Randy and Songs about Mother & Motherland

Famous for his warm voice in the overseas Vietnamese community in the US, the singer with Vietnamese and American blood, Randy has an original voice without any modification as his narratives come from his heart.

Randy is Tran Quoc Tuan. He grew up in Thanh Tam Orphanage (Da Nang). At the age of 5, he was adopted by a family in Cam Ha (Hoi An).

In recent years, Randy has regularly come back to Vietnam for performances because he desires to be anchored in his homeland, perform more Vietnamese-language songs as well as to promote Vietnam’s beauty via his songs.

We met Randy at a café in Ho Chi Minh City on a sunny afternoon. I first felt that he was full of energy. His Vietnamese is very good, both in speaking and singing in spite of his living in America since he was 20 years old.

Randy moved to America in the 90s. He participated in a karaoke competition in southern California organised by the Vietnamese community. Right on at the first competition, he won a cassette. At the second competition a year later, he won first prize. Randy was then admitted to Hai Au band in California in 1992 and since then he has become a professional singer. Randy said that his father is American and his mother is Vietnamese. He lived in Da Nang orphanage before being adopted by a family in Cam Ha (Hoi An). He never really knew a mother’s love when he was small and that disadvantage might have inspired him to sing Vietnamese songs of a mother and her child.

The singer with Vietnamese and American blood Randy. Photo: Dang Kim Phuong
Randy singsin Australia. Photo: File
Randy’s albums are introduced in Australia. Photo: File
In 2007, Randy came back to Vietnam for the first time and since then he has been known as “the singer looking for his mother”. Coming back to Vietnam for performances is also a start to look for his mother. Thanks to current support from some organisations and individuals, he has had hundreds of appointments nationwide to meet as many women as possible to find out who his mom is. In spite of not finding her yet, he always hopes one day his mother will be in front of him.

A lot of songs, such as “Mommy” performed by Randy impressed audiences with his warm but sad feelings. “Seeing Randy, we think of mothers and our homeland,” said an audience member after Randy’s performance.

Since 2000, Randy has composed 40 Vietnamese language songs on the topic of mother, father, love, and homeland. He said, “For me, composing is similar to drawing a picture with words, where tones of love and feeling will create a meaningful picture”. Favourite songs composed by Randy include “Mother”, “Father”, “Invisible Injury”, “Life”, “Waiting for Father’s News” and “Missing You So Much”.

Randy’s present wife (from Long An, now living in Ho Chi Minh City) is unlimited inspiration for Randy to compose songs about wives and women. She always supports him during his tours, providing him with opinions for some of his songs.

Randy is known as the singer ofsongs about mothers and his homeland. Photo: Dang Kim Phuong

Randy sings in Vietnam. Photo: Dang Kim Phuong

In recent years, Randy has regularly come back to Vietnam for performances and
looking for his mother. Photo: Dang Kim Phuong
Randy sings with some audiences at a show. Photo: Kim Phuong/VNP
Randy and an audience pose for a photo. Photo: Dang Kim Phuong

Randy also uses Vietnam’s landscape images to illustrate songs in his music videos. He wants to introduce Vietnam’s beauty, people, culture and customs via his songs.

Recently, Randy signed a contract with a YouTube channel and he plans to add English subtitles to his music videos so that they will be enjoyed by more people.

“In Vietnam, there are numerous beautiful songs, poems and excellent artists. However, foreigners do not understand Vietnamese. Therefore, I translate songs with a desire to introduce the world to the beauty of Vietnam,” said Randy.

Story: Son Nghia – Photos: Dang Kim Phuong& Files