Phuong Mai was born into a theatrical family. Her maternal grandmother is Cao Long Nga, the very popular actress in Ha't Bo^.i (Vietnamese Opera). Raised by her grandmother since childhood, Phuong Mai often accompanied her to the theater, where she was a "backstage" child. Although this early exposure would later lead to Phuong Mai's decision to join her grandmother on stage as an opera singer, she went on to become very popular in other areas such as ca?i lu+o+ng, ho^` qua?ng, television, and pop music.
She began her career as one of Vietnam's child actresses. Her first stage appearance was at Nguyen Van Hao theater at the age of five. She sang the part of Luong Son Ba and immediately caught the attention of the audience. At the time, newspapers and critics gave her the name Tieu Lang Ba. Phuong Mai went on to star in many more productions of classical Vietnamese opera. In 1968, Phuong Mai began her television career in "Ngu+o+`i Qua^.n Tru+o+?ng", a soap opera, playing the role of a mayor's daughter.
In 1979, Phuong Mai resettled in West Germany and quickly picked up where she left off and became one of the early successful Vietnamese singers abroad. She first appeared in a show in Maubert Theater in Paris singing pop music instead of opera and since then, she chose pop as opposed to opera. However, from time to time, she does join other singers who have made this successful transition such as Huong Lan on various videos singing various classical operas. Phuong Mai moved to the United States and settled in Southern California where there are many more opportunities and fans.
After 35 years in show business, Phuong Mai still finds herself traveling to many cities throughout the United States and the world to perform. She has recorded many CDs and appeared on many music videos.