Asian Indie Hits


Though Asian American youth are diverse in many aspects, an ever-increasing number are no longer satisfied with be- ing seen as an ethnic monolith by Western gaze. It’s no wonder, then, that descendents of Asian im- migrants all across the U.S. have resonated so much with labels like 88rising. The reason? A success- ful formula for Asian artists has arisen, between representation that feels genuine and non-pan- dering, coupled with some really banging, catchy songs. These two things together create music that speaks to the next generation of AAPI teens, as they navigate their relationship with their identities in the context of a white-dominated cultural landscape. Besides artists like Joji or NIKI from 88rising, or more well-known indie musicians like mxmtoon, here are some oth- er young artists of Asian descent in Western countries who are changing the current soundscape, and definitely worth checking out:


701,000 monthly Spotify listeners

Perhaps better known by his stage name Monsune, 23-year-old Scott Zhang is a Chinese-Canadian indie and synthpop artist. Discernible for his experimental production and delightfully-paced melodrama, Zhang’s 2019 track “MOUNTAIN,” was nominated for the SOCAN Songwriting Prize. Fans of 1990s Hong Kong cinema should also see Zhang’s music video for “OUTTA MY MIND,” whose aesthetics are heavily inspired by the work of director Wong Kar-wai.


656,000 monthly Spotify listeners 

Hailing from Singapore, India and Britain, dhruv instills depth in his bedroom pop with dreamy production and soulful lyrics. When the 21-year-old singer-songwriter isn’t studying data science at Yale University, he’s working on his debut EP “Con Artist,” which revolves around his experiences with queer love and the music industry.


3,224,000 monthly Spotify listeners 


26-year-old Casey Luong, also known by his stage name Keshi, is perhaps most distinguished by his poignantly-charged lyrics on heartbreak and loss. What’s undeniable, however 

is that this Vietnamese-American Houston native has gained a loyal following with his personal take on alternative indie, and shows no signs of slowing down. 


3,278,000 monthly Spotify listeners


Contemporary R&B artist UMI has already created an impressive body of work, especially given that she’s only 22. A Seattle native of Japanese and Black descent, she has gained much traction with her distinct neo-soul sound–while still flitting skillfully between ballads and synthpop–characterized by themes of nostalgia and introspection.