We all love music, but not every singer gets her opportunity to shine. And, despite access to the Internet and thus a potentially huge audience, there are loads of quality Asian female singers that never get the recognition that they deserve.
Well, today we rectify that, as I present you with fifteen awesome singers of Asian descent that are worth your attention and respect.
Asian Female Singers You’ll Absolutely Love
Let’s begin the very talented Yuna.
I tried thinking back to when I first personally discovered Yuna, and I couldn’t quite place it. I believe it was somewhere around her self-titled album in 2012, as I remember being very impressed with her song “Favourite Thing.”
Since then, I’ve had a nice, comfortable seat onboard the Yuna Express, which rewarded my steady patience and patronage with my favorite album of hers to date: Chapters.
Yuna is a singer from Malaysia who is leaving a nice imprint in the R&B/Soul scene. You know you’ve paid your dues in the modern music scene when your roots date all the way back to Myspace, and that’s certainly the case with Yuna.
With an incredible voice and equally great lyrics to match, Yuna is here to stay. But don’t worry—I saved you a seat on the Express.
- My favorite track: Too Close
Born in 1990 to a Japanese mother and an American father, Mitski is asinger who started her singing career in 2012, when she decided to study music composition at Purchase College in New York. Her music is popular in the indie scene, and a few of her songs, such as Nobody and Washing Machine Heart have garnered some fame on TikTok.
Her voice stands out for its breathy, emotional quality. You could recognize her sound anywhere– it’s just so unique. It may not be for everyone, but you really have to appreciate the effort she puts into her self-composed songs and the feeling she puts into the lyrics.
Angela Chang (a.k.a. Angela Zhang, or Zhang Shaohan)
Originally from Taiwan, Angela Chang started her career as an actress before delving into singing. She has a powerful singing voice that truly stands out for its versatility–she sings anything from Mandopop to more OST-style songs. Her voice is soft and smooth, and she hits every high note with grace—there’s no straining of her vocal cords going on here at all.
Angela has been singing since her debut album Over the Rainbow was released in 2004. She is still very much active and has been releasing music recently.
Lara Liang (a.k.a. Lara Veronin)
Lara Liang is a singer-songwriter born in the United States to a Taiwanese mother and a Russian American father. She was discovered by Jay Chou, an extremely famous Mandopop singer, in 2005.
You can listen to their duet, Coral Sea, here. Their voices blend together beautifully. She has since released numerous albums of her own, most recently in 2021, and has also done some voice acting – she was the voice of Rapunzel in the Mandarin version of Tangled!
Singer-songwriter Hayley Kiyoko, affectionately known as Lesbian Jesus by her fans, is an Asian American pop singer. She is perhaps most known for her single Girls Like Girls, released in 2015. She talks more about the song in this interview.
Hayley’s bright, elegant voice is well-suited for the electro-pop genre. What will always stand out about Hayley, however, is her willingness to express herself and her sexuality in her music. In fact her most recent release, she takes on the role of the bachelor in a parody of the show of the same name.
Luna Li is a Korean Canadian singer-songwriter who sticks mainly to the bedroom pop genre. She has been active since 2015, when she started her rock band called Veins, but truly rose to fame in 2020 shortly after the pandemic first hit.
In this interview, she talks more about her story and her inspirations for the alter ego that she created for music, as her real name is actually Hannah Bussiere Kim.
Her music style is pretty unique, and her voice has an almost seductive, somewhat nonchalant quality to it that somehow just works really well. Her sound really stands out in her 2021 release Cherry Pit. The song is a sort of combination of rock and lo-fi beats—and it works really well. Luna’s vocals sound raw and unfiltered, but also sort of dreamy. Definitely worth checking out this artist!
Yaeji is a self-produced Korean American singer-songwriter who sings in both Korean and English. Her music tends to combine a chill, lo-fi beats sound with a more EDM bass and beat, which is really cool!
Her voice is pretty unique, too, as it has sort of a nasal yet child-like quality to it. Trust me, it’s quite endearing. In fact, it gives her music a really interesting, surreal vibe that you wouldn’t really expect to find in western pop music.
Yaeji’s also able to both sing and rap. She’s definitely an all-round talent who truly deserves all the attention her music has been getting lately. Check out her relatively recent collaboration with OHHYUK, 29, here:
Born in 1996, Lee Hi is a Korean pop singer from Bucheon. She has been active since her debut in 2012 at the age of fifteen, when she competed on the show K-Pop Star and won second place. The first song that she released later that same year was the hit 1, 2, 3, 4.
She’s extremely talented, and her voice is just beautiful. Her vocals are strong, emotive, and really powerful. She’s able to sing in a variety of styles, from the more catchy, in-your-face songs from her debut era, to softer ballad-style tracks (like her 2016 release BREATHE). Lee Hi has also won countless awards and is truly deserving of all the praise she gets for her voice.
Jhené is a mixed-race American R&B singer from Los Angeles, California. She began her singing career through her work with the early-2000s boyband B2K.
Her clean, soprano voice is truly beautiful and really suits songs like None of Your Concern, released in 2019. In this song, she’s somehow able even to make swearing sound elegant!
Olivia Rodrigo’s name has been anywhere and everywhere ever since the release of her debut album Sour in 2021. Something that not many people know about her is that she’s actually Asian American, with her father hailing from The Philippines.
She’s most famous for breakup anthems like brutal and good 4 u, but I think that her voice truly stands out in the emotional ballad hope ur ok. Many people know her for the more pop-rock shouting style songs on her album, but hope ur ok really highlights the quiet beauty of her voice.
Olivia is truly able to make you feel everything that she’s feeling in this song, and I think that it partially comes from the more sing-talk quality of her vocals. It really feels like she’s telling you a story.
You can read more about the song and see a brief analysis of its meaning here.
Ella Jay Basco
You probably know her from her role as Cassandra in Birds of Prey (2020), but Ella has also had success in the music industry! She’s only fifteen years old, but she has already released a decent amount of music.
Most recently, she released a song called Bubble Tea – a summer song intended for young Asian teens to enjoy. Ella’s songs sound sort of unrefined, but that actually works in her favor. It makes the songs seem more genuine, and also a bit relaxed.
Overall, her voice is soft and sweet—a true joy to listen to. Listening to Ella’s music will instantly put you in a good mood.
Self-produced and known for her lo-fi, bedroom pop sound, mxmtoon (Maia) is a Chinese American singer-songwriter from Oakland, California. She has been writing songs since she was thirteen years old, and found success after a collaboration with another producer on the song Falling for U.
Mxmtoon’s vocals are pleasant and clear. Her voice could really suit any genre because of the clean quality of her sound, but her producing skills have allowed her to create music that really lets her voice shine.
More recently, she released her album, rising, and has been on tour for quite some time with plans for more shows in the UK, Europe, and Australia this October. And if you played “Life Is Strange: True Colors,” then you’ve definitely heard her before, as she provided the singing voice for Alex Chen when she sang Radiohead’s “Creep” inside Gabe’s apartment.
Lead singer (and songwriter) for the band Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner is a Korean American who grew up in Eugene, Oregon. What’s really cool about her is that she is also an author and a director, most known for her book Crying in H Mart.
Her smooth, indie rock voice really stands out in all of her band’s songs, but especially in releases like Boyish and The Body is a Blade. Her voice is sort of breathy, but it gives all her songs a dreamlike quality. When you listen to her music, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a whole other world. Japanese Breakfast is definitely a lovely breath of fresh air!
Bibi, or Kim Hyung-seo, is a Korean singer born in Ulsan, South Korea. Her music style is sort of all over the place – from rap to R&B and ballads, she can really sing anything! She also writes her own lyrics a lot of the time.
Her songs stand out because she really pushes the boundaries of what is socially acceptable to talk about in Korean culture. Her voice can sound a little heavy on the autotune and perhaps a little too nasal for some, but that doesn’t make it bad. Even if you don’t necessarily enjoy her voice, her music really is a breath of fresh air that deserves to be appreciated.
Check out her surprisingly sex-positive song cigarette and condom here. She also has a really adorable collab with K-pop idol Yena called Smiley, which you can listen to here:
Lexie Liu is a 23-year-old singer and rapper originally from Changsha, China. She writes her own songs and also plays piano – most of her music is in the hip-hop genre, but she also sings R&B. She sings in both Chinese and English, and most of her music videos have subtitles in both languages.
Her voice can be anything from soft to childish to sultry, and she definitely which really shows off her vocal range. It makes her music truly unique—you never know what to expect with her songs!
Her most recent release, Carousel Mauve, is a really cool piece that stands out because of the narration-based lyrics and the emotion in her voice as she tells the story. Lexie’s music is definitely something you won’t want to miss out on!
Many of the singers on this list are also producers and songwriters who put so much effort into both the singing and writing aspects of making music. There are so many skilled Asian female singers out there in the world who deserve way more fame and recognition than they are getting – and this is by no means a comprehensive list!
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This article was written by Ayla, with one select addition by Michael (Yuna).