do.
“When you have a burning desire to do something, you can hide, you can run from it, but it will come back at a time when you know you need to do it.”
He said when he was a child, he was exposed to gospel music whenever the family went to church, and this sparked his love for music and nurtured his dream.
“My grandmother used to push me up and get me to sing all the time. [She told me] you have to be positive and active, because music will grow you.”

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