Son of Vietnamese immigrants, Naris Sampaiworakij, 34, was an events promoter who found music was his real love. Now he’s releasing his first album, Love at First Song, under the guidance of Koh Mr. Saxman.

BK: Tell us about growing up here with Vietnamese parents?
My grandparents were from Vietnam so my father and mother weren’t registered as Thai citizens. I remember, once, our family couldn’t leave Ubon Ratchathani because we didn’t have Thai ID cards. As I was undocumented, my parents had to work very hard to send me and my siblings to a private school, which was very expensive. At school, I was discriminated against because of my race, so I decided I wanted to be a exchange student. Luckily, the government gave Thai registration to me and more than ten thousand immigrant children that year so I was able to go study abroad and then come back to study at ABAC.

BK: What was your first job?
I went back home to help my father with his contractor work for two months. Then I opened a karaoke shop and starting becoming a DJ and event promoter at a big shopping mall in Ubon Ratchathani.

BK: Why did you decide to go to Sydney, Australia?
I felt bored so I put all my money towards registering for the first semester in an event management master’s degree in Sydney. I had to work hard to be able to pay for my education and living expenses. I ate instant noodles for months. Finally I got a job at a printing house and was able to finish my master’s degree.

BK: How did you become a concert promoter in Sydney?
My final master’s degree project was a concert event where I hired a Thai band, Potato, to play there. It made me good money, so I began doing it as a job and became the partner of a Thai restaurant, Na Bangkok.

BK: How did you become a singer on Mr. Saxman’s records?
I hired Jennifer Kim and Mr. Saxman to play in Sydney and they found out that I could sing well and ask me to join them.

BK: How would you describe your album?
Easy listening pop jazz. I wrote seven songs without any music skills.

BK: Do you worry having left everything in Sydney for this album?
Yes! It was a really tough decision and I know it won’t be easy for someone to begin singing at 34. But I want to follow my dream.

BK: What's next for you?
This album helped me discover myself and my interests, especially songwriting. So I will definitely stay in the music circle for as long as I can.


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