For Thanh Le, music brings some of his most cherished memories back to life and reminds him of his love for his family.
The Vietnamese-American star, who is the #3-ranked contender in ONE Championship’s featherweight division, can be instantly transported to a different place when he hears some of his favorite tracks.
In the latest edition of #MusicMonday, the 34-year-old discusses some of those tracks and explains why they hold a special place in his heart.
A Favorite Childhood Memory
Le recalls a family outing to a shop where he bought one of his first albums. However, it was a short-lived stay for his new purchase.
“We took a trip to a music store with my parents, and I bought a Wreckx-n-Effect CD. I don’t know if anyone out there is familiar with their music, but it’s not the cleanest on the planet,” the mixed martial artist says with a chuckle.
“I was probably eight or nine years old. My parents weren’t exposed to explicit music at the time, or hip-hop at least. So I popped it in the CD player in the car with my dad, and that CD immediately went out the window.
“He actually rolled down the window, threw the naked CD out of his car, and rolled the window back up. I didn’t say one word. He didn’t say one word. We just sat there until my mom came out of the store.”
Though his first purchase never made it out of the parking lot, his love for hip-hop endured, and it remains a favored genre for the featherweight contender.
“I’ve always loved that kind of music because of the beat and production behind it,” the New Orleans resident continues. “I still listen to it till this day, and that is what gets me amped up for workouts, walkouts, and fights.”
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Songs That Remind Me Of My Parents
The star athlete’s parents are very important to him, and the country songs from his youth remind him of his mother, in particular.
“My mom used to listen to a lot of old country music. This one song used to always come on, it’s called ‘My Maria’ by Brooks & Dunn. That song always puts a smile on my face because it reminds me of her,” he says.
“[When I was] growing up, we were listening to music with her and her family. We were listening to country music in the background when the family was over. That is always a great memory.”
As for his father, he tends to think of three records, including an unexpected track by Canadian vocalist Céline Dion.
“There are three songs that stand out with my father – ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ by Def Leppard, and ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Céline Dion from Titanic,” he says with a laugh. “Those are kind of inside jokes, but they are wonderful songs.”
Songs That Remind Me Of My Wife
The other important woman in Le’s life is his wife, Collying.
When he gets the chance, he loves to relax at home with his spouse and listen to the songs that they enjoy the most.
“I’ll definitely have days where I’ll be chilling by the pool in the backyard, and I’ll put on music that my wife and I put on for our wedding,” he says.
“That’s always cool, and that always brings up great memories and big smiles. Our first dance was to ‘You & I’ by John Legend.”
My Favorite Walkout Song
Le likes to feel a certain vibe when he is getting ready to compete, and that is reflected in his choice of entrance music.
The featherweight contender is an explosive athlete, but he likes to keep his thoughts calm and relaxed.
“I like to walk out to a lot of clubby, hypey, hip-hop music because it helps me relax and get in the right mind frame as far as movement and relaxation goes,” he reveals.
“My walkout song for my last fight, and when I get scheduled for another fight, is by Roy Jones Jr. He put out an album, and he put out a couple of songs that were pretty good.”
The Vietnamese-American star’s walkout song mainly helps him get in the zone, but it also has a connection to his family – this time, his younger brother and fellow competitor, Vinh Le.
“‘Can’t Be Touched’ reminds me of my brother, who is also my coach and training partner,” he adds.
“We listen to it all the time, and it’s always on in the gym. I use it to walk out to, and he has walked out to it for his fights. That’s a classic, and it really gets you pumped and puts you in the right mood. It gets you relaxed and your body moving.”