Over the last few months, Popspoken Picks has witnessed big moves in the Asian music ecosystem coming into 2022. Across the world, artists from every corner have been putting out music that has taken over the charts and connecting to show that two heads (or more) are better than one. As live shows are slowly coming back into the musical landscape, outputs from talented musicians have been ramped up to meet regional and global demands.
Ranging from Pop and Dance to Rap and R&B, we feature five exciting tracks from Asia that you need to check out. Plus, a special feature from a resident of the Metaverse – it is truly a lineup of multiversal proportions.
The Vietnam-born, Los Angeles-based R&B chanteuse thuy shows off her sensual side with her latest single, ‘inhibitions’, in which she wears her heart on her sleeves and bares all her feelings towards her special someone. thuy declares that she’s “tired of being shy” and wants to let him know that, no matter how many suitors she has, she only has eyes fo him and no one else.
The single also features a verse from Filipino-American rapper P-Lo, who takes the persona of the other party in this conversation. In tandem with thuy’s lyrics, he encourages his lady to be herself as he’s “accepting of who [she is]”. All in all, this fun tune is a mischievous little number, while also illuminating a young couple’s attraction to each other.
South Korean producer and singer-songwriter SHAUN has joined forces with Malaysian-Muslim icon Yuna to bring you ‘So Right’, a mid-tempo Electronic Dance number that tells the familiar tale of a fast, whirlwind romance. Yuna’s velvet-smooth vocals talks about a so-wrong-yet-so-right relationship, while SHAUN duets her with reciprocal feelings, in terms of both lyrics and production.
This collaboration is one of epic proportions. Alone, these two artists are accomplished in their own right. Together, the pair is the perfect depiction of what Asian artists all over the world can offer.
YAØ – ‘Lose Face’
Pop-R&B artist YAØ returns with a single addressing the Asian concept of pride and only showing the best side of oneself to the world. ‘Lose Face’ is a common term that describes being humiliated or not living up to societal standards, and YAØ is flipping that on its head to encourage listeners to live however they want, regardless of whether they’re “losing face”.
“I’ll never be good enough for you, so I’ll just be good enough for me” is his way of reclaiming power – it is okay to “lose face” in life, but as long as your conscience is clear, there’s nothing else you need to worry about.
“I ain’t sayin’ that life is a walk in a park, ‘cause we all know life is a b*tch”
This line encompasses the essence of Lu Mellow’s latest single, ‘Mapped Out’. The Singapore-based Rap and Alt-R&B artist presents an honest and realistic take on the fragility and, sometimes, futility of life. The track also features Canadian rapper Gates$.
Like most people, ’Mapped Out’ tells listeners that neither of the artists have anything in life figured out, and that they are still in the process of working through past traumas while keeping the machine running in the present. If anything, this is a song that revels in the fact that none of us have everything mapped out, and that it is totally okay and a normal thing to go through.
Stephanie Poetri ft. JVKE – ‘Bad Haircut’
Indonesian-American singer-songwriter Stephanie Poetri and Rhode Island native JVKE teams up for a sweet and mellow Pop number about accepting loved ones for who they are. It starts off with Stephanie confessing that love has always been a scary thing, especially after seeing her parents realise that they were “just not meant to be”.
JVKE shares a similar story of thinking that love was stupid after witnessing the people around him become a mess after a relationship ends. As the song progresses, both of them learn that loving someone meant accepting the other person for who they are and the little things they do – even if they have a bad haircut. And that’s what love is: Accepting, Pure, and Fearless.
Special Mention: Maie – ‘Kosmo’
Virtual, non-human Maie is the culmination of today’s technological advancements and the Metaverse. Her latest single ‘Kosmo’, written by Pete Nappi and Audrey Nuna, and produced by Pete Nappi, explores the virtual artist’s journey to self-discovery as she navigates various universes before arriving on ours and deciding to stay.
Lyrics such as “I don’t wanna watch from afar” and “I’m tearing apart just to be here” illustrates Maie’s desire not just to be with humans, but to be human. Perhaps this would be a good point for us to ponder: At what point do Artificial Intelligence become human, if they are even able to? Will AI replace humans at their jobs as the Metaverse expands? With music being such an emotional medium, will AI ever be able to articulate the nuances of the highs and lows of life experienced by those made of flesh and blood? Only the future will tell.
For more interesting stories about Asian artists, check out our Music section.