By: Catherine He
Happy AAPI Heritage Month everyone! This post is a part of The Cajor’s AAPI Heritage Month May Series. Together, we are educating on and celebrating the AAPI community, providing a plethora of opportunities to get informed and take part in the festivities, no matter who you are or what you have access to.
What is AAPI Heritage Month?
AAPI Heritage Month is a time to educate others on AAPI history and issues, develop new ideas to grow and prosper together, and celebrate AAPI accomplishments and achievements! AAPI refers to anyone with heritage from the entire Asian continent, and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
Here are 10 of Our Favourite AAPI Music Artists!
The only way to not have heard about H.E.R. (which stands for “Having Everything Revealed”) is to have been sleeping under a rock for the entirety of the last decade! Where have you been?! H.E.R., real name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, is an award-winning R&B superstar, laying claim on four Grammys already, including one for song of the year in 2020! She is half-Filipina and half-Black, and embraces her mixed identity admirably and fully! As explained on her Spotify profile, contemporary R&B artist H.E.R. surfaced in 2016 with H.E.R., Vol. 1, an EP of downcast post-breakup material that sounded both vulnerable and assured, much like what followed from the singer and songwriter. Watch her latest music video below!
Follow H.E.R. with the links below!
As explained by their Spotify profile, record-breaking South Korean boy band BTS (aka Bangtan Boys) deliver an energetic blend of dance-pop and hip-hop with deeply introspective lyrics that helped them build a devoted global following while also making them one of the most successful Korean artists in the world. BTS is absolutely everywhere, and is an inspiration to up and coming Asian artists all around the globe; with their tendency to shatter records, they prove that dreams do come true, and that in this globalized world anything can happen. Their fame is most definitely well-deserved: just take a look at their latest, single, which garnered over 250 million views on YouTube in a little over a week!
Follow BTS with the links below!
Eve is a Japanese artist that is known as an ‘Utaite’, or an artist that does not show his face. The ideology behind this is wanting fans to enjoy music for the voice, rather than the artist’s appearance. According to the Utaite Wiki, Eve is known for his very distinctive thin, boyish voice which despite being slightly nasal in tone, is very gentle and nice-flowing. On top of releasing many albums and singles, he has also produced music for television, including anime films such as Jujutsu Kaisen, Dororo, and Josee, the Tiger and the Fish. Just a few weeks ago, he released a new vibey piece!
Follow Eve with the links below!
Olivia Rodrigo is a new Filipina-American pop sensation! Her debut song, ‘driver’s license’, broke the Spotify record for most streams of a song in a single week; the song was streamed a whopping 65, 873, 080 times in its first week alone, and later became the fastest song in Spotify history to reach 100 million streams. Pretty impressive for a 18-year-old, huh? According to her Spotify profile, the first song she published was called “All I Want.” She wrote it for a show Olivia acts in and it opened up a lot of doors for her. On the last day before Covid lockdown, she met the team at Interscope/Geffen records and a producer named Dan Nigro for the first time. It turned out to be a very momentous day, and we are so glad for that chance of fate, because without it, we wouldn’t have the insanely popular piano ballad ‘driver’s license’!
Follow Olivia with the links below!
Kris Wu, given name Wu Yi Fan, is an incredibly versatile Chinese star, and is an established household name in Asia. According to The Business of Fashion, Kris Wu is Burberry’s first Chinese brand ambassador, commanding a social media following of over 25 million which has made the actor, singer and model an effective communication channel for brands looking to break into Asia. Wu closed Burberry’s Autumn/Winter 2016 menswear show. He launched his career in 2012 as a one of K-Pop group EXO’s 12 members, but left in 2014 to pursue a solo music and film career. In 2016, he landed a role in China’s top grossing movie of all time, The Mermaid. On top of it all, in 2018, with the release of Kris’s album ‘Antares’ in North America, he completely dominated the iTunes Top 10 songs chart, even beating out Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, next’! Clearly Kris Wu is a sensation to be reckoned with.
Follow Kris with the links below!
Higher Brothers are a Chinese hip-hop group from Chengdu, a city located in central Sichuan, China. As describe on their Spotify profile, Higher Brothers are “the current breakout stars of the Chinese hip-hop world.” (The New York Times) As featured by CNN, Vice News, NPR, Nylon and beyond, they are the first Chinese rap act to find success internationally. Higher Brothers are just one example of Asian excellence, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for these rising stars!
Follow Higher Brothers with the links below!
alextbh is a proud Malaysian and queer pop artist breaking barriers! As stated on V Magazine, his infectious personality paired with his offering of playful, R&B-infused pop songs about heartbreak and romantic relationships have gained him fans from across the globe and garnered support from fellow musicians such as Sevdaliza, Khalid and Clean Bandit. Additionally, as described on his Spotify profile, since his debut release “Tbh”, alextbh has amassed over 30 million Spotify streams, featured on the cover of Malaysia’s New Music Friday playlist, and reached top 10 at Singapore pop Radio. The Kuala Lumpur native is no stranger to stages across the world, opening for Khalid in Asia, opening for Yuna in Europe, performing for Good Vibes Festival Malaysia, Laneway Festival Singapore, 88Rising’s virtual Asia Rising Festival, and more. We can’t wait to hear about what he does next!
Follow alextbh with the links below!
And we have another Alex on our list! Alex Aiono is an American singer, producer, YouTuber, and actor, with Maori and Samoan heritage. As described by his Spotify profile, Alex Aiono has been steadily expanding his fan base since he began writing and recording at age 15. After nearly a billion views, 500 million streams, Top 10 hits of his own, sold out tours around the world, starring movie roles and crafting songs for other platinum artists, his unique calling as a multi-hyphenate creator embraced Alex on his twenty third birthday. Now, Alex is moving beyond mashups, with the release of ‘The Gospel at 23’!
Follow Alex with the links below!
keshi is a rising sensation from Houston, Texas, with Vietnamese parents. He offers a dreamy vibe of music, accentuated by his distant falsetto vocals and textural instrumentals. As described by Genius, keshi has beautifully progressed since first releasing music in 2013. With his dreamy mix of guitar-laced pop and lo-fi hip-hop, the singer-songwriter has cultivated a massive streaming audience. keshi never fails to impress, and his music is the perfect soundtrack to a hazy day.
Follow keshi with the links below!
ASHWARYA is an Indian-born Australian that is redefining the pop music scene. As described by her Spotify profile, in ASHWARYA’s hands, pop just hits different. Only a year into her career, and the 21-year-old Indian-born Melbourne native is already known as an innovator and a disruptor, someone for whom surprise is a native language. In ASHWARYA’s music, every left turn is met with a trap-door; her sound traverses rap and pop, bhangra drumming and R&B trilling. We have no doubt that ASHWARYA will only continue to go up from here.
It’s likely that you’ve hear beabadoobee’s songs all over TikTok, especially during 2020 with the explosion of ‘death bed (coffee for your head). According to her Spotify profile, born in the Philippines and raised in London, Bea Kristi began recording music as Beabadoobee in 2017. At just 20 years old, Beabadoobee has built her huge, dedicated Gen-Z fan base with her flawless output of confessional bedroom pop songs and DIY aesthetic. Her first track, ‘Coffee’ gathered hundreds of thousands of streams in a matter of days, through a fan-uploaded video. Since then, her songs have amassed millions of streams between her own self-released recordings and her three EPs on independent London label Dirty Hit, Patched Up, Loveworm and Space Cadet. She has been championed by BBC Radio 1, Rolling Stone, Vogue, Dazed, The Fader, i-D, Pigeons and Planes, Noisey, NME, Time Out, Paper, Nylon, Time Out, The New Yorker and The Guardian, amongst others.
Follow beabadoobee with the links below!
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