by Bảo Ngọc
After participating in several TV shows, a student from Laos has suddenly found online fame due to his ability to sing in Vietnamese.
Vongsaynha Keonakhon, 22, is currently a Marketing major at Tôn Đức Thắng University, Hồ Chí Minh City. With a trendy fashion sense, he is also a rising model and actor.
Keonakhon told Việt Nam News he had been studying in Việt Nam for more than 3 years. At first, he found things strange because of the difference in culture and language. However, with the help of friends he is now able to be independent and take care of himself without much support from his family.
“When I first came to Việt Nam, I had difficulty with traffic and regional accents but thanks to the help of lovely Vietnamese friends, I have gradually got used to the lifestyle here and consider this place as my second home,” he said.
In addition to his singing talent, Keonakhon also has a passion for taekwondo and has been practising it for 7 years.
“Taekwondo and music are two indispensable parts of my life. Taekwondo helps me gain health and flexibility but music makes my soul comfortable. Both are my passions,” he said.
Keonakhon said Vietnamese taekwondo athlete Châu Tuyết Vân was a great inspiration to him and the reason he chose Việt Nam to study.
“I was a big fan of the Việt Nam taekwondo team. In high school I had the opportunity to watch Vân compete at the SEA Games and win the gold medal, which made me extremely excited. She told me to apply to Tôn Đức Thắng University because that’s also her school. So I decided to say goodbye to my hometown and go to Việt Nam to study.”
During his time studying in Việt Nam, Keonakhon was given the cute and Vietnamese name Dâu Tây (Strawberry).
He soon joined Tôn Đức Thắng Taekwondo Club and was taught by coaches Lê Hiếu Nghĩa and Dương Huỳnh Mai — who had trained Vân for many years.
Despite his confident demeanor today, Keonakhon used to be very shy. In the past, he was self-conscious about his appearance and not confident enough to pursue his passion for music. After coming to Việt Nam, the young singer decided to have a “makeover”.
He focused more on his own style and worked out for months. As a result, the young boy lost more than 20kg and became more confident in his appearance than ever.
“Now if my old friends meet me, they won’t help but be impressed by my ‘cool’ appearance,” he joked.
Thanks to the process of changing himself, Keonakhon is confident to participate music competitions and TV shows. The most recent was the game show Giọng Ải Giọng Ai (Whose Voice), where he made famous stars like Trấn Thành, Ngô Kiến Huy and Trường Giang fall in love with his sweet voice.
Keonakhon also participated in reality show Ai Sẽ Thành Sao (Who will Become a Star) and entered the top 6 finalists. After the show, he was considered a student of bolero star Quang Lê.
In addition to his achievements at competitions, the Lao boy’s YouTube channel has thousands of subscribers. The young artist’s videos about daily life and his covers of Vietnamese songs have received much praise from Vietnamese and Lao fans.
The most prominent is the duet performance of the song Cô Gái Viêng Chăn (Vientiane Girl) with singer Bùi Tuấn Ngọc to mark the 59th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Laos, which was much loved by the audience.
Keonakhon said that after studying at school, he often spends time practicing vocals to be able to sing in Vietnamese better.
“Singing Vietnamese is much more difficult than speaking. I normally like to sing pop music and also try Vietnamese country music as well as bolero but find it very difficult to pronounce the lyrics. But singing is still my passion and I think singing in Vietnamese is not too difficult if you practice it regularly,” he said.
Keonakhon now considers the country as his second home. The Lao student said: “I have never found life in Việt Nam boring. Here, I have many friends, am helped by many people, and cared for by teachers and coaches. If possible, I want to stay in Việt Nam for a long time.”
Keonakhon said that in the future, he will practise acting more to try out movie projects, and at the same time try to release new music in the coming year. VNS