V-Pop star shines in duet with R&B legend Babyface

By Mai Nhat   December 12, 2022 | 06:39 am PT
V-Pop star shines in duet with R&B legend Babyface
Ngoc Mai (R) and Grammy-winner Babyface at the 2022 HCMC International Music Festival on December 10, 2022. Photo courtesy of event organizers
Ngoc Mai has wowed local audiences by singing a duet with 12-time Grammy winner Babyface at the 2022 HCMC International Music Festival (HOZO).

Last Saturday, the pair sang Toni Braxton's wrenching "How Could An Angel Break My Heart," which Babyface produced.

Mai’s performance was praised, particularly as she’s new to singing both English and R&B. She finished the song on a thrilling high and bright note, which drew excited cheers from the enthusiastic crowd.

Babyface complimented the Vietnamese singer, saying she had a beautiful voice.

"I was surprised," Babyface said after hearing Mai’s pipes belt out the melody. "And I was even more pleased to learn that she was a new music competition star, because I've always enjoyed working with young musicians."

Babyface and Ngoc Mai duet Toni Braxton’s "How Could An Angel Break My Heart" at HOZO 2022. Video by Mai Nhat.

When event organizers first asked Babyface to sing with the Vietnamese star, he said he'd only agree after hearing her sing first. When he arrived in Vietnam on December 9, the two phenoms had only a single rehearsal together.

After singing dozens of his hits for almost an hour, Babyface then really got the crowd going with an elaborate guitar solo.

Concertgoer Minh Anh said he’d been a fan of Babyface’s for almost 30 years, thanks to all the late-90's hits he generated.

"His songs are sad, yet romantic and meaningful," said the 36-year-old.

Babyface has won a record four Grammy awards for Producer of the Year. He has produced 26 number-one R&B hits throughout his illustrious career. Led most notably by his beyond-popular composition "Waterfalls" – sung by epic girl group THC – the artist took American and global audiences by storm in the 90s. His cult following includes young and old, black and white, men and women.

Mai, 35, began studying professional singing at the Hue Academy of Music in 2002.

In addition to Babyface, a feast of international artists from the U.S., South Korea, the U.K., France, Spain and India also performed at this year’s HOZO.

Vietnamese singers and bands who performed at the landmark music festival included Uyen Linh, Van Mai Huong, Vu Cat Tuong, Dong Nhi, Bich Phuong, Ngot and Unlimited. All singers performed with live bands, using no recordings.

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