Candice Phi Phi is yet another net-savvy singer who often visits Vietscape.
Recently, she graciously answered a few question posed by Vietscape. In
the hope to retain some of the singer's style, and personality, we chose
to post this interview as it was written in Phi Phi's own word, with very
minor changes. Like many of her fans, Vietscape appreciate her candidness.
VietScape: What is your real name and how did you come up with your
Phi Phi: Phi-Oanh is my real name, however, I'm known as Phi Phi
all my life. My parents thought it would be cute to name their kids "FiFi"
and "FanFan" (that's Kimo's name), after some French movie stars
during the 60's. However, they sound like pet names (puppies) in the U.S.
so we really got teased at when we went to school here. We didn't find
it very cute, so we adopted different names. I liked Candice Bergen a lot
so that's what I became at school, but at home and in my heart, I'll always
be Phi Phi. Since my parents were in the music business, everyone knew
me as Phi Phi since I was a baby so before I had a chance to even make
up a stage name, that's what they introduced me on stage as.
VS: What was your birthday ?
Phi Phi: Sept. 6th
VS: Where were you born and where did you grow up? What high school
did you attend ?
Phi Phi: I was born in Saigon,Vietnam. I attended Dobie High in Houston,
and Prospect and Blackbird High. Prospect High is in San Jose.
VS: When did you come to the US, where did you first live and where
are you living now?
Phi Phi: I came to the U.S. in March, 1975. I lived in different
states throughout the U.S.
VS: Are there any musician(s) in your family?
Phi Phi: My mother is a singer since the early 60's (Vy Van) My
father is a song writer and used to play in a band (Phan Kien) My aunts and
uncles are the Family Love
VS: When was your first time singing in public?
Phi Phi: I sung in a church choir in Houston, and did a solo performance
in L.A.at the Mayons in 1988.
VS: How and where did you learn to sing ? Did you get encouragement
Phi Phi: Mostly from hearing my mom sing when I was young. However,
because I was so rebellious, I didn't take singing seriously until I was
an adult and decided to make it my career; and at that point I received
a lot of encouragem ent from my family. But most of my musical background
and experience came from my love of music and from the church choir as
well as a black voice teacher when I was living in L.A.
VS: When did you start your musical career and how?
Phi Phi: It started in 1990 when I came down to Orange County from
L.A. to escort my mom to perform at the night club "Dem Dong Phuong
(Nuit D'Orient)", owned by Duy Quang and My Ha at the time. The owners
asked me to come up to sing a song...the next thing I knew I was driving
straight from work at the Ron Segal Art Gallery, from Brentwood to Orange
County every weeke nd. A few weeks later, I was commuting between "Dem
Dong Phuong" and "Chez Moi", Uptight's night club in Alhambra.
VS: Are you influenced by any kind of music or musician(s)? Vietnamese
or Fore ign? What type of music you love best ?
Phi Phi: Without realizing it, I'm very influenced by my mom, in
my heart and soul, she is the best singer! I'm also influenced by American
and jazz music. I lover jazz, French music, and nhac tien chien cua Viet
VS: What is your source of inspiration?
Phi Phi: My family. (especially Linh and Chloe)
VS: Is there a particular song that you are most proud of? Why?
Phi Phi: I'm proud of the songs on my new project "Tinh Muon,"
because I wrote the lyrics to some of the songs myself.
VS: What was your most memorable performance ?
Phi Phi: There are many, but I have to say it has to be my very
first show when a big fight broke out because of me...but I didn't cause
VS: Do you play any musical instruments?
Phi Phi: yes, the piano.
VS: Do you get involved with any other type of arts or performance
outside of music ?
I've done a little theater acting, and modeling for the Asian and American
community. I'm very much involved in the art gallery business (paintings,
serigraphs, lithos., and sculptures)
VS: What kind of fan contact do you have ? Do you receive letter?
Do fans come to talk to you after concert?
Phi Phi: I get very nice fan letters through the mail and through
the internet; they write very sweet and warm compliments, more wonderful
than I deserve...and I'm extremely thankful. I especially like receiving
letters from female fans, because I like the fact that they can relate
to me as a real person and not like I'm some an unrealistic, "bimbo."
VS: How would someone contact you? Do you surf the Internet and
if yes, do you have an E-mail address and can it be published?
Phi Phi: yes, it's CandicePhi@aol.com, also visit our website at
www.imaginepro.com or you can write to me at my P.O. Box - address:
9315 Bolsa Ave. #700, Westminster, CA. 92683
VS: What do you like doing in your free time outside of singing?
Phi Phi: I like going to the movies, reading, walking on the beach,
listening to soft music, and spending quality time with friends and family.
VS: Any favorite food and drink ?
Phi Phi: Ooh... I have many favorites. Let's see. I love Pho, bun
bo hue (actually, all Hue dishes), pasta and sushi.
VS: Any project in terms on CD, video, concert in the next 6 months
Phi Phi: My brother, Kimo and I are Imagine Music Productions. We
just released two new CD's "Tinh Muon" and "It's a Beautiful
Life" with tieng hat P hi Phi, Bao Han, Thai Tai & Simon Wong.
We're currently working on two new CD's (really hot!!) and we're hoping
to have a video out in the near future.
VS: Of all the places you have appeared for performances, is there
any place you like best and would like to go back ? why ?
Phi Phi: This is a really hard question because each place that
I've traveled to holds a special place in my heart. But I have to say,
it's the smaller states or countries that don't have the opportunity to
see many other Vietnamese people, let alone, Vietnamese singers; or have
the convenience of Vietnamese stores where they can go buy CD's or videotapes.
VS: Any goals you want to accomplish in the future ?
Phi Phi: I'd like to have a successful business (art related) with
my family. I hope that Imagine Productions continues to grow !!
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