Guest Post: Dawen Wang And 5 Asian American Artists' Songs He's Listening To Right Now

Monday, July 13, 2009

By Dawen Wang

We, Asian Americans, are a diverse bunch. For that reason, Asian American music is as eclectic and hard to categorize as we are. The following artists and songs are just a slice of what I've been listening to at the moment. I've been fortunate enough to play with many of these musicians and they represent the thriving Asian American music scene. Running from alt-rock hip hop to experimental pop electronica this selection also serves as a celebration of our musical diversity.

1. After School Special: "Not One for Words"

I had the pleasure of playing a show with these guys in February at UCLA. This alt-rock, hip hop group from San Diego has just finished their EP "Not One for Words," available on iTunes and I'm diggin' their music video of the single "Not One For Words":

2. Sue Jin: "Made of Sand"

First time I caught Sue Jin playing a set I was blown away by her powerful vocals and charismatic performance. She puts on some of the most engaging shows with her old school soul and r&b. Armed with just a piano and a mic Sue Jin is one formidable singer-songwriter. Currently listening to her new track, a duet: "Made of Sand:"

3. Connie Lim and the Forrest Philosophy: "Now"

I've caught a few of her live shows now, each one better than the last. If you want to see great musicianship and synergy between a singer songwriter, her band, and her audience, go check out Connie Lim and the Forrest Philosophy. There's a bit of funk, some r&b and a lot of great pop thrown into their sound. "Caged Bird" is my personal favorite. Can't wait for them to record it. Until then I leave you with the aptly titled "Now":

4. Scott Tang: "Message 38"

What do you get when you combine catchy hooks with lo-fi? You get Scott Tang's new album "T-Shirts for Tourists!" Scott's new album is a creative blend of experimental electronica fused with the best of pop sensibilites. The distortion on the entire album lends an aesthetic that is at once nostalgic and new. "The Visitor" is a personal favorite. I first met Scott on the movie set of the yet to be released "The Wedding Palace". We were both extras. I was thrilled to learn that he was a fellow singer-songwriter:

5. Alfa: "Isabelle"

I got a chance to play a show with Alfa during the LA leg of her West Coast tour. With her new album "Second Skin," Alfa has been playing shows all over the country, recently performing in an All-Star performance of "Closer" for Kollaboration New York. A guitarist and pianist, Alfa sings and plays in the best tradition of singer songwriters, equally comfortable in French chanson as she is in pop:

Dawen is a soul r&b singer-songwriter and producer from Los Angeles. His first full length album "American Me" is coming out in summer 2009. He is also the producer of "Declare INDIEpendence," an annual Asian American concert in Chicago. His music video "Wake Up" was recently screened at the 14th Chicago Asian American Showcase. Watch the video here:

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