25 Asian American K-Pop Artists We’re Listening To This APA Heritage Month
Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM)! Made official in 1992, APAHM is a time for celebrating the history, contributions, achievements, etc. of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in the United States.
Although K-pop artists spend most of their time in Korea, quite a few of them actually have roots in the United States, so it only seems fair to include them in the celebrations too. Please note that whether an artist is listed here or not, we are definitely celebrating all APA K-pop artists this month and are incredibly proud of each and every one of them for going after their dreams.
Mark Tuan (GOT7)
Mark hails from good ol’ Los Angeles, and though I personally am not very familiar with him, it’s easy to tell that he has a lot of charm. While watching the video for “OMW,” I couldn’t tell if I was more mesmerized by the beautiful light effects or Mark himself.
John Park was born and raised in Chicago. He was the runner-up of “Superstar K2,” and you might also remember him from “American Idol” back in 2010. The only complaint I have about him and his beautiful, rich voice is that he hasn’t released a full length album since 2013. The world needs more John Park!
An Atlanta native, Eric Nam is arguably one of the best things to ever come out of Georgia. Like, would you rather have Coca-Cola or Eric Nam? (Luckily, we can have both!) Also, please look up his Kpop Music Monday appearance (for “Ooh Ooh”) on YouTube right now. I promise you won’t regret it.
Whether you’re looking for a song you can groove to, an emotional acoustic track, or something in-between, Sam Kim’s the man for the job. Born and raised in Washington, he makes music that’s perfect for both winding down at night and just chilling on a lazy afternoon.
Amber Liu (f(x))
Amber is a Los Angeles native who has quite the personality (in a good way, of course!). You can watch her YouTube videos to get an idea of what I mean. Bikini bodybuilding poses? Spicy ramen mukbang? I imagine there’s never a dull moment with her around. Plus, the girl can sing.
pH-1 spent his early years in Korea but later moved to New York, working as a web developer after college. Thankfully, his passion for music won out in the end, because he makes some excellent music. Be sure to watch this great interview he did a couple years ago (especially 5:59!). Give his latest album, “HALO,” lots of love too, please!
People aren’t joking when they call Ailee the Korean Beyonce. Born in Colorado and raised in New Jersey, Ailee’s powerful vocals and commanding stage presence make her a true Korean-American K-pop queen.
Born and raised in California, Kevin is probably best known for being a former member of U-KISS. While he’ll always be missed as a U-KISS member, I wish him much success as a solo artist! I’m sure he’s going to create a lot of great music yet. Also, his cover of “Always Remember Us This Way” is perfection.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Peniel is full of creativity, producing his own vlogs and even serving as the photographer for bandmate Changsub’s solo album “bpm 82.5.” He’s also quite the dancer. Oh, and don’t forget to check out his latest digital single, “B.O.D”!
Corbyn, whom you might know better as Cory from his time as the leader of 24K, was born in Korea but grew up in Portland, Oregon. He’s an executive producer of 28 Laboratory Music and is making music that is hotter than ever these days.
James is a former member of Royal Pirates and hails from Los Angeles. Currently, he’s focusing on his solo career, and he actually just released a new song, “MAD,” which you should listen to right now because it’s great. Really, give it a watch below!
A Seattle native, idol-turned-dank-bossman Jay Park is one versatile guy. One minute he’ll release a dope hip hop track. Then he’ll drop a smooth R&B jam. The guy can even b-boy! And let’s not forget that he founded AOMG and H1GHR Music. Keep up the great work, Jay.
Hailing from San Francisco, Krystal definitely makes it feel like it’s going to be a hot summer. Also, if you’re a Krystal stan, then you’ll likely know what I mean when I say “bbuing bbuing,” and if you haven’t seen the rest of “High Kick 3,” then you need to because the sass is real.
Jessi is a badass if I ever saw one, unafraid to speak her mind and tell people what’s up. Hailing from the New York-New Jersey area, Jessi has a level of swag that just about anyone would be envious of, and she can write some killer bars. In summary, she’s a total queen.
Like many others included here, Samuel comes from California. Formerly of the hip-hop duo 1Punch, Samuel kicked off his solo career after proving his talent in “Produce 101 Season 2,” where he was an international favorite. Can you believe he was born after 2000?
Jae was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina but moved to California as a child. I know I said that Amber has quite the personality, but Jae takes things to the next level. Don’t mistake him for just a goofy guy, though; your boy’s got a cool side too, along with a lovely voice.
Anyone who likes dogs has my stamp of approval, so Aron gets points from me for that alone. The Los Angeles native also gets points for his great solo songs. (Does anyone else wish there were a music video for “WI-FI”?)
Euna Kim (KHAN)
You probably know Euna Kim from the third season of “Unpretty Rapstar,” or you may know her from her former group, The Ark. Did you know that she’s from New York City though? Check out this article to learn a little more about her journey up until now, and may she have much success with her current duo moving forward!
Born and raised in California, Tiffany is once again based in her home state as she pursues a solo career in the United States. Whether she’s working with Girls’ Generation in Korea or doing her own thing in the States, you can always count on Tiffany to show up looking fabulous.
Hailing from Chicago, Johnny is the type who can look oh-so-suave on stage and then go and imitate a singing parrot while on “Weekly Idol.” I’m still learning about Johnny, to be honest, but I already like his balance of seriousness and playfulness on camera. If you too want to get to know him better, then check out Johnny’s Communication Center on YouTube.
A former member of Girls’ Generation, Jessica is from San Francisco and, in case you didn’t know, is the older sister of Krystal from f(x). Aside from working on her solo career, your girl is also out here running her own business, so props to her.
It’s easy to tell why Kevin Oh, a New York native, won “Superstar K7.” He has an absolutely gorgeous voice. (BRB, adding all of his songs to my nighttime playlist.) He’s also very candid and seemingly down-to-earth. Looking forward to hearing more music from him!
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Joshua’s radiant eye smile alone might make you a fan if you aren’t already. If not that, then perhaps his singing and guitar skills will. At a minimum, I think we can all agree that he has talent. So he’s got my support!
Yet another Los Angeles native, BM’s kind of got the whole package deal going on: He can rap flawlessly, dance effortlessly, and sing beautifully. In K-pop terms, he’s a triple threat, which means you’d better make sure he’s on your radar.
Benji was born in Indiana but grew up in Seattle, and boy does he have some musical talent. Singing and rapping aside, he’s apparently quite the accomplished violinist, having studied violin for over 10 years. I can only hope that no matter where he is, he will continue to awe us with his violin skills.
Help us continue the celebration by letting us know who your favorite APA K-pop artists are below!
seheee is a software engineer by day and an avid K-pop concert-goer by night. You can find her on Twitter @_seheee.