Phung Khanh Linh and overseas artists get creative with the city’s pop palette

Late last year, Vietnamese pop singer Phung Khanh Linh was grieving the death of a beloved cat. The death of his pet followed the loss of other loved ones during a difficult period of the pandemic. Overcome with grief, she longed for a cure for her sadness and found solace in the nostalgic funk-pop sounds of Japanese city pop.

“I turned to these sounds earlier this year and listening to them really inspired me during that time, especially Mariya Takeuchi and Anri’s albums,” the 28-year-old performer says via video chat on Ho Chi Minh city

Linh soon became consumed with the glistening melancholy of urban pop, a genre that epitomized the ease and exuberance of Japan’s bubble era. Finally, he began to create his own sonic metropolis, guided both by the sounds and the aesthetics associated with this corner of Japanese music.

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