10 ARTISTS TO LISTEN TO FOR AAPI HERITAGE MONTH (AND ALL YEAR ROUND)
BY BRENESSA ROACH | MAY 6 2023
Happy AAPI (Asian American/Pacific Islander) Heritage Month! As you may know, Behind The Beat is owned and operated by an Asian-Canadian and our mission is to be super inclusive of every artist out there. Since we launched, we are always sharing Asian artists but, because this month is all about AAPI’s, we are here to celebrate by highlighting even more Asian-American artists from many genres. The artists we are sharing today range from below 100K monthly listeners on Spotify to over 1 million but, regardless of numbers, you may not know them so, hopefully you discover some new artists today.
Let’s get started…
CLUB BOYBND is an independent Korean-Canadian duo consisting of Justin Trash and Roc Lee. They used to be signed to Sony Music Entertainment as they were in a trio group called UPTOWN BOYBAND. However, they left the label and began creating music as CLUB BOYBND since December 2022.
Their official debut was on February 3rd of this year with the song “kiss me thru the phone” which is a Korean R&B style remix of the 2008 Soulja Boy song of the same title. There is also an accompanying music video for this song which was a LAB0916 production. Additionally, CLUB BOYBND also released another single on March 17th titled “like this” which also has an accompanying music video.
Recently, “kiss me thru the phone” hit 500K streams and is currently charting in Asia on Spotify curated playlists such as; Viral 50 – Vietnam, Viral 50 – Thailand, Viral 50 – Malaysia and Viral 50 – Singapore. This song started gaining more traction after Roc Lee’s TikTok videos using a snippet of the song started to blow up.
In just over two months with only 2 songs and the use of TikTok and Instagram reels, CLUB BOYBND have garnered more than 100K monthly listeners. Additionally, they have been teasing their next single “Confessions” which has no release date yet, but make sure you follow them to stay up to date. As well, keep checking our “new and upcoming releases” page where we will be featuring the song + pre-save link.
Listen to “kiss me thru the phone” by CLUB BOYBND on Spotify:
RC AVENUE is a Filipino-American singer-songwriter based in NYC, United States. RC AVENUE’s genre R&B infused with indie and alternative pop. He made his debut on May 16th, 2020 with the song “Sometimes (Clouds in the Wind)” which is an R&B style song. A year later on May 21st, 2021, he released a double single EP consisting of “magenta*” and “imma go (bonus track)”. “magenta*” is definitely a song that changed his R&B style to more of an alternative pop with R&B infused style.
On May 17th, 2022, RC AVENUE released his first indie pop heavy song titled “voicemails”. He really started gaining attention after the release of his single “CARELESS” on December 9th, 2022. By this song, he really found his style. The song currently has over 300K streams, making it his most popular song.
So far for 2023, RC AVENUE released “CLUE” on February 24th and “CINEMA” on April 6th, 2023. “CINEMA” is his second most popular song with just over 100K streams after a month. He also recently released a sped-up version of it. Both “CLUE” and “CINEMA” are very R&B heavy and we think this is the best style for RC AVENUE.
Looking back to his first song in 2020, he has improved a lot and really experimented and found his song. We are so excited to continue to watch him grow. Additionally, RC AVNEUE is coming out with a new song on May 12th titled “EVERGLOW” which you can pre-save here.
Listen to “CARELESS” by RC AVENUE on Spotify:
Check out RC AVENUE on Instagram: @rcavenue
JMIN is a Korean-American rapper based in Los Angeles. He made his debut to digital streaming platforms on September 22nd, 2018 with the song “Spaceship” which is one of his most popular songs with over 1.4 million streams. From 2018 to 2020, JMIN released a bunch of singles and all of them received over 300k streams.
On August 13th, 2021, JMIN officially debuted under H1GHR MUSIC with his debut EP Homecoming. This EP consists of 7 songs and has collaborations with artists such as; Jay Park, Mirani, CAMO and Park Hyeonjin. In fact, JMIN’s most popular song is “Dedication” which is a collaboration with Jay Park. This song currently has over 3 million streams.
Listen to “ANYMORE” by JMIN on Spotify:
Check out JMIN on Instagram: @jmindontleave
Cindy Zhang is an Asian-American classical violinist, producer and singer-songwriter. She also developed a love for jazz muisc when she was in an a cappella community studying under Kamau Kenyatta – a Grammy-winning producer. She made her debut to digital streaming platforms with the song “Moon River” – which is a collaboration with John Berkeley. “Moon River” is her most popular song with over 1 million streams. It also was a song that charted in Hong Kong within the year it came out.
She continued to release singles throughout 2020 which were then featured on her debut album Voice Memos which was released on October 16th. Furthermore, she released quite a few singles throughout 2021 and 2022. On November 11th, 2022, she released her second album Songs for Rainy Days which consists of 10 songs.
In 2023, she has released Songs for Rainy Days (Deluxe) which has 12 songs. Additionally, on April 28th, she released a single titled “Dream a Little Dream of Me” which is a collaboration with Jason LaPierre.
Listen to “Moon River” by Cindy Zhang and Josh Berkeley on Spotify:
Check out Cindy Zhang on Instagram: @cindyzhangmusic
Boyu is a Chinese-American singer & songwriter born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri and currently based in Los Angeles. His music is a mix of indie-pop and rap. He started playing classical piano and then began to play drums and guitar. Boyu debuted on April 16th, 2021 with his debut single “Flower Garden” – which is his most popular song with almost 1 million streams on Spotify. “Flower Garden” is actually how we discovered Boyu as it has been used in many vlogs on YouTube.
Boyu released a few more singles throughout 2021 and 2022. On November 10th, 2022, he released his debut album Flower Garden which consists of 12 songs. Our favourite song on the album is “Embers Of Our Innocence”.
Listen to “Embers Of Our Innocence” by Boyu on Spotify:
Check out Boyu on Instagram: @boyumusic
Aleebi is a South Korean-American singer, songwriter and producer based in California. He debuted under Aleebi Music on August 21st, 2017 with the single “Nandemonaiya”. His next single “Paralyzed” was released on November 26th, 2019. During 2020, he started to release a lot more music. On May 13th, 2020, he released the single “caffeine and dopamine, Pt. 2” – which is a collaboration with keepitinside. This song is also one of his most popular songs with over 1 million streams on Spotify.
Throughout the years, Aleebi has released a lot of singles and each of them all have a different sound and it’s a process of his musical growth. We first heard about Aleebi after his song “Party Tonight” with Lydia Ganada started to gain traction. This is his most popular song with over 3.6 million streams on Spotify. Around late 2022, Aleebi became affiliated with EXPOSITION and started working with other artists under that collective. The most notable collaboration of his with other EXPOSITION artists is “flyaway” with juhye, melatonin boy, siopaolo and Nomichit.
Starting 2023 off, Aleebi released “Tryna Figure Out” on January 13th with J Ho and JNYBeatz. Followed by that song, he also did a collaboration with SeoulFly on January 27th for the song “LONELY” – which is one of our favourite collaborations and recently got an accompanying music video for it.
On March 25th, Aleebi opened for GEMINI’s Still Blue North American Tour in San Francisco. On April 14th, he collaborated with nickwuh and nothenri on the single “summer”. As well, he released “medication” on April 28th. This song is a collaboration with JNYBeatz and AidEn.
Yesterday, hyejin’s song “I’VE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE Pt. 2” released and Aleebi was featured on the song alongside kasper. Additionally, later this month Koven Wei is coming out with the song “LIPSTICK” which is also in collaboration with Aleebi, so make sure to pre-save that song here.
Listen to “medication” by Aleebi, JNYBeatz and AidEn on Spotify:
Check out aleebi on Instagram: @aleebi
Rocco is a Filipino-American singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, United States. Rocco started off making TikTok videos and during the COVID-19 pandemic is when he started to develop his identity as a musician. He made his official debut on March 7th, 2020 with his single “Soda”. Throughout the rest of 2020, he continued to release more singles and also grew his TikTok.
On January 29th, 2021, he released the single “Clouds” which garnered a lot of attention and is currently a song that has over 2.5 million streams on Spotify. It’s also the first song we ever listened to of Rocco’s.
On July 27th, 2022, he released the single “spin you round” which is currently sitting at 13.8 million Spotify streams. After the release of this song, Rocco started to gain even more attention and a lot of his songs after this release have over 1 million streams.
On January 11th, 2023, Rocco released the song “l-o-v-e” which is one of our favourite songs. He also released the song “Apples” and “Have Me Again – demo” in March. Now, although Rocco has over 1 million monthly listeners, there are still a lot of people who haven’t listened to him before – which is why we decided to include him in this blog. As well, we just love his musical style and vocals.
Listen to “l-o-v-e” by Rocco on Spotify:
Check out Rocco on Instagram: @roccoyellow
nicole han is an independent pop singer and songwriter from Orange County, California. She made her debut to digital streaming platforms on September 17th, 2021 with the single “aftertaste”. In June 2022, she released her single “how dare you” – which is her most popular song of over 700K streams on Spotify. Followed by that song, she released “BLUSH!” on August 12th, 2022. This is our favourite song of hers and her second most popular song with over 300K streams.
On February 3rd of this year, she released her single “people grow apart, people let me down” followed by “NERVE” on March 10th. Both of these songs were pre-release tracks for her debut EP so it goes… which came out on March 24th. Besides those two songs, her EP also features BLUSH! and 3 other songs.
nicole han has just over 130K monthly listeners on Spotify and we are very excited to see how much she grows within this year.
Listen to “BLUSH!” by nicole han on Spotify:
Check out nicole han on Instagram: @nic0lehan
Monét Ngo is a Vietnamese-American singer-songwriter who debuted on March 16th, 2022 with the single “Lonestar”. This song is a blend of indie rock, pop punk and R&B melodies. On May 4th, 2022, he released the single “Ruby Sparks” – which is our favourite song. This song is also his most popular song with over 5.9 million streams on Spotify.
For 2023, Monét has not released any songs yet, but we hope to hear more music from him and follow along with his musical journey and growth.
Listen to “Ruby Sparks” by Monét Ngo on Spotify:
Check out Monét Ngo on Instagram: @monetngo
Ashley Mehta is a pop Filipino-Indian-American singer-songwriter from the Bay area. She made her debut to digital streaming platforms on December 14th, 2017 with the single “Feelings for U”. Ashley released quite a few singles throughout the years and really started gaining attention after March 13th, 2020 when she released the single “Don’t Know You” in collaboration with Over Easy and Gabe Ceribelli. This song is her most popular song with over 6.2 million streams on Spotify alone.
Our personal favourite song of Ashley’s is her single “Weekend” which was released on September 16th, 2022. On November 18th, 2022, Ashley released her EP Trust which consists of 6 songs. This EP includes her single “When I Ride” which is her second most popular song with over 1.7 million streams.
So far for 2023, Ashley released one single on March 3rd titled “I Wish I Didn’t Love You”.
Listen to “Weekend” by Ashley Mehta on Spotify:
Check out Ashley Mehta on Instagram: @ashleymehtaofficial
You can find all 10 songs mentioned in this article on our Spotify playlist below: