Foreign bands step up game in City music scene

Update: October, 19/2017 - 07:00
Putting on a show: Many foreign bands in HCM City are improving their skills and performances in an increasingly competitive music environment. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – Foreign bands in recent years have stepped up their efforts to “stay in the game” as Vietnamese bands appear to be regaining popularity in the local music scene.

Though Vietnamese music is still vastly more popular, the number of foreign artists coming to the city to pursue their musical careers has increased.

Thái Huỳnh, director and event manager at the GEM Center, said that most events, big or small, include music performances.

Depending on the nature and scale of particular events, either foreign or local bands will be selected to perform, he said, adding that most foreign bands often become more popular after performing at the GEM Centre or the Acoustic Bar.

The most important criteria to consider when booking a band includes “charming appearance and ability to inspire and connect with the audience”, which most foreign artists seem to be quite good at, according to Huỳnh.

The friendly manner, for example, of a British singer in the The Lost Art band, which often performs at the Acoustic Bar in District 3, has attracted many fans.

Since most of them play for their passion for their art, they are willing to perform for only VNĐ700,000- VNĐ1 million (US$30-45) for a three-hour performance.

Though Asian bands are able to live on this paycheck, it is more difficult for them. Bands that perform at Hard Rock Café Việt Nam in District 1, for example, are required to sing in fluent English and in all genres.

As most of the audience are foreigners, it is even more difficult to win them over, according to the quality manager at Hard Rock Café Việt Nam.

As a result, foreign bands are more likely to play as they meet most of the requirements.

Hard Rock Café is currently training a local music band that will perform for more than three hours in one show, he added. 

Improving quality

Due to increased demand, more international music bands are expected to come to HCM City in the near future, but it is important that they improve their performance quality to be able to compete with others, according to a report in Sài Gòn Tiếp Thị newspaper.

They should cover popular songs or produce and sing their own songs, experts have said. Determining their music path is necessary so they can stand out from the crowd.

Some international bands are expected to make a serious career out of their passion for music, while many have begun to sing in Vietnamese to reach a wider range of audiences.

The Lost Art, for instance, has been composing songs and translating them into Vietnamese for their upcoming album. — VNS