Every year, the world welcomes new singers and musicians who go on to make inroads in the music industry. If you are looking to support some Asian LGBTQ+ artistes, here are our top picks. Some of them are not super new in the scene, but they are definitely watching – and listening to – in 2021.
If you are a fan of K-pop, you won’t want to miss this pop idol, Holland who has been described as South Korea’s only openly gay artist. A relatively newcomer on the K-pop scene, Holland’s music is cutesy and moody at the same time – a perfect description of our optimism coming out of 2020 and into the new year.
You won’t be using this band’s name if you have heard them before. Meaning “Shhh.. Shut Up” in a local vernacular, the Malaysian band’s name is perhaps a nod to the country’s discreet but growing LGBTQ+ scene. Describing themselves as “queer-core”, the band also plays at various live shows around the country.
He once sang for Oprah Winfrey and even appeared on the hit American show, Glee. But you may be forgiven if you don’t know the name. When Jake Zyrus first hit the pop scene, he was better known by his birth name, Charice Pempengco.
He left the music scene but re-appeared around 2017 as a transgender man under the name Jake Zyrus. In an interview, he said: “I am always thankful for the life of Charice that I experienced and the music that I shared, but that obviously belongs to her, it’s not for me. I’m letting her go and be free.”
Judging by this song, whose music video he also directed, he’s still got it.
Coming out is hard enough as it is – how much more so it must have been for Kai Mata, a young Indonesian artiste. Her music very much reflects her own experiences as an LGBTQ+ singer, including this hit ‘So Hard’, a frank and unapologetic song to heterosexuals about being gay.
Despite his young age, this 24-year-old Malaysian singer is already making his mark in the world. Not only has he played in various festivals around Asia, he’s also opened for international stars like American singer Khalid. With tunes like ‘The Chase’, ‘Alive’, ‘Stoop So Low’ and ‘You’ feat Sam Rui, it’s no wonder we just can’t get enough of his music.
WRITTEN BY YEN FENG
Yen is the editor of asia.gay.
You can reach him at [email protected]