Ch.Tselmuun: I am a woman with high self-esteem


With her powerful and soulful voice, Ch.Telmuun became the winner of the first season of “Universe Best Songs”, a popular Mongolian TV singing competition. Now, she has risen to the top – she has become a pop idol in the Mongolian music industry. Not only has she proven herself to be a phenomenal singer but also an impressive actress, starring in the lead of “Zurkhend Gereltekh Od” (Shining Star in the Heart) musical film and “Eejiin Daisan” (Mother’s Enemy) film.

The following is an interview with Ch.Tselmuun, who favors an “ordinary and peaceful” life.

Why did you decide to do the interview outside of the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences?

I majored in biotechnology and food science. I earned my doctorate in medical education. At the moment, I’m working here [the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences] as a coordinator for a capacity-building project for medical professionals in Mongolia. We organize a training aimed at improving the skills of health experts in seven core fields.

Is singing your hobby?

People assume that I’m a singer, but technically, I’m not a professional artist who graduated from the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture. I participated and won “Universe Best Songs” when I was a teenager. They probably call me a “singer” because they value and support me.

Did you challenge yourself in similar competitions before “Universe Best Songs”?

I participated in numerous competitions and tournaments when I was younger. I would’ve never guessed that I would actually win “Universe Best Songs”. I didn’t even know that it was such a large scale competition either. I was an ordinary student finishing her third year in university. Winning wasn’t important to me – I wanted to challenge myself. That was important to me. It brought many new things to my life.

After winning “Universe Best Songs”, you started getting attention from the public and became a favorite target for gossip journalists. Was this hard for a teenage girl?

Ch.TelmuunFrankly speaking, I used to receive tons of attacks and threats. In my opinion, senseless people who have bad character do yellow journalism. They make up rumors and scandals based on poorly-researched information. It is the worst memory of my teenage life. We all know how powerful words are and yet, I started getting insulted from the day after winning the competition. Winning a competition, getting a prize and being called a singer probably looked nice and glorious to others. To be honest, no one knows how hard it was for me back then.

[Reporters] tried to make me into the daughter-in-law of L.Balkhjav [a well-known Mongolian composer], granddaughter of State Merited Cultural Artist D.Ukhnaa, and even claimed that I was mixed-race. These types of things probably indicate how unhealthy the society is. An adult woman would’ve reacted differently to that kind of attack. For a 17-year-old, it was a huge blow and overwhelming. People need to be physically and mentally healthy to live a happy life. I didn’t have that opportunity. I really don’t like recall- ing this.

You must be very busy trying to manage your project, your career as a singer, and family. You also operate a private hospital, right?

Family is my first priority. As soon as work hours at the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences ends, I run to my private hospital. Album and music related work comes after that. I categorize which job is the more urgent and which are not. Afterwards, I make plans. I’m used to doing things on time. I believe that doing things one at a time is more effective than doing things right before the deadline. Before going to bed, I plan out the next day’s work and even prepare the clothes I’m going to wear. Next, I make weekly plans.

Traffic congestion and other people’s time management can cause delays and change in one’s plans. Do you get frustrated when you have to suddenly change plans?

Of course, I get frustrated when my work is delayed not because of me but due to external factors. Just the other day, I was supposed to organize a training session at 8:00 a.m. at the university but our partner publishing company wasn’t able to deliver books we asked for on time. It ruined our plans. Even so, I try to be flexible when this type of thing happen, instead of sitting down in frustration. People must have persistence and a consistent personality, as well as the ability to adjust depending on the situation at hand.

Isn’t it boring to always do things according to plan?

I didn’t plan on becoming a biotechnician, nor did I know that I would become a singer. Long and short term plans are different. I’m not a person who is easily swayed by sudden occurrences. I try to be as steady as possible. It’s true that sudden occurrences and surprises add color to life, but in my case, I try to be more rational and prepared. Being easy-minded and going with the flow is always easy. Being systematic and orderly, on the other hand, is difficult.


I’m not a person who is easily swayed by sudden occurrences. I try to be as steady as possible. It’s true that sudden occurrences and surprises add color to life, but in my case, I try to be more rational and prepared.


How has becoming a mother changed your life? What are the similarities between the Ch.Tselmuun who became famous overnight and the current Ch.Tselmuun?

I consider that being a lady and maturing into a woman are two different understandings. Many things remain same as the me from eight years ago. There are also many things that changed. You physically and mentally change after giving birth. I’ve developed a courage and willpower to do anything for my son. It’s probably because I realized how much patience and endurance can come out of this small body of mine.

Women shine brightest, just like pure gold, when they become a mother. True quality of a woman is filtered and portrayed through the course of experiencing life as someone’s partner, mother, and good daughter-in-law.

When did you become a mother? 

I gave birth at the age of 22. My son,A.Orgil, is now three years old. I always hurry home to see my son once my work is done.

How did you feel seeing your son for the first time?

A mix of emotions rushed through me. Physically, it felt as if I had lost an organ. /Laughs/ Psychologically, no words can describe what I felt then. It was extraordinary. Seeing my son for the first time, holding him in my arms, producing breast milk and feeding my child, I guess this is what people call “the best of miracles”.


Women shine brightest, just like pure gold, when they become a mother. True quality of a woman is filtered and portrayed through the course of experiencing life as someone’s partner, mother, and good daughter-in-law.


Are you raising your child alone?

I’ve been a single mother for nearly two year. I divorced my husband when I was still breast-feeding my son. This is the first time I’m talking about my private life to the media. I would never badmouth or scorn the person with whom I lived with for a period. Neither can I tolerate others ridiculing him. He is an amazing person trying to make a living on his own.

Two years ago, you announced that you would never sing again. Why did you make that decision?

There are many reasons behind that decision. But it’s quite simple. First of all, I wanted to pursue a career that I chose as my profession. I’ve been managing a private hospital since 2003.

Most people weren’t aware of this and started to wonder why a singer was working in the health and medical sector. I tried to make the public understand me, my family and the job I do because the rumors and curiosity obstructed my work and career greatly.

My current lifestyle is my way of avoiding all that rumor and scandal. A lot of people tried to dig deep into my private life. It ended up involving and influencing my family. People say I’m frivolous and shallow if I sing. If I pursue my career as a biotechnician, they say I can’t do it. I’m not just a singer. I’m a woman with high self-esteem who knows and can do many things.

There’s a saying that once you step foot into the arts and cultural sector, you can’t get out. What do you think about this? 

ch.telmuun1Arts and culture adds light and color to life. Once you enter it, it’s hard to stray away or leave the arts and cultural sector. My present life is more than enough for me. I’m able to work in my profession and produce music. I don’t have to promote myself. I want to live an ordinary and peaceful life. However, I can never leave the arts and cultural sector. That’s because it lives inside of me. Not releasing a new album doesn’t mean I stopped singing.

Apart from singing, what other talents do you have?

I can illustrate and write poems. I enjoy doing arts and crafts as well.

There were rumors that you are working on your second independent album. When will it become ready?

I released my first album under the name “Exodus”. The second album has been titled “Defined”. I chose this title to show that other people’s opinion don’t define me and that I’ve already found my true self. It will feature seven songs, including several songs written by my father. I collaborated with Ocean Grey Studio on the album. We plan to have it ready by next September.