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Became a pop star on holiday

A star at home, completely unknown abroad. This is the case for many German musicians. But the opposite can also be the case: these young German pop singers enjoy cult status in Asia and Africa.

Jannine Weigel
Jannine Weigel © dpa

Won a casting show on holiday

In Vietnam, fans simply adore Trong Hieu Nguyen (25), who was born in Bad Kissingen.  In 2015 he won the casting show Vietnam Idol – more or less while on holiday, because the idea was simply to visit his family. He spontaneously decided to take part and won outright. Ever since then he has been the “German Hot Boy” and commutes between the two countries. He has clinched a number of advertising deals and is living out his dream as a singer in Hanoi. His manager Trinh Phuong Uyen is convinced that the star will take off in Germany as well: “He’s going to conquer the world.”


Discovered on the street in Africa

The 24-year-old Deena Herr from Baden-Baden is a star in Uganda. It all started with a voluntary social service year in Rwanda. When Deena was visiting the neighbouring state of Uganda and sang with some street musicians, she was discovered by a music manager. She became famous in 2015 with the song “Mumulete”. Her fans call her the Muzungu singer. Muzungu means white woman. She sings her songs in the local language. Meanwhile she is now known beyond the borders and performs at concerts with up to 30,000 visitors. Despite the razzmatazz, Deena Herr is modest: “I never imagined I’d gain so much attention.”


Capturing Chinese hearts

The Berliner Maximilian Hecker (39) fills large concert halls in China and gazes into the glowing eyes of thousands of fans. The Goethe-Institut helped him to success. In 2003 it sent him on a world tour. And since then Hecker has been a star in Southeast Asia. He is a heartthrob especially in China.  He regularly returns there for concerts, most recently in April 2017. He puts his recipe for success in a nutshell: “My fans in Asia believe me.”


Breakthrough thanks to Ashton Kutcher

Born in Steinfurt in North Rhine-Westphalia, 16-year-old German-Thai Jannine Weigel has been living in Bangkok since 2010. Her career began in 2013 with her Youtube channel where she published cover versions under the name of Ploychompoo. When Ashton Kutcher and Lil Wayne shared her clips, the clicks soared sky high. She now has more than two million subscribers. This was followed by roles in TV series and a cinema movie as well as advertising contracts. Her single “Away” stormed the Thai charts to reach number two. Her next goal: “I’d like to become an internationally successful singer like Taylor Swift or Katy Perry.”