Singer Phetdavone’s star shines bright in Laos

After winning a recent television singing contest in Thailand, Ms Phetdavone Khammanivong has changed dramatically and has received many offers in Laos to showcase her skills and talents.
The 28-year-old told Vientiane Times she was very proud to win the contest because she never thought a country girl like her, who had completed only year three of primary school, could emerge victorious in such an event.
She is recognised whenever she appears in public and has been hired to sing in events in Vientiane and the provinces. Phetdavone hopes to meet all the fans who cheered for her while she was participating in the competition in Thailand.

Phetdavone seen with her friends and fans at a wedding reception where she performed.

She was born in Deua-neua village in Xanasoumboun district, Champassak province. She is the fourth daughter in a family of nine. She is the daughter of Ms Bounta khammanivong, 56, and Mr Khampoun Khammanivong, 63, and most of her family are rice farmers.
Phetdavone has an older brother, two older sisters and five younger sisters. The family’s extreme poverty resulted in the separation of her father and mother. Her education ended after only three years in primary school as she had to work to support her family.
At the age of 11, in 2001, she decided to leave her family and work at the Sailomyen Restaurant in Pakxe district, washing dishes and doing cleaning work.
Because of her love of singing, she often sang while she washed the dishes and did her other chores every day. The owner of the restaurant and the band playing there realised she had talent and a good voice, and she was trained to sing and dance with the band to entertain customers.
This was the first time she used a microphone to sing with a band on stage. “Khounlamyai”, a track by a Thai singer, was the first song she sang. She spent almost six years singing at the Sailomyen Restaurant before it closed.
She then began singing at the Sailomyen Restaurant in Attapeu province, which was owned by Mr Van, a member of the band that played at the restaurant in Pakxe. When that closed, Mr Van decided to open his own restaurant and he persuaded Phetdavone to sing there.
She sang at the restaurant in Attapeu for three years and then moved to Vientiane where she sang at various places. She currently performs at the Tammour Restaurant.
Phetdavone said she decided to enter a singing competition on Thai television because of a close friend who loved her singing. When a friend initially tried to persuade her to enter the contest, she refused because she did not have much money.
So her friend decided to help with the expenses. Phetdavone was unsuccessful in that competition but it was a new experience for her. She then agreed to enter other competitions to show off her skills and talents as a singer.
One reason she entered the most recent contest was that she wanted to meet the famous Thai composer, Mr Sala Khunawut, who was one of the judges. She described him as someone who likes to provide chances to people with talent. Phetdavone listened to his suggestions about improving her skills.
One of the most important things for this contest was choosing songs that matched her vocal abilities, and to use the suggestions from the judges to improve her performance in each round of the competition. 
The biggest difficulty she faced was the pronunciation of consonants in the Thai language, for which she had to practice a lot. But undaunted she took on the highly skilled Thai competitors during the various rounds of the competition and finally emerged the winner.
She received 1 million baht (more than 265 million kip), which she used to renovate her mother’s house in Champassak province.
Phetdavone describes herself as a simple and kind person who likes bamboo soup and singing songs whenever she has time. She said Tai Orathai was her idol.
Phetdavone is highly skilled in singing folk and country songs and can also sing Vietnamese and Chinese songs as well as songs from other countries.
“I will continue singing to earn money, and then I will open my own restaurant,” she said.
People or organisations interested in hiring Ms Phetdavone for singing assignments can contact her manager at 020 59997769.


By Sisouphan Amphonephong
(Latest Update May 10, 2018)

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