Becoming more aware of who we buy from or support is just another effortless way to chip away from the broken system that continuously suppresses POC’s success and talent. Especially with the increasing attacks against the AAPI community, the need for support comes to the forefront of everybody’s minds. Just as we should be supporting Asian-owned businesses, we should extend that support to the music industry in the United States who doesn’t showcase many Asian artists. Don’t know where to look? No worries, I got your back. Here are some of my favorite Asian/Asian American artists to listen to:
Part of the hybrid American mass media company that acts as a record label, video production, and marketing company, 88Rising, NIKI (Nicole Zefanya) is an Indonesian singer-songwriter who is only 22 years old. She gradually gained popularity on Youtube where she covered songs acoustically. After signing with 88Rising, her fanbase grew exponentially. One of my favorite songs by her is “Newsflash!” Check it out!
A long time contributor to the music industry, Yunalis binti Mat Zara'ai, or more commonly known as Yuna, is a Malaysian singer who gained much of her popularity over MySpace and is most known for her smooth jazz and pop music creations. Yuna is perhaps best known for her collaboration with Usher on her breakout single "Crush", which peaked at number 3 on the US Billboard Adult R&B chart.
I could not stop listening to Keshi this time last year. His music helped get through a rough patch and also helped me study through midterms and finals. Casey Luong, or more famously known as Keshi, is an Vietnamese American artist who grew up in Houston, Texas. He taught himself the guitar when he was 13 and then taught himself the ins and outs of producing his own music. Keshi is heavily influenced by Drake, Frank Ocean, and John Mayer. My personal favorite song of his is “like i need u”.
Highly underrated, Luke Chiang is a small artist who has a knack for creating great music that you could study to or just vibe to. He is a Taiwanese American singer/songwriter based in Phoenix and mostly creates R&B/Soul/Pop music. One of my favorite songs from his discography is “Shouldn’t Be” and I can guarantee that it will be yours too.
Born in Seattle to her African American father and Japanese mother, Tierra Umi Wilson dropped out of college at USC to pursue her dreams of becoming a musician. It was not until 2018 when she released her track called “Remember Me” which garnered over 80 million streams of Spotify (a bop if I do say so myself). UMI is currently only 22 years old and has been described by Vogue as having a "lo-fi, alternative, laid back, R&B style.” If you’re into that kind of music, UMI is definitely one to look out for.
I’m not entirely sure how I came to know Dhruv’s music but his music is sooo good. He is another very small artist and is Indian American. Although he is still starting out, his three songs featured on his Spotify page are all amazing hits. I cannot wait to listen to his new music in the future.