9 East and South East Asian musicians worth checking out now

As hand-selected by the co-founder of the UK’s ESEA Music community.

As well as working with artists such as Yaeji and Rina Sawayama, Tiger Hagino Reid is the co-founder of ESEA Music – a community for the UK’s East and Southeast Asian music industry. In September, ESEA Music published the (Re)Orientated survey on representation in the industry. You can read the report here.

Merry Lamb Lamb

Reminiscent of early Grimes, Yaeji and SASSY009, Merry Merry Lambs music is a fusion of late-night dancefloor beats and evocative, ethereal melodies. Her tracks are trilingual – transitioning effortlessly between three tongues, with each language revealing a different facet of her personality: calmness in English, directness in Cantonese and poetic nuances in Mandarin.

mui zyu

As mui zyu, British Hong Kong artist Eva Liu navigates the tricky territory of ever-changing identity, merging fantasy and folklore to create space for self-acceptance and deliverance. On her debut solo album, Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century, mui zyu explores her heritage and grapples with otherness with knotty electro-pop that’s shot through with field recordings and traditional Chinese instruments.

Jason Kwan

Jason Kwan is an independent pop artist based in East London. Originally from Hong Kong, Kwan is a powerful voice in the LGBTQ+ and Asian communities. His music champions queer Asian experiences, placing underrepresented narratives at the forefront of his work.

Cathy Jain

Salford-born singer, songwriter and producer Cathy Jain makes dreamy alt-pop that draws from her Chinese heritage, a love of alternative R&B and the lyrical dexterity of Phoebe Bridgers.

Esme Emerson

This British-Chinese sibling duo have carved out a style of indie-pop that’s characterised by gentle melodies and a careful balance of electronic and organic elements. In tandem, they create an intimate sound and an enchanting world.

Cherif Hashizume

Cherif Hashizume is a producer and songwriter who’s also worked as the lead engineer and co-conspirator to renowned electronic artist Jon Hopkins for the last 10 years. Hashizume’s own work spans mediums, space and format. His music ranges from concise pop structures to the more ethereal and obscure, but one thing remains consistent across his work: Hashizume is an innovator bound only by his own extensive imagination.

Hilang Child

Hilang Child is the musical alias of British-Indonesian singer, songwriter and drummer Ed Riman, who’s renowned for rich textural arrangements, anthemic pop hooks and soaring vocals. His new single Picture Hanging, released via his own label Left Hand Side, breaks away from the understated tones fans heard in earlier Hilang Child releases, with pounding drums, upbeat hooks and anthemic energy at the forefront.

Lucinda Chua

London-born artist Lucinda Chua creates elemental soundscapes that hold delicate songs. The season cellist produced and engineered eight of the ten tracks on her debut solo album YIAN, which was released this year via 4AD. YIAN emerges as less an album than a worldview – a commitment to learning and uncovering selfhood, honed over Chua’s lifelong reconciliation with her own personal history and identity.

Natty Wylah

Son of the late Hong Kong-born British painter, teacher and writer Rosa Lee, Natty Wylah grew up in a world of consistent radio ambiance, Keith Jarrett journeyings, punk rock overtones and heavy Upsetter undulations (courtesy of his dad’s reggae enthusiasm). Inspired by the flowering London grime scene and American, 90s-era rap, he started writing his own raps at the age of 14. His recent debut EP Willowsip is inspired by Jamaican artist John Dunkley’s paintings, which are portals into the mossy, dark landscape that encapsulate the folkloric world of Will-‘o‑the-wisp.

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