JoySauce Radio: AA+PI Artists to Have on Repeat This Month

Take a listen to some up-and-coming Asian musicians!

Words by Anjana Pawa

JoySauce Radio: Consider JoySauce Radio our own personal song recommendations—from the tunes and videos our writers love to DJ-produced mixes of dance floor bangers—all from Asian and Pacific Islander artists around the world. 

With the Asian music scene growing across the globe and many new artists entering the mainstream, we’re seeing more musicians of Asian descent expand across genres, filling the spaces we haven’t historically seen in the past. Whether it’s an artist from the Asian diaspora, a new K-pop or C-pop release, or the latest Bollywood banger, it can get overwhelming to try to keep up with everything that’s being released, so we’ve put together a list of new songs by Asian artists that you’ll want to add to your playlist and keep your eyes and ears out for.

“Walk” by Griff

British singer-songwriter and producer Griff is really making her mark on the pop world. Born Sarah Faith Griffins, the Black Chinese 22-year-old performer has opened up for legends like Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, and Dua Lipa, playing in front of crowds of tens of thousands of people across the world in massive stadiums. The young starlet pens her own songs and has a studio in her London home where she is very involved with the production of the songs she puts out.

“Glue Song” by Beabadoobee

Young singer-songwriters are the future of the Asian diaspora music scene. Beatrice Kristi Ilejay Laus, who now goes by the musical moniker beabadoobee, is a Filipino British singer-songwriter who’s taking the world by storm. She’s supported The 1975 on tour and is currently opening for Taylor Swift on her Eras Tour. “Glue Song” was wildly popular on TikTok, going viral very quickly, and on Valentine’s Day this year the singer released it on all platforms officially.

“Momentary Sweetheart” by Deb Never

Deb Never is one of the artists really carving out a path for those Asian musicians who want to experiment with rock sounds. The Korean American performer has never shied away from the sounds she grew up listening to and what she most relates to, incorporating them into her own songs, even if they’re not what the general public expects from her. This song is honest and rugged and songs like this are where she shines the brightest.

“To Remain/To Return” by Arooj Aftab

Arooj Aftab is somewhat of a visionary. She uses various elements of music she listened to growing up but also brings in pieces of her surroundings that she heard growing up in Lahore, Pakistan. She blends sufi, classical, and ghazal elements into her music, making it sound familiar to the South Asian listener. The Grammy-winning Pakistani vocalist’s songs sound spiritual, almost bringing you to a different realm when you listen to it. “To Remain/To Return” is a perfect example of the meditative state she invokes with her songs.

“Sushi Song” by When Chai Met Toast 

This indie-folk band has a fun and evolutionary story. They originally started off as a group of two members who met at a music café. They were making music in different genres, also working on other projects simultaneously, when they encountered two other members that brought a new flair to the group. Their sound has always evolved and changed as each of the members has over time. They cemented their status as a band in a cafe in the coastal town of Kochi, India almost 10 years ago and now still make music in multiple languages. They named themselves after the distinct South Asian and Western influences in their music, marking an interesting mix of two foods that are a diaspora staple: dunking your morning breakfast toast into your chai. That’s how they make their music too, mixing the sounds of what they know from their South Asian upbringing in the Western world. “Sushi Song” is their latest release and blends these elements together beautifully in lyric and melody.

Published on May 24, 2023

Words by Anjana Pawa

Anjana Pawa is a Brooklyn-based culture reporter who regularly covers music, entertainment and beauty. You can find her on Twitter at @apawawrites.