Singer. Songwriter. Dancer. German-born Linh Tran, who goes by the artist name Saint Linh, is a certified triple threat. Just a year ago, she moved to Saigon to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a singer. Her sound is RnB with influences of Afrobeat, Trap, and Hip Hop. These days you can find her regularly at her home venues, Below Whisky Den and The Calmo, or at lounges like Air360, SkyXX, and Kasho for special events. This week, Saint Linh gives us a playlist to fill us with get-up-and-go vibes.
Read on in Vietnamese
Linh’s life and career are heavily intertwined with music she explains from Hustle gym in District 2’s Thao Dien. So, it’s no surprise that this singer, songwriter, dancer and sometime actress believes music is the key to everything. “Music brings people together,” Linh begins, “It also allows our emotions to live and grow.”
Music motivates Linh. It is her cheerleader when she needs inspiration. Her therapist when she feels unheard and unseen. Her medicine when she’s emotionally unwell. “At the clubs, if the music is not good, I can’t enjoy it,” Linh shrugs, “because music is my drug.”
Linh listens to music all day long. While waking up in the morning, while readying herself for a meeting, while working out at the gym and while cooking in her kitchen. And, of course, Linh works with music in her dance and singing career. “I have 5,000 songs on all of my devices,” Linh says looking at her phone, “so I never run out of music.”
Linh first started listening to music on a Discman. She only had a couple of CDs back then, Britney Spears’ Everytime and Ashlee Simpson’s Pieces of Me. She listened to these two on repeat. The only time little Linh could experience new music was on the television channels MTV and VIVA. “Now, since music is accessible any given time,” Linh explains, “I listen to it everywhere.”
What was your first meaningful experience of music?
My first performance in high school. There were two days to learn an English song. And I was in the 6th grade and could barely speak English at the time. I sang “The Rose” by LeAnn Rimes. People cried and gave me a standing ovation. I thought, “Awesome. I know what I want to do with my life now.” I figured it might make both and me and other people happy.
What do you listen to secretly when no one’s around?
When I was a young’un, I sang opera! So I have a lot of classical influences. Until this day, I still like listening to opera every so often. I also enjoy an occasional dose of “oldies but goodies”. Britney Spears, Spice Girls, NSYNC, and the Backstreet Boys take me back. I love nostalgia. It makes me happy.
You have one track to make someone love music. What do you play them? Why?
I’d say Tori Kelly’s song “Coffee”. Tori Kelly is phenomenal. I get chills whenever I listen to this song. It consistently gets me in my feels. It’s like a punch in the gut. But in the best way possible. Like anyone, I love a good catchy melody. But I especially like it when it has unique or surprising element. Tori Kelly does this beautifully. I never get tired of “Coffee”.
And which of your own tracks would you play someone so they understand you?
“Tai Sao”. I wrote this while drowning in a sea of lovesickness. Every time I feel some type of way, I start writing. I write when all the emotions are fresh and raw. Then I let it sit. Once I’m over it and all is well again, I go back and refine what I’ve written. “Tai Sao” was written from a very vulnerable place. At the time, I couldn’t speak Vietnamese well. It was a challenge writing it with my very limited knowledge of the language.
What song would you like played at your wedding? And which at your funeral?
Damn. To be honest, I never gave much thought to my wedding or funeral. Maybe I would choose “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce for my wedding and “Halo” also by Beyonce for my funeral.
Describe this mix in a few sentences.
I’m loud, selfless, and stubborn. Nobody controls me. But also, I’m good vibes. This playlist reflects me. This mix should empower somebody. It should put you in control of yourself in a way that pushes you through whatever you are doing at that moment.
Where would be the perfect place to listen this mix? Why?
For me, this is a very multi-purpose playlist. Listen when you wake up in the morning. Listen when working out. Listen on the way to work…
Tell us about the 10 tracks you’ve chosen.
D Smoke is the artist I chose to kick off this playlist. This guy is a speaker of truths. I admire how well-spoken he is and how acutely accurate all his lyrics are. His track “Last Supper” is no exception. It has a nice, grounded nineties sound to it. Then, we go really sassy with Lizzo’s track “Juice”. If you wanna go out and do something, this strong beat and catchy melody adds an immediate pep to your step. Next up, is another girl power number, “Good Thing”. It’s a collab between Zedd and Kehlani, so you know it’s going to be fire. As a feminist, I love the message of this song. It inspires independence. The lyrics are a version of the mantra “You don’t need no man.”
We then drop into what I feel is the epitome of a ‘litty’ song, “She Live” by Maxo Dream and Megan Thee Stallion. It’s a little ghetto so you can really swag out on this one. “She Live” has the power to imbue you with a big dose of attitude.
We follow that with a motivational song, aptly named “Motivation”, by Normani. If you know it, you know it’s nearly impossible not to sing (and dance) along. It is uplifting from the very first second. A playlist would simply not be complete without a twerk song. Right now, my track of choice for a good twerk sesh is “Hot Girl Summer” by Megan Thee Stallion, Ty Dolla $ign, and the almighty Nicky Minaj.
Then we have Pia Mia, Chris Brown, and Tyga’s ditty “Do it Again”. I just consider this a good one for chores. It’s happy and upbeat…and just good for having in the background. I follow this with The Carter’s “APESHIT”. I adore this power couple. Vibe with it. Go crazy with it. “APESHIT” makes you want to rap along, even though you can’t! “No Problem” by Chance the Rapper is a perfect car (or motorbike) commute song. It has a simple beat, but it’s a good beat. I appreciate this. It makes me want to take command of the road.
Finally, Ciara is the power package. And this song, “Level Up”, is a powersong. No matter what you’re doing, it makes you want to go harder at it. Level up with me, everyone!
Photos by Nam Tran Duy and Khooa Nguyen.