BackArts & Culture » Music & Art » German-Vietnamese Artist Linh TNX Blends Trap and R&B in Latest Single 'S.O.S'

German-Vietnamese Artist Linh TNX Blends Trap and R&B in Latest Single 'S.O.S'

Linh Tran, a German-Vietnamese singer who goes by the artist name Linh TNX, has debuted her first music video produced in Saigon since moving to the city two months ago.

According to Linh, the song, titled 's.o.s,' is intended to show the power of women. "I wanted to create an image of a female who can do whatever she wants to do," the singer tells Saigoneer. "I feel like Vietnam has this type of free spirit, and I wrote this song about a female that can actually demand anything she wants and works for herself."

The song and video, both produced by Saigon's Piu Piu Records, are part of a tumultuous journey through music by Linh, who hails from Hamburg.

"I've been singing forever; when I was two I sang karaoke with my parents," she said. "And then I started singing opera at the age of eight, and I always wanted to be a singer. But you know how parents are, especially Vietnamese parents; you have to learn, you have to study, you have to focus on school." 

Her middle school grades suffered as a result of her focus on singing, and her parents forced her to stop pursuing the art as a result. Linh then dropped out at 16. "My mom was like, 'We didn't go all the way to Germany [from Vietnam] for this, you have to at least graduate'," she shared.

After working for a year, Linh returned to school at age 18. "That actually saved my life, because then I met my music teacher, and he was super supportive," she said. "He told me that I had so much potential."

Linh began performing with her school's choir and band, and after graduating she was drawn to her parents' homeland. She spent three months in Hanoi taking Vietnamese lessons to improve her language skills, and while there met people who told her to move to Saigon.

"Everyone was saying that if you want to go into showbiz, you have to go to Saigon," Linh, now 25, said. "But I had nobody here, no family, no friends."

Nonetheless, she took the leap and moved south, where she soon met Lee Lam, director of Piu Piu Records.

"He asked what I wanted to do in Vietnam, and I said I can sing and I can rap a little bit, so we decided to work together," Linh shared. "We had some struggles at first, but I saw him DJ and he played some songs I like, so we connected over music."

's.o.s,' short for "skin on skin," was born when Lee gave Linh a beat and asked if she could write a song over it. "I worked on it for about a month and a half, and then I performed it in his club, so everything happened fast," the singer said.

"It's a mix between trap and R&B, so trapnB, or trapnsoul," she added. The sensual mid-tempo song fits well in Saigon's club scene, and the music video focuses on Linh and her moves honed as a dance teacher, performed in front of a spray-painted shipping container lit by pink and purple hues. 

Video via YouTube channel Linh TNX.

Given the closure of several high-profile music venues in recent years, as well as the last-minute cancellation of Quest Festival outside of Hanoi late last month, one would be forgiven for lamenting the state of live music in Vietnam. Linh, however, is optimistic.

"It's been a really good experience because I've been really blessed so far," she said. "I've been connected to all of these artists here, and they've helped me out and taught me a lot about the music industry in Vietnam."

She believes that her quick progress in Saigon — going from new arrival to debuting a music video in two months — is a sign of the opportunities available here.

"In Germany it would take at least a year to get settled and get to know the people you need to know," she said. "Even though I know a lot of people in Germany, I never felt like I belonged."

Moving forward, she hopes to show people who want to sing that it is possible, while also eventually working on performing in Vietnamese.

"I hope I can reach out to people with my music and inspire people to believe in their dreams," she stated. "I started from scratch, from learning the language to getting to know people. I f I can do that, anybody can do that."

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