TANNY NG DISCUSSES MUSICAL JOURNEY, NEW SONG & MORE [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
BY BRENESSA ROACH | AUGUST 19, 2023
Introducing tanny ng, a Vietnamese singer and songwriter who has captured hearts with his charming voice and beautiful melodies. His most popular single, “two of us,” a beautiful collaboration with Kinu, was released on June 9th, 2023, and has been captivating listeners worldwide ever since.
Tanny made his debut in December 2021 with the single “ambivalence,” and since then, he’s been on a crazy musical journey, growing his discography by releasing numerous singles and not one, but two albums in 2022. These albums are; is it 2 a.m at your place? and amber’s playlist.
Yesterday on August 18th, tanny ng unveiled his fourth project of the year, “my, my, my,” a delightful collaboration with the talented Korean-American singer, juhye, based in California. The anticipation for this collaboration was high and we are so excited it is finally here for us to listen to.
In an exclusive interview with Behind The Beat, tanny ng opens up about the beginnings of his musical journey, the inspiration behind “my, my, my”, his experiences navigating the industry as an Asian artist, and his plans for the future.
THE BEGINNING OF TANNY NG
Can you introduce yourself? What do you do?
tanny ng: I’m Tan Nguyen, also known as “tanny ng” in the music scene. You can call me Tan. I’m a 19-year-old Vietnamese singer and songwriter, currently based in Boston, Massachusetts, but originally from Hanoi, Vietnam. I’m thrilled to be pursuing my passion for music and am currently heading into my third semester at Berklee College of Music, also located in Boston, MA.
How did your musical journey begin?
tanny ng: When I was three years old, my journey into the world of music began when my dad surprised me with my very first keyboard from Casio. Little did he know that this simple gesture would ignite a lifelong passion within me. This passion led me to pursue formal music education at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, where I immersed myself in the world of classical music and began to understand the language of melodies and harmonies. The academy provided me with a solid foundation and nurtured my creativity, fueling my aspiration to make music that would touch hearts and inspire others.
The turning point in my musical journey came with the onset of the pandemic in 2021. With the world forced to pause and retreat into their homes, I found solace and inspiration within the confines of my own bedroom, which also happens to be where I start making my first songs. The pandemic’s isolation offered me a unique opportunity to explore different genres and experiment with my compositions. The pandemic became a catalyst for me to embark on a new chapter in my musical career, where I sought to create music that resonated with people’s emotions and shared experiences, providing them with hope and comfort during these challenging times.
Who are some of your musical inspirations growing up that inspired you to become an artist and pursue music in college?
tanny ng: Jeremy Zucker, a remarkably gifted musician and producer, possesses a distinctive talent for expressing his thoughts and feelings through his intricate music and production. As an admirer of his work, I have found deep inspiration in his ability to craft songs that not only captivate and entertain but also strike a profound emotional chord with listeners on a personal level. By studying his production style and techniques, I have gained valuable insights into writing songs that truly resonate with people and forge meaningful connections. Jeremy Zucker’s music is a true masterclass in the art of songwriting and production, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn from his artistry.
In addition to Jeremy Zucker, there are several other producers and engineers whom I greatly admire, including Ludwig Göransson, Andrew Scheps, and Kenny Beats, just to name a few. I actively seek out their methods and breakdowns of successful singles, delving into the behind-the-scenes processes, and endeavor to apply those insights to my own mixes and projects. What I particularly appreciate about each of them is their unique and specific approach to creating music. Whether it’s Göransson’s intricate arrangement, Kenny Beat’s inventive sound design and sampling, or Scheps’s mastery of mixing and engineering, I firmly believe that absorbing their vast reservoirs of production knowledge can significantly enhance my work both individually and collaboratively.
“my my my” SONG BREAKDOWN
What is the inspiration behind this song? / What is the meaning?
tanny ng: The song “my, my, my” weaves a narrative around a profound dream shared with a beloved partner, where the world is a perfect cocoon of love and togetherness. As the dream unfolds, the lyrics delve into the fear of awakening and facing the possibility of losing that special person, mirroring the vulnerability and fragility of a profound connection.
The track paints a vivid picture of a ‘situationship,’ where emotions are tenderly entangled, and the fear of losing this beautiful, ephemeral bond forms the core of the song’s theme. with soul-stirring melodies and evocative lyrics, “my, my, my” is sure to strike a chord with anyone who has ever experienced the bittersweet thrill of love and the apprehension of its transient nature.
What was the production and writing process like for this song?
tanny ng: I mean it was a morning of an April day, pretty much still half-asleep, I quickly grabbed my phone and mumbled the enchanting chorus melody into my Voice Memo app on my iPhone. As the day progressed, I found myself unable to shake off the tune, and so I decided to turn it into a full-fledged song.
Eager to bring that recording to life, I had started riffing through some ideas and progressions with my electric guitar, sooner which added an edge to the melody. After laying some more guitar layers, drums and a piano tracking session, the rough skeleton of the song took shape within the day, but I knew there was more potential waiting to be unlocked. Over the next day, I polished the track, layering it with additional synthesizers and ear candy-related elements, which brought depth and texture to the composition.
This song is a collaboration with juhye, how did this collaboration happen?
tanny ng: It wasn’t until the end of April when the true destination of “my, my, my” started to take view. I shared the demo with some close friends, seeking their opinions and feedback. Among them, Juhye was the one who instantly fell in love with the song, and her enthusiasm was contagious. She expressed her desire to collaborate and help bring the song to its fullest potential. Together, we started sharing our desires, weaving lyrics and melodies that harmonized beautifully with the existing music. With Juhye’s lyrical prowess and our shared passion for the song, we breathed new life into “my, my, my,” transforming it from a solitary melody to a powerful and emotive song.
What was it like working with juhye?
tanny ng: Working with Juhye on the song “my, my, my” has been an absolute joy and one of the most exhilarating experiences ever as a musician. As an artist I really admire, Juhye’s exceptional musicianship and her ability to craft compelling stories through her music have always been an inspiration to me. And now having a collaboration with her has been a dream come true, and her guidance and creative input have elevated the song to new heights. Her unique perspective and artistic vision have not only enhanced the record but also added a profound layer of emotional depth to the lyrics. Through this collaboration, I’ve not only learned a great deal from her but also found a kindred spirit in storytelling, making “my, my, my” one of the most meaningful and personal songs I’ve ever created.
Even though the entire process of collaborating with each other was exclusively online, Juhye’s remarkable talent, combined with her infectious enthusiasm for music, has made the entire process of working together an absolute blast. And “my, my, my” has become a living witness to the power of collaboration and the magic that happens when two artists share a deep mutual respect for each other’s work. Working with Juhye has not only been fun, but it has also shaped me as an artist and has left an indelible mark on my musical career.
Can you describe this song using a colour and why you chose that colour?
tanny ng: “my, my, my” exudes a rather desaturated yellow hue, given that encapsulates the essence of a blissful love song while delicately weaving in the undercurrent of melancholy over the prospect of love slipping away. The song’s upbeat melody and cheerful lyrics joyfully celebrate the intoxicating euphoria of being in love, painting a vivid picture of warmth and sunshine. However, amidst the jubilant tones, there lies a poignant acknowledgment of vulnerability and the bittersweet fear of losing that cherished connection. The contrasting emotions meld seamlessly, creating a beautiful and honest portrayal of the complexities within a loving relationship, making “my, my, my” a captivating and emotionally rich composition that resonates deeply with its listeners.
What do you want your fans/listeners to feel and take away from “my my my”?
tanny ng: As I was writing the lyrics, I painted a vivid picture of the cherished moments shared with this special someone. Every verse resonates with the happiness that illuminates my existence when I’m with them. And the chorus becomes a passionate perspective of my desire to hold on tightly to this dreamlike romance, fearing that reality might take it away from me. Opening up through this song, I hope to let listeners to glimpse into the depth of my affection and the fear that lingers at the back of my mind. It’s a melody that celebrates love’s beauty while acknowledging the fragility of such enchanting connections, and from that feeling of being blanketed by its atmosphere brings up this meaningness into the idea of falling in love with someone of their dreams.
NAVIGATING THE INDUSTRY AS AN ASIAN ARTIST
How has being an Asian musician influenced your experiences and challenges in navigating through the music industry and how do you see yourself as a representation for the Asian community in the music industry?
tanny ng: As an Asian musician, my journey in the music industry is enriched with unique dimensions that stem from my cultural background. With the music industry, it has often been dominated by certain Western-centric norms and expectations, making it challenging for Asian musicians to break through and find mainstream success, it is with these challenges that motivate me to push boundaries, create music that defies stereotypes, and showcase the beauty of my cultural identity. Embracing my Vietnamese identity while navigating through these hurdles allows me to create music that is both authentic and innovative, setting the stage for a powerful impact not only within the industry but also within the Asian community.
By embracing my cultural identity as an Asian musician, I become sort of a representative and a source of empowerment for others within the community. My music becomes a platform to celebrate our shared musical view and to challenge misconceptions or prejudices that may exist. It fosters a sense of pride and belonging among Asian individuals who can see themselves represented in the art and creativity that I bring to the industry. As time goes on, I am doing my part to slowly blend my Asian influences with modern sounds that can captivate a global audience, breaking down barriers and fostering greater understanding and appreciation for diverse cultural expressions.
FINDING YOUR SOUND
How did you find your sound? And can you describe your general genre?
tanny ng: In my musical journey, I discovered my own unique sound by continuously exploring the different aspects of genres and colors from various musical styles. I believe that music is an ever-evolving language, and to truly express my artistic vision, I had to break free from conventional boundaries. The result was a rich tapestry of sonic textures and harmonies that resonated with my inner creative and emotional self where, additionally, I sought to infuse my music with dreamlike elements such as granulation or unconventional reverberation. This amalgamation of genres, colors, and atmospheres became kind of the little base of my music, forging a rather unique but experimental and emotionally driven path that I call tanny ng’s music
Describing the specific genre of my music has always been an arduous task, however, as I find myself constantly pushing the boundaries and exploring new territories within the absolute vast space of music. The conventional labels seem inadequate to encapsulate the amalgamation of styles and influences I incorporate into my songs, as stated before. Yet, each song I create represents a stepping stone, whether from “amber’s playlist” being a rather mellow pop album, to my last EP “glad you came i’m sorry” being a mix of Pop and R&B, to soulful songs like “two of us” and dark R&B tracks like “SHAME”, that shows a fragment of the mosaic which is gradually forming into my own type of music.
Out of all your songs so far, what is one you are the most proud of so far?
tanny ng: As an artist, each song I have released holds a special place in my heart for unique reasons. Either it’s “fall with me” representing this outcome of constant experimentations with sounds and recordings, or “two of us” that marks a significant milestone in my musical journey as it represents a pivotal shift towards a more R&B genre, such tracks allowed me to explore a new artistic direction, experimenting with melodies, grooves, and heartfelt lyrics that resonate with my emotions on a profound level.
And for first time listeners, what song would you recommend them to listen to out of your discography?
tanny ng: In my musical pathway, I have always believed in the power of emotions and storytelling through music. For my first-time listeners, I would recommend diving into some of my lesser-known tracks, such as “say (so)” from my album “amber’s playlist.” This song holds a special place in my heart as it delves into the depths of a heart-wrenching breakup. The raw vulnerability and wrenching melodies in “say (so)” capture the essence of that really heartbreaking part of mine when dealing with losing someone you love, while inviting listeners to connect with their own emotions. Or, I would encourage them to explore “wait” from my EP “glad you came, i’m sorry.” This track embodies the essence of patience amidst a lost connection. Its poignant lyrics and evocative piano and strings create a rather mellow yet powerful atmosphere of longing and introspection. By delving into these lesser-known pieces, I do believe that my audience can gain insight into the diverse range of emotions that I pour into my music.
Once they have explored the hidden gems of my discography, I invite my listeners to delve into my more well-known and recent works. By doing so, they can not only witness my artistic evolution but also understand the emotional journey that has shaped my music. Each track represents a chapter of my life, and by embracing the entirety of my discography, my listeners can join me on an immersive musical expedition, connecting with the heart and soul behind every note and lyric. Again, just a point of view in how my music is being written, a diary of my own piercing emotions coming together as my discography, and from there every piece of composition I wrote represents one aspect and perspective through my vision and hearing.
What are some genres you’d like to experiment with for the future?
tanny ng: As an aspiring musician, I find myself eager to explore and experiment with various genres to expand my artistic horizons and enrich my musical catalog. While I am still in the process of learning and growing as an artist, my passion for diversity in the music scene drives me to dive into genres such as house, raw rock, and reggae. Each genre offers a unique set of sounds, rhythms, and emotions, providing me with the perfect platform to express myself in different ways. Embracing these diverse styles allows me to challenge myself creatively and connect with a broader audience, ultimately honing my skills and finding my distinct musical voice. With every exploration, I look forward to pushing boundaries and creating music that resonates with the world while staying true to my artistic vision.
What are your goals and dreams for the future?
tanny ng: My ultimate goal has always been to share my music with as many people as possible and leave a lasting impact on their lives through my art. As I hope to resonate with listeners across different cultures and backgrounds, I’m looking forward to the day when my music will be embraced globally, leading to a world tour that will take me to the bigger stages and gigs. This journey is not just about fame or fortune; it’s about touching hearts, emotions, and uniting people through the universal language of music. With unwavering determination, I believe that one day, my dreams will manifest into reality, allowing me to stand proudly on my dream stages and share my passion with the world.
Without giving away too many details, what can the listeners expect for the rest of the year?
tanny ng: I am thrilled to share with my listeners that they can expect an abundant and diverse array of music from me. I and lots of my undeniably talented and dedicated artist friends have set out to explore new creative avenues and push the boundaries of the artistry I set in stone. I am excited to unveil music styles that have never been heard from me before, showcasing a side of my musical expression that will surprise and captivate my audience. From fusions of genres to deeply personal and evocative compositions, I can’t wait to take my listeners on a journey through this new era of my music. This new chapter in my career represents a bold leap into unexplored realms, and I can’t wait to share it all with my incredibly supportive and curious audience.
Now that you have collaborated with juhye, who is your next dream collaboration with?
tanny ng: From having worked with talented artists like Jemzel, wilngu, kinu and now juhye, I am incredibly enthusiastic about the prospect of collaborating with local Vietnamese musicians such as VSTRA, Thắng, Wren Evans and Grey D, as well as with internationally inspiring artists like Emily Sie, NIKI, keshi, JVKE and of course, Jeremy Zucker. As a musician myself, I believe that collaboration is the heart of creativity and the key to pushing musical boundaries. And I truly believe that each of these artists brings a unique perspective and style to the table, and the opportunity to not only learn their perspective in writing music, but also create something musically meaningful together would be nothing short of exhilarating.
“my, my, my” is now available on all digital streaming platforms so, make sure to listen here. Special thanks to tanny ng for taking the time to do this interview with us.
Listen to “my, my, my” by tanny ng and juhye on Spotify: