It’s Music Mondays! This week have our friend and fellow Asian American music enthusiast, Lauren Lee, sharing her awesome playlist for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!
Hey there friends! My name is Lauren. I am a recovering music major and liberal arts student, and am in talent buying and artist management in the Bay Area, home of the championship teams of ‘16. I am also on the Artist Development team at Kollaboration SF, where we work with emerging AAPI musicians in the Bay Area to bring them to a larger audience.
For about the last year, I’ve gotten serious about putting my money where my mouth is in supporting AAPI musicians. As I’ve begun to dive deeper into my field, I’ve understood more about how to improve representation in the music industry. It’s a real complicated formula - buy their t-shirts, go to their concerts, and talk about them on social media.
The second part is that, when I talk about Asian American artists to my friends, even those involved in the community, there was a widespread belief that AAPI musicians were either a) non existent or b) not good enough to rise to the top, where they would have heard of them. Both these assumptions are horribly wrong.
So, because I have no filter when it comes to things I am passionate about, I posted a facebook status every day with an AAPI musician recommendation, to both make some social media noise and prove to you that I can come up with 31 amazing Asian musicians you’ll want to listen to.
So without further ado, the Asian American Heritage Month musician advent calendar (Playlist can be found below).
MAY 1ST - Zhu
If you listen to: Gorgon City, Disclosure
Where would have I heard of them? The radio.
MAY 2ND - Yuna
Genre: Pop/indie crooner singer-songwriter
If you listen to: Lianne La Havas, Banks
Where would have I heard of her? She's been all over your festival lineups and she recently released a single with Usher.
MAY 3RD - Us The Duo
Genre: Sweet Married Hipster Couple Who Are Madly In Love
If you listen to: Walk the Moon, Lennon and Maisy
Where would have I heard of them? Supporting Pentatonix on the first leg of their world tour. And YouTube.
MAY 4th - Bambu
Genre: Super Woke Rap
If you listen to: Blue Scholars, Murs
Where would have I heard of him? Oakland. Specifically, organizing protests, speaking at panels, and performing at Oakland Museum's Friday Nights.
MAY 5TH - Shigeto
Genre: Etherial/trippy/nasty indie electronic
If you listen to: Nosaj Thing, Shlohmo
Where would have I heard of him? Festival lineups. Festival lineups everywhere.
MAY 6TH - Toro y Moi
Genre: Indie Electronic for Complicated Feelings
If you listen to: Twin Shadow, Neon Indian
Where would have I heard of him? Again, festival lineups.
MAY 7TH + 8TH SUPER LATE WEEKEND EDITION
Artist: Sweater Beats (he counts as two because he's a producer and artist? i was busy this weekend shut up)
Genre: Clean Electronic Fun to Dance To
If you listen to: Giraffage, Wave Racer
Where would have I heard of him? He was a SXSW Sweetheart this year. He was also support for highly successful tours like Chance the Rapper and Chet Faker.
Artist: Jae Jin
Genre: Wait-That-Dude-Is-Asian Vocals
If you listen to: Gary Clark Jr, Tim Be Told
Where would have I heard of him? He has a cameo in an episode of House of Cards where he basically appears as himself (s2e3). Also this youtube video.
Artist: Anderson .Paak
Genre: R&B / Pop / Oh Shoot This Man is a MUSICIAN / Rap / Indie
If you listen to: Gallant, Chance the Rapper, anyone on the radioWhere would have I heard of him? He's featured on no less than 6 tracks on Dr. Dre's new album. He comes out with a new collaboration every week, everyone from TOKiMONSTA to Hiatus Kaiyote to Snakehips. It won't be long before he sneaks his way into your favorite artist's new album.
MAY 11TH BRITISH EDITION - Emmy The Great
Genre: Beautiful Stoic Indie Queen
If you listen to: Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale
Where would have I heard of her? Probably Pitchfork or NPR honestly.
MAY 12TH - The Show Ponies
Genre: Old Timey Bluegrass Happiness
If you listen to: The Punch Brothers, Branches
Where would have I heard of them? Honestly, since you're in my circle of Facebook friends, probably Facebook. But they've also been touring like crazy for the last couple of years.
MAY 13TH - Jeff Bernat
If you listen to: JMSN, Marc E. Bassy
Where would have I heard of him? He makes the LA-AAPI-music-scene rounds, but, and I promise I will try to say this as little as possible, you probably have never heard of him.
MAY 14TH + 15TH PRODUCER WEEKEND EDITION - !llmind
Genre: Pop/Rap/R&B producer-god
If you listen to: literally all or any of the radio
Where would have I heard of him? He's produced songs for everybody, including but not limited to Ariana Grande, Dr. Dre, J. Cole and Kanye.
MAY 16TH - Nosaj Thing
Genre: Chillwave Soulection Friend
If you listen to: Shigeto, Flying Lotus
Where would have I heard of him? If you're into Soundcloud, you've probably come across him at some point.
MAY 17TH - Run River North
Genre: Cute Folk Turned Angsty Indie Rock
If you listen to: The Last Bison, Ivan & Alyosha
Where would I have heard of them? They’ve been on a couple late shows and have just been touring for a litle bit. They also are Kollab SF Alumni!
MAY 18TH - Tim Atlas
Genre: Sweet Talking Singer Songwriter
If you listen to: John Mayer, Ingrid Michaelson
Where would have I heard of him? A lil show called The Voice
MAY 19TH, Yuri Kochiyama Edition - Blue Scholars
Genre: Socially Conscious Rap And Occasionally Rap About Asian Food
Where would I have heard of them? They don’t do much anymore, but they were one of the building blocks in the contemporary Seattle rap scene.
MAY 20TH - Awkwafina
Genre: The Detail-Oriented-Kind-of-Nasty Rap
If you listen to: Le1f, Mykki Blanco
Where would have I heard of her? She's featured on Bad Rap the documentary and various New-York-themed Fung Bros Youtube videos. Also, hipsters love her. You've probably heard about her from them.
MAY 21ST - Paul Kim
Genre: R&B Crooner
If you listen to: Marc E Bassy, Kehlani
Where would have I heard of him? Youtube, specifically his KPop covers alongside Omarion covers.
MAY 22ND - TOKiMONSTA
Genre: Gritty Pop/Chillwave
If you listen to: Flying Lotus, Baths
Where would have I heard of her? She's been collaborating with some huge names as well as touring constantly. She's also been on every major festival lineup that's surfaced so far this summer.
MAY 23RD - Tomo Nakayama
Genre: Acoustic/Electronic/Etherial/Mystical Singer Songwriter
If you listen to: Margaret Glaspy, Chris Staples
Where would have I heard of him? He's been in a staple in the PNW scene for a minute. His music was also featured in the indie movie Touchy Feely, which he co-stars in with Ellen Page.
MAY 24TH BRITISH EDITION PART II - Zayn
Genre: The Entire Radio But Also Good Somehow
If you listen to: any kind of good music
Where would have I heard of him? He had this side project called One Direction for a while
MAY 25th - Best Coast
Genre: LA Angst Rock That Feels Good Weirdly
If you listen to: Dum Dum Girls, Real Estate
Where would have I heard of them? They just got done with a massive national tour and are definitely going to be at whatever festivals you're going to this summer
MAY 26TH - dumbfoundead
Genre: OG K-Town Rap Goodness
If you listen to: Blue Scholars, Atmosphere
Where would have I heard of him? He's featured in the new documentary Bad Rap, has been dominating in rap battles since he was a teen, and is starting to blur lines between Korean and American rap with singles like "It G Ma". And he released this crazy ass video today "SAFE"- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmvqb9Uzu8k
MAY 27TH - Neon Indian
Genre: Smack Dab In the Middle of Pop Indie and Electronic Music
If you listen to: Twin Shadow, Toro Y Moi
Where would have I heard of him? Festivals!
MAY 28TH - Mr. Carmack
Genre: Current President of Electronic Tastemaking
If you listen to: Djemba Djemba, Great Dane
Where would have I heard of him? Soundcloud. Obviously.
MAY 29TH - The Flavr Blue
Genre: Consistently Surprisingly Good R&B Electronic
If you listen to: Vindata, Ryan Hemsworth
Where would have I heard of them? Hollis Wong-Wear helps run shit in the Seattle music scene, and she's been making waves in Asian American conversations in the music industry.
MAY 30TH - Giraffage
Genre: Quirky Electronic
If you listen to: XXYYXX, Chrome Sparks
Where would have I heard of him? He's been making friends with the cool kids of the indie EDM scene and you can find his remixes everywhere.
MAY 31ST - bonus round
I couldn’t just stop at 31 so instead I stopped at 80.
Terry 'KRNFX' Im
Tim Be Told
Far East Movement
So my friends, I hope you listen through this treasure trove and find something you like. And while you listen, you can do what I like to do and imagine the first conversation each artist had with their parents about wanting to be a musician.