It’s a Friday night in, you’re bingeing Friends with a glass of red in one hand, opening your fifth Fantale of the night in the other. The wrapper reads:
WHO AM I:
Born in Sydney in 1987, she is a musician and straight-up style icon. She began learning piano at 15-months-old and was one of the youngest in her generation to receive the highest Australian music qualification attainable at the age of 12. She completed a 15-city concert tour through China in 2016, was the first ever Australian-Vietnamese to enter the US iTunes Classical Charts in 2017, and is releasing her eighth album in two days…
ANSWER: Van-Anh Nguyen
In Biggie Smalls’ wise words, “If you don’t know, now you know.”
Unsurprisingly, there’s a whole lot more to this talented woman than fits a Fantale wrapper.
With one year of her Law degree left, Van-Anh dropped out of university to pursue her musical passion. Now she floats between her Sydney and LA abodes doing what she loves: performing and producing. Suffice to say, she’s never looked back.
Over the years, Van-Anh grew accustomed to extremely technical pieces for piano examinations and competitions. But her upcoming solo album Peaceful Piano Essentials (out October 16) sings a slightly different song, inspired by fan requests during her Facebook and Instagram lockdown livestreams.
“The pieces that people requested the most… really came down to the core classical works by Bach, by Chopin, Debussy. The pieces that, funnily enough, I never really got to play and perform so much growing up,” she tells her followers on Instagram. “Coming back to these beautiful favourites is a complete joy for me.”
A recent study by The Guardian suggests a musical awakening among young people, with almost half (45 per cent) deeming classical music “an escape from the noise of modern life”; a feeling Van-Anh knows all too well. “When in times of uncertainty or stress, I find that people turn to music to stay present, to help process thoughts and feelings and to calm the mind,” she says. “I have consciously hand-picked pieces that I feel will lend itself to this.”
When the talented pianist isn’t performing classical, she’s busy channelling her inner Sasha Fierce. Under her moniker ‘Double Touch’, Van-Anh composes and produces ambient house music with DJ and drummer Mark Olsen.
Whether you’re in need of a new WFH playlist or some cruisy tracks for drinks with the girls this weekend, Van-Anh’s got you covered. Turn up her new album, tune out the world and enjoy a moment of calm.
Peaceful Piano Essentials by Van-Anh Nguyen is out on October 16.