A Survey in Asian-Am Music
Living in America, most of us only listen to American music, so many of us don’t know about the talented singers and great songs from other countries.
Singers who have remained popular over the years from many different countries are featured on http://www.youtube.com. The performers are all quite talented as many of them sing in more than one language. In addition, many are great dancers. On the Web site, you can listen to these singers, enjoy music videos and watch exclusive concert footage.
Multitalented musician and recent movie star Jay Chou has thoroughly dominated the Chinese music scene since his arrival in late 2000.
After receiving mild success purely as a songwriter for other Chinese artists, Chou released his debut album ‘Jay,’ which featured his signature vocal sound and incorporated both Chinese and Western influences. The soulful melodies on ‘Jay’ garnered success in China with both audiences and critics.
It was ‘Fantasy,’ however, released Sept. 20, 2001, which propelled Chou into stardom on the Asian music scene.
His sixth and newest CD, ‘Chopin,’ was released late last year. The album is filled with a lot of good songs, but the standouts are ‘Nocturne’ and ‘Hair like Snow.’ Both songs are slow, but ‘Nocturne’ is a bit more upbeat.
Chou actually contributed as a songwriter on two of Chinese pop singer Jolin Tsai’s CDs, forming a popular and lucrative collaboration between two immensely talented performers.
When Tsai was 18, she won an MTV singing contest with a Whitney Houston song, which resulted in a subsequent signing with Universal Music.
Over the next seven years, Jolin Tsai would become a pop diva in many parts of Asia, but especially in Taiwan.
Tsai’s greatest success came after switching to Sony Music with her album, ‘Magic.’
Her latest album, ‘J-Game,’ was released a little less than a year ago. Two great songs in the album are ‘Brutal Game’ and ‘Overlooking Purposely.’ Both songs are fast paced and fun to dance to.
Equally popular in the Japanese music spectrum, singer Utada Hikaru has found fans despite her being born in New York City. Her parents’ link to the Japanese music scene (her father was a producer and her mother was an enkra singer) allowed her to find success in the music market of her parents’ homeland since 1998 with ‘Automatic/ Time will tell,’ her first Japanese-language album.
Since then, Hikaru hasn’t given up trying to break into the English market, releasing two English albums. Her compilation of hits, Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1, features all of her hit songs. The best songs in this batch are First Love and Can You Keep a Secret?
Fellow Japanese singer Mai Kuraki is often viewed as a top musician who has trouble competing with her peer, Hikaru, as a singer, but is generally considered a better dancer and has been praised for her use of an all-African-American touring band.
Kuraki arrived on the Japanese music scene in 2000 with Delicious Way, selling over 4 million albums. She has five original albums total including her latest album, ‘Fuse of Love,’ which was released this past summer.
Two fun songs on the album are ‘Love Needing’ and ‘Dancing.’
Korean native BoA hit the music scene in 2000 as one of the most talented singers in Asia. She is fluent in both Korean and Japanese, but she is also learning English and Mandarin.
BoA released her first album in 2000. Even at a young age, the now-icon reached considerable fame in Korea while gaining initial notice from Japan.
Now, BoA’s music represents 75 percent of the music that shipped out of Korea and she has won the 2004 ‘Most Influential Asian Artist’ at the Asian MTV Music Awards in Singapore. The singer is also featured in many asian ad campaigns for Asian clothing companies, including the Japanese division of Gap.
BoA’s superior dance moves make her stand out from the pack. Check out her compilation album, ‘Best of Soul,’ which features her top songs sung in Japanese. Two songs that show off her range are the fast-paced ‘Valenti’ and the slower ‘Meri Kuri.’
Aaron Kwok is both a movie and music star in Hong Kong. As one of the older singers in the Asian music scene, he has been quite popular for over a decade, using his background as a professional dancer to enhance his music performances. Check out his classic hits such as ‘Ai De Hu Huan’ and ‘Love You Endlessly.’
Hopefully, some of these recommendations offer a start for those who want to become more aware of the massive amount of music outside of the American music industry, Asian and non-Asian alike.