Hoai Phuong was born into a musical family and raised in Hanoi, Vietnam. His father was a singer and his mother was an actress of cheo, a Northern Vietnamese traditional musical theatre. Taking his parents’ steps, Hoai Phuong started to learn music at the age of 6 and started clarinet lessons at age 11. In 1989, Phuong was the valedictorian of the Entrance Examination to the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music to study clarinet. During his college years in Hanoi, Hoai Phuong along with other fellow music students, including Bang Kieu, formed a band called Golden Key in the early 1990’s, where Hoai Phuong was the singer and saxophonist for the band. Golden Key mostly performed for students at first but gradually turned into a professional band in Hanoi and had several appearances on Vietnam National Television.
After graduating from the Conservatory, Hoai Phuong decided to go to the U.S. to further his music education in 1995. While studying here, he participated in many musical activities including Symphony Orchestra and big band, blues and funk bands, as well as Dixieland and Salsa bands; performing all over the U.S. as well as the Europe. He received many awards for his excellent performances at Jazz Festivals by the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). After finishing his Masters of Music Degree from Brigham Young University, he took a teaching position at Snow College in Utah.
It was not until the beginning of the new millennium that Hoai Phuong started to participate in Vietnamese music activities overseas. His performances on the saxophone, clarinet, flute and oboe can be heard on many CDs and DVDs produced by renowned productions such as Thuy Nga and Van Son.
In a DVD produced by Thuy Nga Productions in 2005 titled Paris by Night 79: Dreams, Hoai Phuong appeared for the first time as a singer in the song Cho Doi by Nhat Trung. However up to this point, Hoai Phuong was only recognized as a young, multi-talented musician. The end of 2009 marked a turning point in Hoai Phuong’s musical career with his debut album Dang Xua. This was a statement for his new image as a vocalist, yet different from many other vocalists, Hoai Phuong always sings with his saxophone. His unique performances has received great applause and support from audiences wherever he’s been, from the U.S. to Canada to Europe and Australia.
After two years of nurturing, Hoai Phuong’s second album Tinh Xa (Distant Love) has been completed. This is an album that has been done mostly upon audience’s requests, both with vocal and instrumental. Such immortal Vietnamese love songs as Chiec La Cuoi Cung, Diem Xua, Niem Khuc Cuoi, Muoi Nam Tinh Cu have been renewed with Phuong’s arrangements, however the listeners still be able to feel the familiar emotion of those beautiful melodies that they always love. Along with those popular songs are Hoai Phuong’s own compositions. These new instrumental tracks were done in world music style with the influences from different cultures which will give the listeners a relaxing sensation.
Besides those that he wrote on his own albums Dang Xua and Tinh Xa, Hoai Phuong’s songs have also been recorded by other famous Vietnamese artists including Tran Thu Ha, Minh Tuyet, Quynh Vi, and Bang Kieu. Hoai Phuong has his own unique way of arrangement. With his advantage of being able to play many different instruments and his vast experiences in many different musical styles and genres, Hoai Phuong always creates a balanced mixture of Eastern and Western, of funk and orchestral, of jazz and electric, etc. Almost every single instrument recorded on both Dang Xua and Tinh Xa were performed by Hoai Phuong himself. Many of his arrangements can be heard on Thuy Nga and Asia productions, as well as on the albums of a variety of other artists.
Recently Hoai Phuong was selected to be the Musical Director for Thuy Nga’s Paris By Night 102: Lam Phuong’s Love Songs by Request. He was in charge of most of the arrangements for the show and leading the 16-piece band. PBN 102 was a special show which was recorded live, thus Phuong’s responsibilities in the show were even more challenging. However both PBN 102 and Hoai Phuong have received many excellent feedbacks from the audience and colleagues all over the world.