Vietnamese music is in a vibrant and developing stage. Not only is a strong investment in products, recruiting foreign producers or products “going to the big sea”, but Vietnamese music is still active in the audiovisual market itself.
Today, concepts related to music are more clearly distinguished. If there were only musicians, singers, musicians, musicians, teenagers, and market music before, then musicians now know more broad concepts like “underground”, ” indie “or” mainstream “. But, it seems that the majority still cannot accurately distinguish these 3 concepts.
Both words appear later than “underground”. Exactly later than the Vietnamese audience. Mainstream (main line) refers to singers who operate in a formal, market-oriented and clear way, with a clear strategy, say a popular singer.
Many uses from popular singers are also not very accurate, because “mass” is just to deliberate the most influential names, with the young – the most percentage of the audience – like the US Tam, Son Tung, Ho Ngoc Ha, Dong Nhi, Noo Phuoc Thinh … for example.
And the more experienced and long-established names are less interested in young people like diva, divo My Tam, Hong Nhung, Thanh Lam, Tung Duong … of course not “mass”, but they are still “mainstream” singers because they are now considered “temples” or famous since Vietnam has no “indie” concept.
“Indie” or the full name is “Independent music”, roughly understood as “independent music”. You understand, independence is not dependent. According to the definition of the music market in the world, indie music is the only singer, songwriter, song that was born / operated independently, independent of companies or promotional strategies, advertisement. But, don’t confuse the indie as a genre or genre.
Indie music includes all the music, but it is often not composed according to the “hit formulas” but by the feelings or contemplation of the artist himself, so there is individuality of each person.
Indie music in other countries
In Europe and America, indie is not a strange concept like in Vietnam now. The indie artist’s songs can still appear on prestigious charts such as Billboard, for example, “Got somebody’s I used to know” is an indie song, but probably not many. Vietnamese fake understand this.
In other words, indie artists are like mainstream artists in that they are also music activists, who make money from composing or singing. But the mainstream singer has more flashy clothes, they hire expensive Producers, wear designer clothes or designer clothes, invest Music videos to promote the song and have a good strategy to promote image. Overall mainstream can be understood as an entertainment artist.
But please don’t be confused with Adele or Lana del Rey – singers who have very good music and don’t dance like other colleagues – are also indie singers. Because even though their music is strange, the colors are not universal, but they still have both behind to support and “brainstorm” the best products.
Meanwhile, indie singers are those who sing or sing instinctively, investment money is also pocket money, not bound by any advertising contract or image commitment. There are albums that are distributed by companies and record labels but are still considered indie music if the company does not interfere with music production.
In fact, an indie singer can encroach on the other mainstream pitch at any time if there are producers asking for cooperation and development. A nod and enter the entertainment circle, improve the image, upgrade the marketing strategy, get more sponsors, etc. are what will turn an indie singer into a mainstream singer.
Indie music in Vietnam
In Vietnam, we have a very famous indie artist, Le Cat Trong Ly. Since Li started singing the first songs in music cafes until now released 3 albums, Li is still an indie artist. Not only does the music remain unchanged, but the way Li works, singing is really Ly’s own, not interfering with other factors.
Another notable case is Tien Cookie. Beginning to compose since he was in high school, Tien Cookie’s songs are well known when Bich Phuong’s best friend presents. It can be seen that Tien Cookie is also an indie musician because at that time she also worked independently, composed and sold songs.
But now, Tien Cookie has its own company, has its own strategies. The little musician has stepped into the “bright zone” more every day. Not only is a producer for many singers but also a hot seat for a game show, a cool musician for many famous brands … those are Tien’s achievements, and also strategies and strategies. What Tien wants to do, so we can’t see Tien Cookie as an indie musician anymore.
In Vietnam now many people are confused between indie and underground, or think both are one. Of course, if it was one, it wouldn’t have two names. Underground music is a concept of music placed also to distinguish between mainstream / overground, like the way people distinguish “underworld” from the police and the royal family. Nineteenth-century England.
Music “underground” is exactly the same name, it is completely different from the music performed in hundreds of lights between thousands of spectators. An underground artist doesn’t perform, doesn’t need an audience, doesn’t need to clap, doesn’t need to be famous, especially they don’t need to make money from music.
For them, music is just a habit, it can be a passion, but it does not imply popular desire, sometimes just a way to relieve stress. But it is not that they are not artists. There are underground artists who own a series of songs that are on the listener’s favorite list, but that is not their intention when composing.
Indie and other types of music
It must be emphasized that there are many people who do not understand the concept of confusing indie as a type of music, like pop, rock or EDM. This is a misunderstanding. As mentioned, indie is a definition of music type, not genre. From the new year, indie has a heavy style of punk-rock. But indie also includes many other genres such as gothic rock, britpop or indie-pop … The reason for this confusion is that indie songs are usually not mass pop or r’n’b or ballad that is thinner, more rough.
Similarly, underground is not just about rap and hip-hop music like many people (especially Vietnamese audiences) still think. The other “underground” music is too free, they have no limits on how to think, how to express, so they are often expressed by rap to reveal their personality. Suppose there is an underground song but it belongs to the genre … ballad is still underground.
Outside, underground and indie are similar in that it is free music, not tied to the listener, the amount of disk consumed, about the spread but simply the feelings written or sung from the main the artist himself. But on the other hand, indie artists bring their songs to small stages, even small TV stations, music indies for indie artists to sing and receive salsa, or selling music to online music sites like Spotify to turn around the investment capital for other songs, generally going to sing for money.
And underground artists are different, they don’t do music business. Their livelihood is some other profession, singing is just a way for them to entertain. So underground music is often more thorny than indie music, it carries a very strong personal ego, even singing content that people don’t dare to sing or feel offensive.
It is easy to imagine if watching “music” is a large collection and “mainstream”, “indie”, “underground” are 3 subset, then “mainstream” and “indie” can intersect but “underground” completely is a separate collection.
Speaking of this, you must have envisioned the confusion of the audience for underground in Vietnam. More than ten years ago, the word “underground” began to popularize with rap-hiphop songs on online music forums in Vietnam. Gradually it became a clearer trend, many more known names.
You must not be alien to Spacespeakers, “home” of “old village” underground names like Touliver, TripleD, Rhymastic or JusatTee, BigDaddy, Mr. A … But right now, is it still true to call them “underground”? No. of course. These names have collaborated with many big entertainment stars, composing or producing ordered songs, participating in many reality TV shows, appearing in commercial deals … These activities “dragged” them out of the underworld to enter the realm of entertainment music, business music.
Maybe what makes the audience still “label” underground for them is the music, the style of composition. But once you’ve made money from music, money, advertising, ringback tones, it’s an overground artist.
Vietnamese people really embrace the idea that underground artists are people who don’t or don’t have the opportunity to go on stage. This is a wrong thought. Or if they are not wrong, the underground artists themselves have been attached to the wrong name. The “unpopular” concept is for indie artists, not underground. Underground artists have no need to do business from music. And, indie artists aren’t sure if they want to be mainstream.
These are “rules” formed from the feeling and ideals of music players, not rules. So once you change, the status will change, accept it, don’t embrace the concepts that are now wrong. Simply said, when listening to someone talk about passion, determination to pursue music, it is a mainstream or indie artist who is definitely not an underground artist. Those “underground people” have no need to present, mentioning too great things about music. Because to them, it is not a career or an ideal to show off. Underground music is dark, dull and lifeless, and that’s all. Money is like “poison” to the music of the underworld, once touched, it will surely come out of that very special territory.
Take a closer example, Sweet, Thai Vu, Trang, Black, Linh Kao, Nguyen Ha … are indie artists, because they still go to sing. Even Mashew, the “witch” who made the “Phonics” or “His sadness” was no longer underground when the other products opened up career opportunities for their music.
In the next few years, if Masew becomes a well-known producer, ordered and collaborated by singers like Hoaprox, he will officially be a mainstream producer, not indie, not even underground.
In fact, there are so many concepts to distinguish, music is still something to entertain. People hear a song that is good, it will be repeated, it is normal to be famous. Someone still doesn’t care about what an indie or underground is. But anything that belongs to the definition, it should still be called correctly.
Not only the audience but also the media, or the artists themselves should distinguish and understand where they are. A money-making song like “Missed me so much”, performed on stage is not an underground song, Justatee is now really a mainstream artist.
Some success Indie artist in Vietnam:
– Vũ: Without any PR plans, sponsorship, crews, the only thing that draws people to Vũ’s music is his heavenly voice. His music is authentic, filled with raw stories of one of the most beautiful things on earth: love. He sings about breakups, nostalgia and despair. Love in Vũ’s songs is not the intense love of young lovebirds but rather a profound, calm and subtle love of soulmates. His beautiful, soothing voice combining with the nostalgic vibe of his melodies can make you cry.
– Cá Hồi Hoang: The 4-member indie band from Saigon, Vietnam is one of the most attractive indie artists in southern Vietnam, in particular and through the nation in general. Their music carry viewpoints on existence, youth, impermanence and hope. Their lyrics are amazingly profound and philosophical, which maybe quite difficult to understand at first but you can become immersed in them after a several times of listening. Their music videos prove excellent and unique visual mindset. If you have a gloomy day and feel as if the world is so harsh, Cá Hồi Hoang’s music can give you a sense of being cherished and comfort to you.
– Ngọt: Consists of four members who consider music as a token of emotions, Ngọt band attract lots of attention from indie lovers. Just like Vũ and Cá Hồi Hoang, Ngọt refuses to compromise with audiences and the market. They are committed to following their musical instinct, which has made the band appealing to the general public. Ngọt’s music praises youth and freedom through the lenses of young adults, who face insecurity, conflicts and pressure. Above all, they play with their music with a pure heart. Ngọt’s lyrics convey questions that every youngster may have once asked themselves in a lifetime, which is why audiences can find a sense of sympathy when listening to their music.
– Da LAB: While Vũ, Cá Hồi Hoang and Ngọt are very young indie artists, Da LAB’s members are now fathers. Ngọt’s most famous piece of music is “Một nhà”, a “national song” that you can find at any party, gathering, campfire or exchange programs in Vietnam. Their most viewed MV is “Từ ngày em đến”, which has achieved 25 millions views on YouTube. Da LAB’s music reflects raw, uncensored reality of the society such as ignorance of modern people, challenges that young people have to face and the value of family. Their melodies are easy to catch up with. If you have just come home from work after a tired day and feel like your life is so boring, pick up a song from Da LAB to feel fresher and more motivated.