Phan Thị Mỹ Tâm (born January 16, 1981), best known simply as Mỹ Tâm, is a Vietnamese pop singer who achieved fame with such significant songs as Hoạ My Tóc Nâu, Hát Với Dòng Sông, Ước Gì and Giấc Mơ Tình Yêu.
1999 - 2000: Never give up
In 1997, Mỹ Tâm left Đà Nẵng, her hometown, for Ho Chi Minh City to learn vocal music at the Intermediate level of Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory. Mỹ Tâm has attained many achievements the most important award being the bronze medal at the "Asian Music Festival" held in Shanghai at the end of 2000 when she was working in the Music Center in Ho Chi Minh City. Since that year, Mỹ Tâm has to overcome many challenges to become an "independent-professional singer".
2001 - 2002: A New Phenomenon
In two years, Mỹ Tâm released 2 albums: "Love Forever" and "Not Only Me", 1 VCD Single "Hát Với Dòng Sông (Sing with the River)", 2 CDs Single "Dawn of Love (Japanese song)" and "Cây Đàn Sinh Viên (The Guitar of Students)". She became famous with 2 big hits: Hát Với Dòng Sông and Tóc Nâu Môi Trầm (Brown Hair, Dark Lips). At that time, many young women changed their hair color to dark yellow to look like "Mỹ Tâm". This sparked a new star in Vietnamese pop scene, Mỹ Tâm has become the icon in the Vietnamese music industry and is certified 6x Diamond.
Furthermore, she was successful with other hits like: "My Childhood Home Town", "The Guitar of Students", "Dawn Of Love", "Love Forever", "Hey baby!" and "Forever Love".
2003 - 2005: The No1 Star
In the middle of 2003, she released her 3rd studio album "Yesterday and Now". And it became a huge record in the show industry and is the most successful album in her musical career and Vietnamese musical history to date. The album spared My Tam's biggest hit: "Wish" and another major hit: "My Everlasting Love". "Wish" has become the signature song for My Tam up to date and My Tam still frequently performs the song in many TV appearances.60,000 copies were sold for just a few months and it received numerous positive responses from the audiences and the critics.
Knowing that her chance was coming, My Tam came up with the idea about a concert in 2 big stadiums in Vietnam and became the first Vietnamese artist to have ever got a sold-out stadium concert. The total expenditure for the 2 concerts was about 30 Billion VND (approx. 2,500,000 USD in 2003) and is the most expensive concert funding in the Vietnamese Music Industry. My Tam was crowned: "No1 Pop Star in Vietnam"/"The Vietnamese Pop Princess". After these concerts, her 3rd album hit the 1,000,000 copies which made it the highest selling albums of Vietnamese recording industry, the album is certified 100x Diamond. The album is still in print in 2008 due to popular demand from new fans.
Later in 2004, My Tam was the only Vietnamese Singer participated the "Asia Festival Song" in Seoul, Korea. She wowed the Korean crowds with her 2 hits: "Wish" and "Oh First Kiss". This embarked her motivation for cooperating with Korean producers later in 2005.
In the end of 2004, she had 1 more concert "My Childhood Home Town" and 1 tour "Live With Your Best". Her 4th album "The Color Of My Life" was released in 2005. At the end of 2005, she had one more tour for students which was called "Power Of Dreams". At this time, Vietnamese audiences did not only perceive My Tam as a singer but also a composer/producer as well. A lot of hits was written and composed entirely by My Tam was published such as: Oh First Kiss, How Come, Untold Love, … My Tam re-released her 4th album with a pop/rock remix in it, this album included another smash hit: "Duong Nhu Ta Da"/"We Seemed To Be…" which is My Tam's self-composed song. The track is then to be re-recorded in Korean and appears in her 5th album.
One controversy was sparked when My Tam lost the status of Best Female Artist to another Vietnamese pop singer in the annual Mai Vang (Golden Ochna Integerrima). The award was called out as being rigged and fake due to the amount of votes for My Tam was much higher than the other artist. Despite being compared with the new artist, My Tam has still strengthened her position as the No. 1 Pop Star in Vietnam.
2006 - 2008: The Time And Myself
Reaching the top, My Tam continues to expand her career. Unsatisfied with Vietnamese recording & studio techniques, My Tam cooperated with Numari Picture (South Korea) to work on her 5th album "Fly". During that time, she took more vocal training, dance lessons, and exposed to different music genres. The 5th album instead of followed her usual pop and ballad style, indeed embarked a new sound for her career with more up-tempo R&B, Hip-hop and Soul songs. "Fly" was released in Christmas 2005. Although this album wasn't as successful as 3rd album, it was critically acclaimed and highly rated. The album has yielded many commercial singles; their music videos were released including: Come To Me, Secret, and Untold Love. A single was released in South Korea containg 4 tracks recorded exclusively in Korean: "We Seemed To Be…", "The Dew Drop", "Come To me" and the notable Alicia Keys influenced R&B track "Today".
In early 2008, My Tam reunited with the same Korean production to record her latest album: "The Return". Unlike the previous effort, the Korean producers are only in charged of mastering the record. All the tracks are composed by Vietnamese producers, including Tam's self-produced track: "Nhu Em Doi Anh/ Like I'm Waiting For You". The album was recorded in Seoul, South Korea. My Tam explained that through the title, she wants to express that the album is her return with "pop ballad and slow-jam" and "emotional feeling". The new album has the similar sound like her 3rd album excepts it is influenced more by Korean vibes. "The return" has been claimed by Vietnamese critics that it brought My Tam to a new level in her career: a more professional voice, significantly improved English, and more skilled singing techniques (especially in the R&B track: "And I Have You"). Even though majority of the album is produced by Vietnamese producers, it contains a more international vibe, excellent quality and characterizes My Tam as an evolving artist. Following the album release, a tour is planned in summer 2008.
"The Return" has been clearly stated by My Tam that it is only her first project of: "The Time & Myself".
On September 1st, 2008, My Tam released her 7th album, "To the beat" (Nhip Dap). Accompanied with the release was a Live Concert Tour to promote for the album and her previous successful album "The Return" (Tro Lai). "To the beat" was produced by the same producer who worked on her last two albums "Fly" and "The Return". Unlike those techno-rap dance songs popular nowadays in Viet Nam, the album was said to be an up tempo one with beats that "make you want to dance when you first hear it" (My Tam, 2008).Within two months,"To the beat" sold over 100,000 copies.