Coronavirus

Vietnam's Khac Hung Tells Story Behind His Global Hit, 'Washing Hand Song'

Khac Hung
Bee Hiroshi & Minh Dat

Khac Hung

When the COVID-19 pandemic was threatening Vietnam, a trio of artists -- Khac Hung, Min and Erik -- reunited to remake their 2017 hit "Ghen" with new lyrics, renaming it "Ghen Co Vy."

Khac Hung, who originally wrote the catchy pop song, wanted to transform it into a public message to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Now trending with over 40 million video views for just the original Vietnamese version, "Washing Hand Song" has surprisingly become a global hit, even being praised on an episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. Watch below:

Khac Hung, who emerged from the Vietnam National Academy of Music, has a history in the music industry that includes receiving five nominations and two awards from Vietnam's prestigious Dedication Music Awards. He received the coveted awards for both producer of the year and musician of the year.

Labeled a "hitmaker" in the country, he told Billboard Vietnam in 2019, "I am happy and fortunate that people love my music, but I do not create music with that intention in mind. I believe that creating music just to be a 'hitmaker' or follow trends causes an artist to lose his or her music identity."

However, Khac Hung does confess that world-renowned Swedish hitmaker Max Martin is his musical inspiration. "If you grew up with music from the '90s, you would have definitely heard of Max Martin or his songs," he explained. "I just want to focus and concentrate on delivering great pop songs, and this is something that Max does very well and is still doing it today."

Before discovering success, Khac Hung dreamed of his music being heard beyond Vietnam. An English version of "Ghen Co Vy" was also released. Watch below:

"When I create music, I want it to be authentic, of who I am. Music for me is not only just a mere passion, but also a place for me to share my passion for life and to express myself freely," he shared. "If I did not write, I would have regretted it and would not have had a way to express myself."

Regarding his inspiration to create the "Ghen" remake, he said: "With this new version, we wanted to drive more safety awareness to society, and at the same time, give hope to everyone to fight against COVID-19.

"The whole intention of this song is that during this critical period, to send the message of how we can all reduce the spread of the virus. We wanted to use music to bring positive energy and comfort, especially to our frontline soldiers, the medical workers, public workers and to those who still provide us essential services and dedicate themselves to help us fight this pandemic."

With the artistic support of Vietnamese choreographer Quang Dang, who orchestrated the hand movements and dance steps, the collaboration has millions of views on TikTok and other platforms. "Ghen Co Vy" has become the most popular Vietnamese pop song in 2020 so far and has been covered by press outlets throughout the world.

In addition, the song was commissioned by the Vietnamese government's Ministry of Health, which created an animated music video to spread the message further.

Khac Hung said he is surprised by how much attention the song is receiving and is proud that it has brought positivity to his country and worldwide to share the lesson of prevention.

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