Fresh New Finds: Asian & Pacific Islander Tunes To Get You Grooving

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Jenny Chang & Asia Clark

This month, we’re recognizing Asian and Pacific Islander talent that inspire us, and below we’ve curated some of our favorite new finds from 10 up-and-coming musicians. As you go through our curated playlist here, you’ll find a mix of music and hear a wide array of sounds, from bass-heavy house tracks to lo-fi indie pop records. We hope you enjoy!

1. Good Love 2.0 by Priya Ragu: Priya Ragu, 35 is a modern R&B Swiss-Tamil musician. ‘Good Love 2.0’ is Priya’s debut single written by her and her brother, Japhna Gold. The song plays homage to influencers close to her heart, being a second-generation immigrant in Switzerland, with elements of western pop and Kollywood. Not only has the song been remixed by Little Dragon, Honey Dijon and Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, it has also been included in FIFA 21’s soundtrack.

2. If Only by Raveena: New York-based Indian-American singer-songwriter Raveena Raveen talks about healing after getting out of an abusive relationship in this song from her debut EP Shanti. She shared in her interview with The FADER, “For me, this song is about recognizing your own strength and divinity as a woman and moving on from anyone in your life that doesn’t support that journey.”

3. Seasick by Emma Lee Toyoda: Emma Lee Toyoda is the lead singer of the Pacific Northwest indie rock band with Khyre Matthews and Zeke Bender. They described their genre as a “semi-nocturnal madgrrlrock”. “Seasick” is from her 2016 album Sewn Me Anew.

4. Bad Friend by Rina Sawayama: “Bad Friend” is a synth-pop ballad written by Rina Sawayama about how she fell out with a formerly close friend and learnt that she had a new baby after checking Facebook for the first time in a while. “The chorus sort of reflects just the emptiness you feel, almost like you’ve been let go off a rollercoaster...We’re not in touch, so it’s good.”

5. Butterscotch by Robotaki: “Butterscotch” is an electronic funk-wave song produced by Robotaki. This funky and soulful experimental track is Robotaki’s first hand at producing something in this realm. The incredible features by Jamie Fine and Falcxne enhanced “Butterscotch” to its soulful quality from their vocals and guitar expertise.

6. Afio Ane Loa by Tree: “Afio Ane Loa” is a song that is dedicated to “ALL PACIFIC WOMEN”. The song and music video written and directed by Tree is an homage to her Samoan heritage. It is a body of work that resonates with the shared experiences of other Pacific women. She states that the piece is personally precious to her because it is a song that she strongly resonates with and uplifts the people in her community.

7. Olympia by Flamingods: Olympia is a synthy psychedelic pop-punk track created by the alternative rock band Flamingods. This song was released in their fourth studio album which was largely influenced by funk, disco, and psychedelic sounds of the Middle East and South Asia in the 70’s.

8. Raingurl by Yaeji: Yaeji is a Korean-American singer, DJ, and producer. Raingurl is a bass-heavy ethereal and house-influenced track where the thundering beat and synth sounds create the ultimate dance experience. This track among others allowed her to reach the number 5 spot on Billboard’s American Dance/Electronic Album Sales chart.

9. Yam Yam by No Vacation: No Vacation is a Brooklyn based Indie Pop Band that consists of 5 members: Sabrina Mai, Marisa Saunders, Nat Lee, Rob Mills, and Harrison Spencer. They began their journey in 2015 in San Francisco California. After their short hiatus, No Vacation re-debuted with their songs “Mind Fields” and “Yam Yam” in 2017 with “Yam Yam” receiving high praise and popularity.

10. Chalo by Kohinoorgasm: Kohinoorgasm is a queer, desi music artist that creates lo-fi experimental pop music. Their song “Chalo” is a “tender show of femme power” according to Kajali Mag. This song was born out of their exhaustive experience of misogyny in their daily life. “Chalo” is a song made to share the “cultures of queer femme mutual support to help push the magic and power that is the femme being” as stated by Kohinoorgasm.

Check out more artists like the ones above on our playlist here.