MUSIC: Who deserves the fame? Ivy Wong
SYLP student

Everybody has a dream, whether we are young or old. For some, it is to become a professional sports player. Others may want to become a teacher. Some might want to be a therapist.

Today, inspiring Asian musicians who dream of achieving global fame like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber wonder why Asians have difficulties entering the United States and global music industry, especially since famous Asian artists themselves have been unable to break into the industry successfully. Many Asian artists are only famous in Asia. Is it impossible for Asians to achieve that level of success outside of their own race?

Critically acclaimed Taiwanese singer Jay Chou has achieved notable recognition for his music in countries such as Japan, India, Singapore, and Vietnam since he first began his career. He has sold millions of copies of his albums and has won numerous awards. Yet, little of his accomplishments have been heard of outside Asia and communities with large Asian populations.

One reason is the lack of communication between artists and potential international fans. What is considered American mainstream music is different compared to Asia. With little interaction between the Asian music scene and the American music industry, many artists have faced limited success in trying to achieve huge breakthroughs.

Singers face difficulties in trying to spread their music outside their home country and neighboring countries. Additional challenges and risks appear when artists try to promote overseas.

But the rapid development of technology has begun to bridge that gap. YouTube and other media sites are helping Asian musicians expand into the American and global music market. Posting their work through music videos on video sharing and social networking sites is helping artists reach new audiences that they normally would have difficulties obtaining, such as the Americas and Europe. Popular Asian bands and singers such as BOA, Hikaru Utada, and the Wonder Girls have managed to promote their music outside of their home countries and Asia. A few have even managed to hold concerts and tours in the United States as well.

Taeyang, a South Korean singer/dancer and member of the boy band Big Bang, amazed the music industry with the release of Solar, his first solo album. Though having done no overseas promotions and the initial release of the album was aimed at South Korean and Japanese fans, he managed to reach, in iTunes’ R&B sales,  No. 2 in the United States and No. 1 in Canada.

No Asian musician before has managed to achieve this success. He managed to obtain this recognition thanks to digital promotions on sites such as YouTube.

Is it impossible for Asians to achieve that level of success outside of their own country? No, it is not. The explosion of media is helping Asians reach for what they once believed to be impossible. Anything is possible as long as one has the passion. ♦

Editor’s note: Northwest Asian Weekly was unable to verify all the facts stated in this article. The ideas here do not necessarily represent our stance.

3 Responses to “MUSIC: Who deserves the fame?”

  1. B88 says:

    I think Americans still see Asian people as a bit robotic as in not having enough style, soul or ‘swag’ if you will. No matter how good of a performance they give, people will feel like its calculated or fake and not the artists true self. I also think its tough to break into the US because its such a large, diverse country. Music varies from north to south, east to west. Artists can be huge in one region of the US and be unheard of in another. I still think times will change as east and west become one. I am a fan of some Asian artists, especially Taeyang. I was excited to know he was in NYC and so close to me. I hope Asian artists become more accepted here. (Black male in my 20s.)

  2. Ronzalpha says:

    Well, two somewhat successful ones include the Far East Movement and Wongfu Productions. But I agree, there’s a much better chance of people becoming popular overseas. Look at Utada Hikaru and Crystal Liu Yifei for example. They both grew up in my city, NYC, and won the hearts of many at Asia. If you look at some TVB Drama artists – even some of them came from the Americas (E.G. Linda Cheung).

    Personally, my personal explanation for this is that asians like foreign products. We love Sony, we love Samsung, we love kdrama, etc. I guess it’s just in our spirit to “explore” new worlds – culturally.

  3. Now just for the record, alot will depend on the genre of music and how appealing the Artists looks. The American public is very strange when it comes to music.
    Imagine if you will an Asian vocalist singing a famous country hit or rock song,and I mean the were great in their performance, They could win the competition and still do dismal as an country or rock artists, simply because they are not your typical looking country or rock artist, if you feel what I’m sayin without me directly saying the “R” word.
    It’s just a funny world we live in, even though music is the human glue fabric that truly holds us together.
    Who am I? The “Silver Conductor” on facebook and:
    Remember:”Always know who loves you”
    The “Silver Conductor”


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