Sports & Entertainment
Overseas Vietnamese recconect, creating a new model for V-pop
  • By Brian Webb | | January 12, 2012 02:33 PM

Like the country itself, the music industry has been undergoing fast and furious change. While in the past, many young Vietnamese have looked outwards for trends - not only including music, but fashion and even behavior - there is an emerging movement that is unique to this country.

 Antoneus Maximus (L) and Ha Anh (R)

Somewhat surprisingly, this new movement largely involves the cooperation between artists born here and overseas Vietnamese.

One of the most recent and notable examples is the collaboration between the well-known Vietnamese model, Ha Anh Vu, and American-Vietnamese producer and song-writer Antoneus Maximus.

The song “Model”, recently released and largely seen over the internet, has caused quite a stir among young people across the country, lighting up chat rooms and forums. The song represents Ha Anh’s first steps into the music industry. It also could represent a reconnection between Vietnamese pop culture with young “Viet Kieu” wishing to reestablish their roots in the country of their origin. Antoneus Maximus, who is now focusing on writing and production in Ho Chi Minh City, was the real catalyst for “Model”.

His musical influences came from the west. He listened to soul music from a young age. He said, “Michael Jackson was the reason I first got into music,” adding that,  ”I started writing my first songs when I was thirteen. That’s when I got enough money to buy my first keyboard.”

Even though he grew up in California, he never forgot his Vietnamese ancestry. So when he began to burgeon as an artist, working with artists such as the Black Eyed Peas, his thoughts, and travels, continually came back to his home country.

The link with Ha Anh was quite spontaneous. After producing the track for “Model”, he and Duong Khach Linh, owner of the label, agreed that they needed a real model to sing. They found the perfect candidate. “She’d studied music abroad, and had been waiting to find the right people to work with,” Antoneus said. It was also perfect for the producers. “You can’t get any higher than Ha Anh Vu. We had instant chemistry from the jump.”

Antoneus hopes to contribute to the general music scene in Vietnam. When asked whether the country was ready for this style of music, he said, “I hope so. There is a lot of talent here, but different music gets different reactions. If they’re ready or not, I’m still going to do it. It’s the only thing I know.”

Leave your comment on this story