By: Michelle Young, Staff Writer
During isolation, many of us have been on the hunt for new tracks to add to our playlists. So why not check out the many talented Asian-American and Asian-Canadian artists who are making their mark on North America’s music scene? Asian Heritage Month may have just ended, but here are some artists that are carving their own sound that you can check out at anytime.
Vancouver-based artist, Diverseddie 舵, is an R&B Chinese-Canadian artist. His music features effortless transitions between bilingual rap verses in Mandarin and English. Musically, his songs feature a variety of range; some use fast rap, deep bass, and subtle synthesizers accompanied by trap-inspired beats, like on “You Won’t Lose Me.” Other tracks, such as “Long Live,” feature steady rap mixed with smooth vocals and piano chords for a subdued sound. His work explores topics such as materialism, immigration, and self-improval.
Sweater Beats (Antonia Cuna) is a Filipino-American electronica producer based in Los Angeles. His uptempo songs use climatic beat drops and rich synths. Vocals are diverse throughout his discography as he features a variety of artists on his tracks, such as Hayley Kiyoko and Icona Pop on “Glory Days” and “Faded Away,” respectively. Influenced by R&B and pop-punk, Sweater Beats has experimented with fusing genres, such as on his EMO NITE MIX. While some songs are solely instrumental, Sweater Beats remains distinctive via his use of rising electronics to craft songs that evoke an upbeat and radiant sound.
Based in Houston, the Vietnamese-American artist, Keshi (Casey Luong) features an alternative lo-fi hip-hop inspired sound paired with wavering vocals to capture vulnerability on his tracks. Melancholy and soft guitar strums capture the entirety of his work. His minimal use of echoes and rolling piano chords complement the raw emotion found throughout his discography. Keshi examines loneliness and what it means to heal from heartbreak on songs like “alright” and “blue.”
Postmoderndisco (Mandy) is a Toronto-based, Chinese-Canadian electronic artist who focuses on the atmosphere of her work. Tracks like “Wings” are filled with reverb and choiring vocals that build on top of one another for a hazy and ethereal sound. Beats are rich and layered, providing the listener with mesmerizingly chill electronics. The artist stated in an interview on Medium that she “create[s] without thinking in terms of genres.”
Run River North
Run River North is an alternative folk Korean-American band based in Los Angeles, currently made up of Daniel Chae, Alex Hwang, and Sally Kang. Songs like “Run or Hide” feature aggressive drum beats, paired with voices that contrast cooing hymns against angry verses. Other tracks, such as “Foxbeard” use soft electric guitar strums paired with strings to complement harmonizing vocals. Their sound emphasizes acoustics and captures how it feels to bask in the fleeting sunlight.