The Loreto Program is proud and honored to have Thanh Bui as our AMBASSADOR. Thanh’s own passion for Vietnam’s children is beautifully woven into LVAP’s vision: "to inspire and empower underprivileged and disabled children’
To read Thanh Bui's Bio, please click here.

1. What has driven you to accept to be LVAP’s ambassador? 

First and foremost, Trish Franklin is one of the most inspiring Australians that I’ve ever met. I am blown away by her dedication and her sacrifice to the Vietnamese people – to move to Vietnam and spend 20 years of her life in this foreign country and to take care of young children is nothing short of extraordinary. To see someone who is not of Vietnamese background, do what she has done I feel very strongly to assist in whatever way I can to raise the living standards of my own fellow Vietnamese people. Thank you Trish! In this role of ambassador, I hope to raise the awareness of LVAP and spread its word as far as possible.

2. Music is your “soul”; imagine you got up one day without music, what would you be doing?

If I were not doing music, I’d probably be a chef! As a little kid, I loved to spend time in the kitchen pretending to be a celebrity chef such as Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay. One of my life’s greatest loves is food but because of my slow metabolism, if I were a chef, I’d probably be 100 kg’s by now so thank goodness that music saved me!

3. Your love to children is immeasurable, have you got any plans in bringing a brighter future for children across Vietnam – in the music field?

My greatest dream in life is to one day see all Vietnamese children have access to some form of music education. I’ve read case studies about the Venezuelan program called ‘El Sistema’ where the government made music education compulsory for children – what the country then saw was a raise in living standards with the United Nations attributing this factor to the introduction of music to children’s education. I hope to one day, step by step, make this dream become a reality in developing a new generation for Vietnam.

4. Are you happy with your current life? Is there anything you want to change or improve?

To be honest with you, I truly believe that we are where we are supposed to be. I feel so blessed to be able to wake up each morning, always feeling fresh and inspired because I am doing what I love and pursuing my passion – work to me isn’t work anymore, but it’s lifestyle. I see the world, I meet new people everyday, all the kids at SOUL Music Academy inspire me incredibly – perhaps the only thing that I would change is that I need to find a better balance between my personal and professional life – I haven’t quite found that balance and I know that I need to for long term stability.

5. You are Vietnamese/Australian – would you mind sharing with us a little bit about your childhood and what was one of the most memorable things about it?

With parents who came to Australia as refugees after the Vietnam War, perhaps one word to describe my childhood was ‘hard work’. My parents worked in the textiles industry, in something called a ‘sweat shop’ but I only realized that later as an adult – to me, it was normal life and we were all just thankful to be given the best education possible and to learn anything we wanted – from piano, to singing, to drama, dance, tennis etc. etc. Fondest memories were probably cooking for mum and dad a number times a week to help out and seeing their eyes swell up because they appreciated it so much is something that I’m always remember – and the other thing was just all the opportunities that were given to me so that I can be who I am today.

6. Why did you decide to come back to Vietnam and set up the “SOUL Music Academy”?

Coming back to Vietnam was something completely unexpected – if someone has said to me that I’ll be living here in Saigon a few years ago I’d say ‘what?’ But as clichéd as it sounds, I think that everything happens for a reason and to be honest, I feel like I came back to Vietnam to restart my life as finally, I feel as though I’ve found my life purpose. Why set up SOUL Music Academy? I’ve set up a couple of academies in Australia but realized that something like this in a developing country such as Vietnam could potentially bring great influence to the young generation of Vietnamese children. And luckily it’s turned out that way and to see kids of all ages be positively influenced by music, there’s no greater satisfaction for me!

7. You are very “different” from other Vietnamese singers, what do you plan to do to keep up the “outstanding” style?

Thank you! Honesty, I think the most important thing in my art is to keep digging deeper and deeper and taking off all the possible layers of fear, hype, ego to really be able to engage to the core of a message or emotion. I think if I can do that then the way I express myself, whether it’s from a music perspective or from the way I dress will be as natural and ‘me’ as possible. Hopefully, that will be deemed as ‘outstanding’!

8. I am aware that you are involved in other charitable activities e.g. environmental issues: can you please share the rationale behind joining those activities and what are you aiming to get out of it?

I feel very privileged to be in the position that I am in today and I really want to get behind real issues that our facing our society. I feel strongly about the environment and I want to share with the Vietnamese kids what my mentors shared with me when I was growing up – to not only care about my oneself but also care about those around you and the environment that is around you. Sometimes people feel that the BIG issues are TOO big! I think my role is to share that one can take small steps in creating change then when 1 becomes 1,000,000, I believe we can really see a big change.

9. How do you feel being a “famous” person? What are the silver linings of being a famous person? What are the disadvantages?

For a long time and even to a certain extent today, I haven’t quite completely gotten used to being ‘famous’ – it is very rewarding to know that my work has made a positive influence on the public but because I didn’t get into music to become famous, I used to feel extremely shy but now its become more part of my everyday life and I try to take it in my stride because without the public support I can never follow my passion and live out my dreams as I am doing today. Silver linings? Sometimes I feel I am given special treatment at times but I really don’t expect it or ask of it – I don’t see myself as more special than anyone else – I mean, I’m not saving lives! Disadvantages is sometimes I feel that I have no sense of privacy – I walk on the street, eat at a restaurant, sit in a taxi and just feel that all eyes are on me but I’m not for a second complaining! I am very fortunate to be where I am today.

10. What are your most important values as a human being?

To live in the highest state of truth – I believe that when one finds one’s truth, one becomes Zen with oneself and then those around them will also be positively influenced. I don’t think there is a greater satisfaction than being able to have a positive influence on those around you.

11. What is your favorite quote about music? What is your favorite quote about children?

One of the most inspiring quotes I’ve heard is one from Victor Hugo – ‘music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent’ – if there’s a perfect quote about music then I think that one hits the nail on the head! I don’t really have a favorite quote about children but I just think they are the future, the voice of the next generation, and my inspiration for pushing forward each day in my work.

12. What is/are your ‘safe’ zone(s), and if you had the chance to step out of it, what would you do?

I don’t really have a ‘safe’ zone – I think with what I do and the life that I’ve lived and currently living, that I enjoy taking risks and leading with my heart rather than with my head (though this has led to some situations going off the Richter!).

13. Who was your role model when you were a child? 

My parents and in particular, my mother – she is my hero and someone who I always look towards for inspiration. She is strong, a warrior, a fighter but has the most open and generous heart that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. She has taught me almost everything that I know today – she will always be my number 1.

14. What is your most important message to underprivileged (poor and disabled) children and people? What is it about a poor child that breaks your heart?

I think the most important message to underprivileged children is to never give up hope. I know this is easier said than done, but I’ve come from an extremely poor background where my parents were refugees who came to Australia to start a new life and they had nothing more than the clothes on their back. What they never did was give up hope and with this fire, they fought through everything. What breaks my heart about poor child is the injustice of it all – how is it that one child is born into a hopeless situation yet another child is born into a millionaire home? When I see the fortunate kids being wasteful in what they have and wasteful of their opportunities, I just wish kids who really need and are worthy of it could receive the same things.

15. How do you see your mission as LVAP’s ambassador?

My mission to do whatever I can to raise the awareness of Loretto and Trish’s work and to encourage as many people as possible to lend a hand. I don’t think I’m here to move mountains, but to share Trish’s message, especially to the younger generation. As an artist and public figure, I think that I am very fortunate to have an influence with my words – I will do the best I can in this role. I hope to be able to merge my views on music education together with Loreto’s philosophy and strive for a vision to educate the less fortunate children of Vietnam on a holistic perspective.



17. An acrostic poem about yourself: T for… H for…A for… N for…H for ……..

T for tribulation
H for humanity
A for altogether now!
N for Never GIVE up
H for Hope

18. If you had only one day to live, what would you do?

I wouldn’t do anything different than what I’m doing today – I would just spend my remaining minutes with my family and my loved ones.

Thank you!