Vietnamese music has hit the big time. Its strong historical musical traditions have evolved and shaped today's music scene, which features an exciting spectrum of genres and artists.
The rise of talented Vietnamese singers continues to raise the profile of Vietnamese music on the world stage. Read on to find more about the 10 most exciting musicians in the industry!
Son Tung M-TP - the master of hit songs
What better way to start the list than with the king of V-pop himself! Hailing from Hanoi, Son Tung (real name Nguyễn Thanh Tùng) went viral in 2011 with his hit song 'Cơn mưa ngang qua', and has not looked back since, becoming one of the best-selling and most famous artists in Vietnam.
His style, which features R&B, pop and EDM, and striking cinematographic music videos, are a huge hit on Youtube, where he has over 9 million subscribers.
His 2018 music video for Run Now, produced by famous K-pop director, Koinrush, hit 22 million views within 24 hours, beating BTS's DNA for the same period and setting an Asian record.
A love for the lavish and flashy has only enhanced his popularity amongst fans, and it seems the more he dons Gucci and LV whilst driving the latest supercars, the more the hit songs keep coming - not to mention his rocketing net worth ($5 million+).
In recent years, his stock has risen with ‘Hãy Trao Cho Anh’ - a collab with none other than Snoop Dogg -, and 'Muộn Rồi Mà Sao Còn', which made him the first Vietnamese singer to hit #126 in the US charts. It appears the sky's the limit for Son Tung M-TP on the Vietnamese music scene and abroad.
Touliver - a pioneer producer and musician
Touliver is a DJ who has produced collaborations with some of the Vietnamese music industry's biggest names. Beginning from a young age, Touliver was professionally trained in piano and jazz at the Hanoi Conservatory of Music, before becoming a pioneer for the Vietnamese electronic music scene. Tracks such as 'They Said' and 'Krazy' have garnered more than 40 million Youtube hits, turning him into a household name in Vietnam.
He founded SpaceSpeakers in 2020, a label that has given a home to and allowed singers, rappers, and producers to flourish. This platform and its influence have helped drive Vietnamese talent to the fore, including the likes of famous rappers, Rhymastic and Kimmese. His creative freedom and penchant for a remix mean his scope and output is vast.
Compare the bouncy house vibes in the track ' that's right' with Dustee, the RnB tones of 'em oi cu vui', and his rap collab 'Gene' with Binz, and you won't believe he produced all three. And his recent featured interviews in Mixmag and Billboard only add to his rising influence in Vietnam and abroad.
Suboi - the first female Vietnamese rapper to perform at SXSW
The queen of Vietnamese hip-hop, Saigon-bred Suboi has gained notoriety for her fiery tracks, including hits such as 'Girls Night' and 'My Apology', two of her most famous songs. She followed up her 2010 debut album, Walk, with Run in 2014, which secured her status as a rap star in Vietnam.
Her story is one of comeback and resurgence, having been a victim of assault from a jealous ex-boyfriend and thrust into the working world from a young age to support her family. Famed for her thought-provoking lyrics about societal issues, she even rapped for Barack Obama in his 2016 visit to Vietnam.
Her highly anticipated latest album, 'No Ne', dropped in July 2021, opening with a dedication to Vietnamese women. From rapping with President Barack Obama to being the first Vietnamese artist to perform at SXSW and release music under the record label, 88rising, Suboi continues to raise the bar for Vietnamese women and artists alike.
Den - not your average rapper
As the most streamed Vietnamese artist on Spotify in 2019, Den has become a household name since his breakthrough track with Linh Cao, "Dua Nhau Di Tron" (Run Away). Such is his fame, he even has his own Netflix documentary called 'Show of Den', which premiered in October 2021, which celebrates his 10-year career and life story.
Starting in the underground scene, Den gained fame for his lyrics, which deal with relatable life experiences and love - instead of more superficial topics like money and sex.
His most recent track, 'Tron Tim' (Hide and Seek), hit 12 million Youtube views in just 4 days in 2021. Other famous tracks worth listening to include, “Bài Này Chill Phết”, “Anh Đếch Cần Gì Nhiều Ngoài Em”, and “Một triệu like”.
Bich Phuong - a true Vietnamese pop idol
One of the most popular female artists in Vietnam, Bich Phuong has been making waves in Vietnamese pop for years now. Her blend of cutesy lyrics and catchy pop rhythms is especially popular amongst younger Vietnamese women and teenagers, for whom she is an idol.
She has also shown progression in her style. If early tracks like 'Cớ Sao Giờ Lại Chia Xa' showed her cutesy image, then the past few years have shown a deeper and more intimate side of her music through songs like 'Bua Yeu', her most successful hit.
2018 saw Bich Phuong sweep the Green Wave music awards, with her single ‘Love Charm’ winning 6 awards. She followed up her stellar 2018 with another hit single, Go Swinging, in 2019 and in 2021 her image appeared in Times Square as part of Spotify’s EQUAL campaign.
With a highly anticipated album due for release later this year, you’re guaranteed to hear more of Bich Phuong.
Jack - the high school music teacher who made it big
Starting as a music teacher in the Mekong Delta, Jack hasn’t looked back since making the switch to popular music.
Although his initial singles proved successful, it was his collaborations with producer, K-ICM, that launched him into the big time. Tracks like Em Gi Oi and Song Giong have more than 300 Youtube million views each thanks to Jack’s unique vocals and blend of folk, pop, and electronic genres.
Since going solo, Jack has raised the bar even higher, signing a record deal with Nomad MGMT Vietnam in 2020. Later in the year, he launched his Youtube channel, J97, which became the 31st fastest channel to earn the Youtube Gold Play Button - for reaching 1 million subscribers.
Jack represented Vietnam at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) Best Southeast Asia Act 2020 event, and his song 'Hoa Hoai Duong' won the best music video award at the Asian Television Awards - beating a host of fellow Vietnamese and regional artists and singers.
Just 2 years into his career, Jack has already found his place in the Vietnamese Pop music scene, and he will be a mainstay of the industry for years to come.
Binz - the self-proclaimed 'Poet'
A staple on the hip-hop and rap circuit, Binz has constantly produced hits and adapted his style. Starting in 2008, he began his career at a time when rap was very much in its infancy, and over the years has become a key figure in the rap scene.
Years spent living in the US have shaped his style and flow, with his husky vocals garnering him the nickname, ‘the Poet’. Earlier tracks like “Giữ” (“Keep”), “Bên Anh Đêm Nay” (“With Me Tonight”) have a more melodic - even romantic - edge to them. And, despite being known by rap aficionados, it wasn’t until 2017 when Binz made his entrance, releasing the track ‘They Said’, which saw Binz experiment with ‘street’ style rap. This soon became his signature style, and he churned out a host of hits including ‘Krazy’ and ‘Gene’, with acclaimed producer, Touliver.
2020 saw the release of ‘BIGCITYBOI’, his biggest hit yet with over 88 million Youtube views (as of January 2022).
He reached international fame after featuring in Billboard magazine, but he is more prominent in the local entertainment industry, and he is currently a judge and mentor on the music show ‘ Poet’, which aims to find Vietnam’s next super rapper.
Having laid the foundations for Vietnamese rap, Binz will continue to lead the light for the industry with his slick style and beats.
Minh - a supremely talented singer and songwriter
Vietnam’s answer to Shawn Mendes, 21-year-old Minh is a revelation as a solo artist. Singing in Vietnamese and perfect English - one of the first Vietnamese singers to do so - his bilingual talents reflect the modern-day cosmopolitism of his hometown, Ho Chi Minh City.
Years spent honing his songwriting and voice growing up have left audiences wowed, and his legions of fans wanting more. His lyrics touch on powerful themes such as love and loyalty, pulling the heartstrings of listeners. ‘Fake happy’, his debut single, makes listeners question materialism as the root of their happiness, while ‘I’ve got us’ features reassuring lyrics with the promise of love and protection from those closest to us.
Far from being just sentimental, Minh loves to surprise his audiences, and his current work is much more upbeat in tempo and lyrics, whilst not abandoning contemporary themes.
With his ambition to ‘reflect a generation of young Vietnamese who see their future beyond the limitations of borders and language’, Minh has the world at his feet.
Ho Ngoc Ha - supermodel turned award-winning singer
Despite rising to prominence as an actress and model after winning the 2003/4 Vietnam supermodel contest, Ho Ngoc Ha always had her sights set on a musical career.
Her first album, 24/7, was released back in 2004, and it became a hit throughout Vietnam. And, after 7 albums in a near-20 year career, Ho's style has also changed from pop and dance music in the early years to more R&B and Jazz.
Her success means she is well established as one of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry, winning a host of awards over the years such as the Golden Apricot Blosson Award, Golden Album Award, and Green Wave Award.
She cemented her status as a Vietnamese global icon with her first world tour in 2017, where she sang 14 shows to overseas Vietnamese across the US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Vu Cat Tuong - from talent show try-out to chart-topping stardom
A former finalist on the 2012 series of The Voice Vietnam, Vu Cat Tuong hit the big time after she released her debut album, Giải mã (decode), in 2014. The expressive lyrics deal with personal difficulties and struggles, evoking strong emotions amongst listeners, with the single standout track 'Trace of the Rain' propelling her to #1 in the charts and winner of "Best Female Singer" and "New Artist of the Year" at the Green Wave Awards.
Not afraid to experiment with multiple genres, her blend of soul, rap, alternative rock, and pop in subsequent albums have earned her fans across Vietnam. As well as performing at prestigious international festivals like the Asia Song Festival in Korea, she is also the first Vietnamese artist to release a bilingual album under the world-renowned record label, Universal Recordings.
It was no surprise, then, to see her on Forbes 30 under 30 Vietnam list in 2018, and she will no doubt continue to be an inspiration for those who dare to dream.
Get plugged into Vietnamese culture
As well as Vietnamese traditions, international trends continue to influence Vietnam's music, creating a vibrant and diverse space complete with everything from commercialised pop sounds to hip-hop. And, whether you're a pop fanatic or an underground indie junkie, Vietnam's music scene has something for everyone, so get plugged in and start listening!
If you're interested in this, you'll like our other culture stuff like:
- best podcasts about Vietnam (featuring commentary on everything from current affairs to pop culture)
- an epic round up of tradition Vietnamese legends
- How to say Happy New Year in Vietnamese, ready for Tet!
- Plus the best Vietnamese movies found on Netlflix.
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