SINGER Pich Sophea has come a long way from selling snails and sugar cane to support her family.
Shortly the 26-year-old plans a two-month tour of the United States, invited by the Cambodian Association to perform some of her pop hits such as Better Day, if she wins a visa from the US Embassy.
And she won’t be going alone, her spokesman said. Actor and singer Meng Bunlo will accompany her, after finding fame in the movie Chov Poskeng Korng with Chon Chan Lakana and in the controversial drama Knock Ror Monos.
He’s a veteran singer, having worked his way up from the provinces with a band called Youth Band before performing in Phnom Penh restaurants in his scrabble for creativity. He later took first place in the Top Teen Contest and has produced many videos and recordings.
Pich Sophea said it would be the first time they both had been invited to perform in the US, although she had already toured Australia, France and Canada.
Forced by poverty to leave school in grade 11, Pich Sophea first tried to make a living by selling snails and sugarcane on the streets of Phnom Penh after she and her family moved from their home province of Prey Veng.
When she realised that she couldn’t make enough to help feed her parents and two elder sisters, she turned to restaurants, looking for someone to hire her as a singer.
Later she found some success as a nightclub crooner before being spotted by domestic music production company Rasmey Hang Meas, in 2003.
Since then she has been working with the company’s songwriters to come up with lyrics that appeal to young people.
She sings in both Khmer and English, and is a popular feature in many Cambodian concerts and televised events.