Special guest Pagnia Xiong graced the Hmong Stout Student Organization’s Hmong New Year by performing and speaking about the framework of her career as a renowned Hmong artist on Saturday Dec. 2. She is internationally recognized for her Youtube videos that have peaked at over 500,000 views, and she performs frequently across the world.
Xiong started her singing career in Eau Claire, Wis., performing in a variety of community events and competitions like the Hmong American New Year and Hmong Idol. Xiong won several first place titles for her dynamic vocals and original songs.
Xiong was influenced by many 90s artists as a young singer. “My biggest inspirations came from mainstream female music divas such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain and Whitney Houston. They were constantly playing in my house,” Xiong said.
As Xiong continued to pursue her career, she also worked closely with other Hmong artists from across the country. “One powerful experience [for me] was in 2011 when The Kong & Shu Project, a popular Hmong American music duo from North Carolina, invited a variety of Hmong American artists to collaborate on the song, ‘Hmoob Yuavtsum Hlub Hmoob,’” Xiong explained.
The collaboration caught attention from across the world, furthering Xiong’s exposure and musical range. “Our collaboration garnered over 1.4 million views online and has since been covered by multiple groups and individuals from Bangkok, Thailand to St. Paul, Minn. This experience reminded me of how powerful music is and the significance of my role in bettering the world as a music artist. It truly humbled me,” Xiong said.
Aside from spending the Hmong New Year with UW–Stout, Xiong also spent time with her family. “One of my favorite parts about celebrating the Hmong New Year is getting up early with all my sisters and my mom, digging through closets and suitcases to put on my most favorite attire: traditional Hmong clothes,” Xiong said, “Hands down, forevermore, I will always feel the most beautiful when I am in traditional Hmong clothes.”
Check out Pagnia Xiong’s content on Youtube, Spotify and iTunes.