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My Favorite Asian Music Artists You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

a.k.a. Esther Totally Geeking Out About J-Pop, K-Pop, and other Asian music. Because honestly this post is just an excuse to share some of my favorite artists with y’all, since I need more people to fan-girl (or boy) with more often. 🙂

My first introduction to J-Pop came from anime soundtracks, and I really wanted to know why Japan’s animated series had such better music than say, your typical Saturday morning cartoon in the USA. So I started googling titles and band names from shows I loved…. and then… well… it turns out they were using their actual mainstream musicians to provide the soundtrack for many of the shows I loved, and I was just blown away.  I’m pretty sure in the US, most of the time cartoons get the same guy that does the soda-pop jingle, or someone you handed $50 bucks and then dragged in off the street at random.

And when I find music I love, I really like to know more about where it comes from, and other things that artist is doing. So here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorite Asian musicians, with songs that you should absolutely listen to.

FT Island –

A K-POP/J-POP band with a huge range of versatility, and the lead singer, Lee Hong Gi, has an amazing, sometimes operatic, voice.  They have the added bonus of appearing in several k-drama series that I like, so the whole Korean singer/actor gig really works out for them.  They’re also very popular in Japan and often release japanese-language songs before releasing their work in Korea.

WIND  Music video




Hanggai  –

This is a group of traditional Mongolian musicians who usually play a mix of acoustic and electric instruments. They have occasionally gone on music contest shows to ABSOLUTELY CONQUER EVERYTHING…. You couldn’t have paid me to go on stage next. LOL.

HAMTLAG – from the Chinese contest show “Sing My Song.”




Akino Arai –

She has such a haunting, beautiful voice. I’ve loved ever song I’ve ever found of hers, but it’s hard to find her music in the US.  She’s best known in the US for singing the ending theme for the anime version of Outlaw Star, which was part of Cartoon Network’s Midnight Swim back in 2001. And now I feel old. lol.





Trouble Maker –

Trouble Maker is a collaboration project between Hyuna and Hyungseung, who are both established K-pop stars in their own right. It’s also the name of the title track I’m linking below. I’m putting them in here, because every time I hear this song, it totally gets stuck in my head for days. It’s a absolute ear-worm. You’ve been warned.



f(x) and Anna Kendrick

And just because I can, and this video actually exists, I leave you with the K-pop girl group, f(x) and Anna Kendrick. This is a parody video inspired by Pitch Perfect’s fame (for the site FunnyorDie.com) in 2013. While I’m not actually a big fan of the song featured in the video, I am a big fan of Anna Kendrick and f(x)’s Amber.


Anyway, I hope a few of you out there enjoy these musicians as much as I do!


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