Jason Chen’s new single (and the rise of original AA music on Youtube)
Youtube has done miracles for Asian American talent. It shot Wong Fu to stardom when they released Yellow Fever. Years later they are still getting a million views for anything they put up. Far East Movement was noticed because “Girls on the Dance Floor” and “Like a G6” got millions of views. Soon enough, anyone from Freddiew to Michelle Pham to Ryan Higa became stars. A lot of these artists started working together and cross-promoted, doing big things like International Secret Agents. As Timothydelaghetto said in one of his videos (at around the 9 minute mark), the American media didn’t want to promote them, so they promoted themselves. And it’s working.
At UC Davis and a lot of other California schools, there were showcases of Asian American talent, usually focusing on music (though Wong Fu is a huge exception). The only problem was, most of these performances were cover songs. Each of these artists may have a number of fans in the audience, but that was also the problem. They came here to see their idol, not to hear the music. For someone like me, there is suddenly a dilemma between supporting the Asian American movement and respecting my own music preferences. I wasn’t just going to start paying money to see people perform songs that weren’t theirs.
It looks like things are starting to change for the better. It came to my attention today that Jason Chen, known for his polished and bubbly covers of pop songs, finally came out with his own song. I haven’t followed very closely, but I believe this is his first one and it is complete with a pretty well-shot music video. You can see it below.
At this point I realized that I’ve been seeing more of this. Not too long ago I learned that Sam Tsui also had a similar debut for his single (but for some reason this blog didn’t pop into my head). Wong Fu has kept busy shooting and promoting videos for David Choi’s “That Girl” and AJ Rafael’s “When We Say (Juicebox),” Dumbfoundead’s first originally-produced single that I know of, “Up in the Air,” came out last summer.
We’re starting to see more maturity because Asian American musicians are starting to realize that being a star in America is no longer impossible, just extremely difficult. With artists like Far East Movement leading the way, I don’t blame them for dreaming; they are making tremendous progress. Now I can support them because I like their music, not just because they’re Asian. Youtube gave them the opportunity to shine and sooner or later, the media will no longer be able to deny their presence.