Mai Khoi is a harshly criticised artist in a Communist country like Vietnam. She is outspoken about LGBT rights and the violence against women. Her compositions incorporate local traditions from Vietnamese music to Western traditions in blues, soul and rock.
Mai Khoi is a Vietnamese pop star, singer and musician. She has been playing music since she was 12 when she was the pianist in a wedding band with her father, a music teacher, in the coastal city of Nha Trang. Drawing on a wide variety of influences, from traditional Vietnamese folk to blues, soul and rock, Mai Khoi seamlessly blends disparate styles and rhythms. Her music is also distinct in terms of its emotional range, her wide vocal register as well as the distinct tonal qualities of her voice.
In 2010, Mai Khoi won Vietnam Television Song and Album of the Year Award, the highest award for song writing in the country. After winning the award, she shaved half of her hair off and inscribed the letters ‘VN’ for ‘Vietnam’, the name of the song that won the competition, on one side of her head. For this she was harshly criticised by the country’s conservative media establishment. No stranger to controversy, Mai Khoi is somewhat of an anomaly for a celebrity in a Communist country like Vietnam for having spoken out about sexuality, LGBT rights and violence against women.
Mai Khoi broke international headlines in 2016 after she became the first Vietnamese celebrity in history to nominate herself for the National Assembly (equivalent to congress) on a pro-democracy platform.