Whether it’s India, Argentina, Germany or Vietnam – physical and mental violence is part of the life of many women and children. The WHO reports that 35 per cent of women worldwide are affected by it. Due to the ongoing pandemic, violence against children and women has increased significantly. “Violence against women is never acceptable“ – that is what the UN promotes. In cooperation with UNICEF Vietnam, UNFPA, UN Women, and Save the Children they initiated the Blue Heart campaign which is supported by the Vietnamese government.
The campaign calls for everyone to speak up against violence against women and children, hoping they will get enough courage to report acts of violence and make perpetrators take responsibility for their actions. In addition, the campaign is sharing knowledge about how to prevent violence and offers help for those affected by it. Many Vietnamese celebrities support the campaign, including Bao Thanh, H’Hen Nie, Hoang Bach, and Minh Trang. Among them is Trong Hieu who was able to unite 17 artists from all over the world on his song Under The Same Sky to help promote the campaign. We had the opportunity to interview him and talked about his career and the Blue Heart campaign via Skype.
DER ALBRECHT: How did you start your career as a performer?
Trong: At the age of eight I started dancing. I participated in several European Championships and I was able to win the title for Germany. After I graduated school I went to the Music College in Hannover. There, I became a certified professional musician. After finishing my professional training, I visited my family in Vietnam, where I spontaneously participated in the show Vietnam Idol. I wanted to see how far I would come and I was curious whether my professional training at the Music College was worth it. Fortunately, I won. Since then I live in Vietnam but I visit Germany regularly.
How did your life change after you won Vietnam Idol?
My life changed completely. Now I am living my dream. I shoot music videos, I give radio interviews, I am able to write songs with all kinds of artists. Last year I was the first artist from Vietnam who walked the red carpet at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. It was always my dream to live like that – to be able to build a fan base, write songs, inspire people and make them say, “We listen to your songs. They make us really happy. We get so much energy from it.” For me, that is one of the best things an artist can hear.
Furthermore, you have the opportunity to be part of many social projects. Currently you are part of the Blue Heart campaign by UNICEF Vietnam. What can you, as a musician, do to support this campaign?
This year we were able to record the collaborative track Under The Same Sky with 17 artists from all over the world. All profit of the first three years will be donated to UNICEF Vietnam. Besides, we started a fundraiser with the same name, which we want to use to help children from all over the world, supported by UNICEF International. I am grateful that we were able to do this because now we have a team, the resources and the people who can make everything possible.
Which message do you want to send with this song?
I wrote Under The Same Sky during quarantine. It seemed like everyone was searching for something or someone responsible for everything. With this song, I want to show the importance of solidarity. We should try to solve the problem together because we are all connected, we are all under the same sky. I wanted to show that we are all equal by bringing together people from different skin colors, different origins and different educational backgrounds. We have similar problems, especially if you look at the children. Every child should have access to education, enough food and clean water. Many children in Vietnam do not have these things and many children in other countries are in similar situations. That is why UNICEF Vietnam initiated the Blue Heart campaign which calls out violence against women and children. We want to prevent it and say, “No violence against children and women.”
Violence against women and children is a global problem. How would you describe the circumstances in Vietnam?
I went to the opening event of the Blue Heart campaign and I met a lot of people from UNICEF Vietnam, UN Women, UNFPA, and many other organisations. They showed us the current developments and explained that the main problem of domestic violence is men trying to demonstrate that they are in control. Many children experience violence at their schools, too. They are afraid of going back to school because these bad things happen. This is why the Blue Heart campaign sends the message, “We are here for you. We care.”
At the opening event you held a speech and you talked about your dream. How does this dream look in detail?
It is all about seeing humans and children as a whole. No one is worth less or more than the other. Everyone should be respected for who they are. That includes the basic necessities being covered – that people have enough food, clean water and access to education. That is my dream. I wonder whether it will come true or not; however, I will not just dream about it but also take action. I will continue to inspire people, give them courage, respect everyone, and show them how it feels to be solidly united with others.
Thank you for your time.
Here you can find more Information about the Blue Heart Campaign: https://www.unicef.org/vietnam/press-releases/blue-heart-viet-nam-joining-hands-protect-children-and-women