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Former tour guide sets Vietnamese pop music trail ablaze

By Hieu Nhan   August 14, 2022 | 01:32 am PT
Former tour guide sets Vietnamese pop music trail ablaze
Singer Tang Duy Tan. Photo courtesy of the aritst
Singer Tang Duy Tan's "Ben Tren Tang Lau" (rough translation: Upstairs) has gone viral on social media, garnering hundreds of millions of views.

The song is currently one of the hottest tracks online right now after tens of millions of Vietnamese users on social media platform TikTok used its melody in their videos.

Videos using this track as background music have raked in more than 147 million views. Meanwhile, the music video (MV) has also earned over 19 million YouTube views since its June 10 release.

Previously, the song had topped Billboard Vietnam's Top Vietnamese Songs and Hot 100 charts, as well as entered the top trending chart on YouTube in many countries.

The song, a mix between deep house and pop genres, has lyrics about overcoming painful realities:

"Darling, don't cry and let the darkness in front of your eyes swallow you

"Honey, don't worry and don't let the future pass you by "There's a little regret at the end just it is what it is

"I'm not wrong and I can't let my heart hurt forever..."

Tan said he wrote the song in 2021, during the Covid social distancing period.

"When I was cooped up at home, I was overwhelmed by sadness and indescribable negative emotions, feeling like I was locked inside a dark room.

"I went through a long period of depression and this song helped me get out of that state of mind. I hope it will help others who have gone through similar experiences."

Even before "Upstairs," Tan had had a series of songs go viral on social media.

Released in August 2021, "Da Vu" (rough translation: Dance Party) depicts a girl's painful feelings after a breakup. Its MV has over 26 million YouTube views.

Videos using this song as the background music had over 75.8 million TikTok views and nearly 2 billion views on Douyin, Chinese counterpart of TikTok.

It was dubbed the "divine song of Vietnam" by the Chinese online community with people complimenting it for its "unique, pentatonic and epic" sounds.

Released in September 2020, "Ngay Tho" (Innocent) currently has 82.6 million TikTok views and a combined 60 million or so YouTube views of three versions of the song. The singer also released a Chinese version of the song, which received over 10 billion views on Douyin.

"Tinh Dau" (First Love), which debuted in February 2020, has garnered 55.9 million TikTok views and 41 million YouTube views.

Tan said this song means a lot to him since its success helped him and his company overcome financial difficulties at the time.

The singer said the key to his success was knowing how to make trendy songs for social media users to incorporate into their videos.

When producing, he and his team focused on writing melodies and lyrics that are easy to listen to and memorize, Tan said.

This makes it simple for users and content creators across platforms to use his music in their videos and increases the chances for the song to go viral, he added.

According to Chinese media outlet Sina, finding and using new and appealing songs is critical for a video to go viral on TikTok and Douyin.

Tan said his music was not limited to one genre. He wished to combine many different styles of music to create a distinct sound.

"As an artist, I want my music to evolve. So I try to bring something new to the audience each time, but still keep my unique color," he said, adding he will release a four-track mini-album in the near future.

Nguyen Tang Duy Tan was born in the central province of Quang Tri in 1995. He used to work as a tour guide before becoming a singer. He is currently the CEO of the entertainment company Big Arts Entertainment, in charge of music production.

 
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