Saturday, August 29, 2015

Duy Quang

Duy Quang (1950-2012) was a famous Vietnamese singer and songwriter.  He was the eldest son of Vietnam's most prolific songwriter Pham Duy and singer Thai Hang.  As a singer, his most popular hit songs included such songs written and/or composed by his father such as Tha Nhu Giot Mua, Em Hien Nhu Ma Soeur, Chuyen Tinh Buon, Co Bac Ky Nho Nho and Hai Nam Tinh Lan Dan.  As a songwriter, his most famous song was Kiep Dam Me.  Duy Quang had once been married to singer Julie Quang.

Born on December 20, 1950 in Thanh Hoa province of North Vietnam, Duy Quang was the eldest in a family of eight.  When he was just a year old, he and his parents moved to South Vietnam resettling in Saigon.  From the age of ten, Duy Quang started learning to play various instruments such as the mandolin, guitar, piano and drums.  He began his professional singing career at the age of 17.

Julie Quang and Duy Quang in Saigon prior to 1975
After forming the pop group, The Dreamers, along with his brother, Duy Cuong, his then girlfriend, Julie (later known as Julie Quang) and Veny, Julie's younger sister, Duy Quang began to gain prominence in the year 1969.  He and Julie performed as the male lead and female lead singers, respectively, in The Dreamers.  Extremely popular with younger audiences, The Dreamers focused primarily in covering top hit songs of Western pop groups such as The Beatles, The Carpenters and The Rolling Stones.  At the height of their popularity, The Dreamers headlined nightly at the Ritz in Saigon, a venue headed by singer/songwriter Jo Marcel.

In 1970, Duy Quang and Julie Quang welcomed the birth of their daughter, Ly Lan.  To commemorate their love, Duy Quang wrote a song called Bai Tho Vu Quy for Julie Quang to record.  The song became a hit single upon its release and has since been considered one of Julie Quang's signature songs.  This would be the first time that Duy Quang's songwriting skills were introduced to audiences.

Duy Quang moved to France in 1978 to be near his wife, Julie, who had resettled there since 1974.  After an absence from live performances since the Fall of Saigon, it was in Paris that year when Duy Quang would make his return to the stage.  The couple would move to Southern California a year later to reunite with the rest of Pham Duy's family.  They divorced in 1982.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Duy Quang became one of the best selling overseas Vietnamese recording artists.  He collaborated with numerous overseas Vietnamese music production labels such as Asia Productions, Lang Van, Thuy Nga Paris, Kim Ngan, Diem Xua and Da Lan.  In 1984, Duy Quang got married for the second time to My Ha, a former resident of Washington, D.C.  During the course of this marriage which lasted 18 years Duy Quang would become a father twice again with the births of their two daughters.  He had settled in Midway City with his new family unit in the mid-1980s and built a recording studio inside the family home where he would arrange music and record material for his own music production label, Dream Musical Productions.  Among the most successful studio albums produced and released under Dream Musical Productions include Lam Sao Ma Quen Duoc (1987), Tha Nhu Giot Mua (1988) and Tinh Phai (1989), a duet album recorded with singer Ngoc Lan.  Duy Quang had also recorded duets with numerous other artists including Billy Shane, Nhat HaThai Hien, Ai VanThanh MaiHuong Lan, Bang Chau, Kim Anh, Hoa Mi, Phuong Mai and Jenny Trang.  Toward the end of the 1980s decade, Duy Quang and his then wife, My Ha, had opened a nightclub in Orange County, California called Dem Dong Phuong.  Although the nightclub had been initially successful with many packed nights filled to capacity, the couple began to experience some financial woes and had to close down the venue in the early 1990s.  According to Duy Quang, one of the key factors in his financial downfall was his then wife's gambling addiction.  The couple divorced in 2002.

Album Cover of Duy Quang and Billy Shane Duet Album, Je t'aime (1986),
 a Collection of French Love Songs Originally
Made Popular by Italian Pop Singer Christophe.  

After making several trips back to Vietnam in the early 2000s where he had enjoyed enormous success performing at live shows for local audiences, Duy Quang contemplated repatriation to his native land.  In 2005, he along with his father, Pham Duy, and brother, Duy Cuong, decided to resettle in Vietnam where they would take over and run a nightclub in Ho Chi Minh City called Tinh Van Nghe.  In 2007, a dispute with the owners of Tinh Van Nghe led to Duy Quang and Pham Duy's decision to sever ties and open their own nightclub in which they would name Tinh Ca.  That same year, Duy Quang at age 57 married for the third time to a singer in Ho Chi Minh City named Yen Xuan.  Unfortunately, both the marriage and Tinh Ca Nightclub were short-lived.  Duy Quang and Yen Xuan's marriage ended in divorce two years later.

Diagnosed with end stage liver cancer on October of 2012, Duy Quang returned to the United States on November 7th for medical treatment.  He died on December 19, 2012.  Prior to his death, a sold out event had been held in his honor at Bleu Nightclub in Huntington Beach on December 2nd.  Among the celebrities in attendance that night included Elvis Phuong, Kieu Nga, Thai Chau, Tuan Ngoc, Don Ho, Huong Lan and Cong Thanh & Lynn.

Duy Quang had come from one of the most famous families in the Vietnamese music industry.  His younger sisters, Thai Hien and Thai Thao, are both accomplished Vietnamese singers.  His brother, Duy Cuong, is a famous musician.  He is also the nephew of legendary singer Thai Thanh and singer/songwriter Pham Dinh Chuong.  His first cousins include singers Mai Huong, Y Lan and Quynh Huong.  

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