30 Asian artists to discover this Asian Heritage Month

30 Asian artists to discover this Asian Heritage Month

All throughout Asian Heritage Month, CBC Music has been asking Asian-Canadian musicians for their song recommendations. The seven artists we surveyed — Sook-Yin Lee, Cartel Madras, Tyler Shaw, Cutsleeve, Estyr, Gong Gong Gong and Justin Nozuka — gave us a wide range of music, highlighting just how broad and exciting the Asian diaspora is. (Their selections weren't limited to just Canadian artists.) From electronic to hip hop to pop, there is something for everyone, and likely some new discoveries for you. 

Scroll down to see some select artist and song recommendations (each artist we asked chose 3-5 tracks), and go to the bottom of the post for a full playlist. 


Sook-Yin Lee on Korea Town Acid: 

“Korea Town Acid is a producer, DJ, beatmaker, and classically trained pianist who was born in South Korea and is now based in Toronto. Her music inspires propulsive movement and I love that she constantly hones her studio chops, creates exceptional visuals, and pushes the electronic dance form.”

Cartel Madras on New Saint: 

“New Saint is an entertainer: he raps, he sings, and lately he's been showcasing his comedic abilities online, and we're here for it. He's always got something new he's working on, and strives to keep things fresh. New Saint's upcoming project is called Model Minority and is coming out later this year.”

Tyler Shaw on Eric Nam: 

“He has an incredible voice and is such an incredible artist.”

Cutsleeve on Hotel Pablo:

“They're a great local Toronto band that we've worked with plenty of times. The song 'Pocky' is about the commodification and fetishization of Asian foods in today's pop culture versus the shame felt when we brought it to school, and having 'weird foods,' hence the lyrics: 'Compared to Lunchables, how could rice be cool?' It also speaks to regrets after realizing that racism was internalized as a child and coming to terms with it in your culture as an adult.”

Estyr on Hiroki Tanaka: 

“He is an amazing storyteller and archival musician in that he excavates all these incredible things and his own experience, and shares them in the most heart-wrenching vocals and instrumentation that you can imagine.”

Gong Gong Gong on Mong Tong: 

“This excellent Taipei brother duo makes music that combines cinematic soundscapes with psychedelic rock and sound collage, taking UFO stories and Taiwanese mysticism as key inspirations. Everything this prolific band releases pretty much sounds amazing. Their remix for [Gong Gong Gong's upcoming release, Phantom Rhythm Remixed] is as warped and otherworldly as you'd expect.”

Justin Nozuka on Pantayo: 

“They are a group of Filipinas and they play some traditional southern Philippine instruments; the kulintang mixed with some modern day pop sensibility, synths and sounds. 'Heto Na,' is one that I'm gravitating to right now. It's just got a real power to it.”

Listen to the full playlist below: 

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