Below is our digital artefact, a podcast on pop music from Thailand. Throughout the podcast, we as a group discussed the rise of pop music in Thailand, and focused our discussion on 3 songs by the incredibly popular Thai Pop artist, Tata Young.
This Podcast features the song “Werq” from incompetech.com, available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
Songs discussed in the podcast:
Dhoom Dhoom (2004) – Tata Young
Link to Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-gFuf8thjY
I Believe (2004) – Tata Young
Link to Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNapOnII1ZA
Ready For Love – Tata Young
Link To Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q7zxc0eJVg
A Little About the History of Thai Pop
When considering the music in Thailand, it’s been said that today, there are actually four different categories they may fall into. It’s either pop, rock, country or international. However, nowadays, pop and rock have become the same market and country is going that way too, and between the three, they have 80% of the Thai Market.
However, in regards to Thai pop specifically, it was in the mid-nineties when Thailand would finally, full embrace the world of western style commercialised pop, to the point where popular music in Thailand is now seen to be heavily influenced by that of the West. Some say that this is at least partly as a result of the “presence of a large number of American military personnel based in Thailand during the Vietnam War, as well as the rock ‘n roll music trend from the West (Wuttipong, 2012)”. When considering the songs in which we listened to as a group, that the idea that popular music in Thailand being influenced by the West is one that holds up. Everybody in the group got quite a Western vibe from the 3 songs and the videos of Tata Young, the artist we listened to, who is incredibly popular in Thailand, and you could very easily compare some of her songs to someone like a Britney Spears.
It’s been said that popular Thai music is “representative of a process of modernisation where Thai and Western cultures blend to form something new, but also something distinctly Thai (Eamsa-Ard, 2006)”. Not only that though, the degree of Western and Thai influence varied in the music – some songs sounded more Thai than Western – whereas others were more Western than Thai, which was another point brought up throughout the podcast. This also makes senses when you consider that during the mid-nineties, the Thai youth especially gave wider recognition to western superstars, as well as embracing the boy and girl bands from Japan and Korea, and it was not long after this that Thailand was producing its own stars, and this was around the time where Tata Young became a huge star, singing very mainstream pop music.
About Tata Young
Tata young is a Thai-American singer, model, actress and dancer, born in December of 1980. Throughout her career, she has released 8 studio albums, with three being in English, and 5 being in Thai. This is where her career alters from other stars releasing music in Thailand. Being half Thai-half American, and becoming famous at the age of 15, she has often been met with mixed reviews in Thailand for not being “typically” Thai enough. This however, was intentionally done. After being having a deal with Los Angeles, to which she would soon be dropped, her father brought her back to Thailand, signed her to ‘Bec Tero’, a small emerging record company. The idea was to produce Tata totally in English and sell her worldwide, releasing her in Thailand only in English. Her team advised them against this, however, her first album was then released in 12 countries, completely in English, where she had hits in eight. This included her album also doing well in Thailand, even though many believed that wouldn’t be the case. She very much reflects the growth of pop music in Thailand, with her music having a very Western style feel to them.
Now, Tata has enjoyed widespread mainstream popularity across Southeast Asia, East Asia and South Asia. When Tata plays in stadiums, she sells out. It is also believed that is was on the basis of her success that the company Sony got its niche in the Thai market, when it bought out her record company, ‘Beck Tero’. Young has also won multiple national and international awards, and at times, lauded as “Asia’s Queen of Pop”, and the “Britney Spears of Asia”.
Eamsa-Ard, L. 2006, ‘Thai popular music: The representation of national identities and ideologies within a culture in transition’, Edith Cowan University, [Accessed 8 Oct. 2018]
Proebst, I. (2018). The Best of Thailand’s Pop Music. [online] Culture Trip. Available at: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/thailand/articles/the-best-of-thailands-pop-music/ [Accessed 10 Oct. 2018].
Napier-Bell, S. (2006). Thailand’s thriving music scene. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2006/mar/19/worldmusic.popandrock [Accessed 8 Oct. 2018].
Wuttipong, N. 2012, ‘The Thai Popular Music Industry: Industrial Form of Musical Design’, University of Nottingham, [Accessed 8 Oct. 2018] <http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/13708/1/574613.pdf>.