Music

The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians 

Josh Gu
Updated October 30, 2019 179 votes 32 voters 1.2k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the Asian American Artists that have had the biggest impact on their musical genre.

Before Mitski, Dumbfoundead, and TOKiMONSTA there were Karen O and Steve Aoki. The higher demand for Asian American representation in all creative fields, seen perhaps most prominently in film, television, and music, has led to an increase in popularity for Asian American musicians and musical artists. 

TOKiMONSTA was nominated for the Best Electronic Album in 2019, and Dumbfoundead, along with his other 88rising cohorts, put on the second annual Head in the Clouds Music and Arts Festival at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in August 2019. 

Asian American artists are changing the game across every genre, from pop, to hip-hop, indie, and electronic, the best contemporary Asian American musicians have proven they are here to stay. 

1
Mitski is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians

Mitski Miyawaki is an American singer-songwriter. Mitski self-released her first two albums, Lush (2012) and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business (2013), while studying at Purchase College. After graduating, Mitski released her third studio album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014), followed by Puberty 2 (2016), and Be the Cowboy (2018).

2
Anderson .Paak is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Brandon Paak Anderson (born February 8, 1986), better known by his stage name Anderson Paak, is an American musician and record producer from Oxnard, California. He released his debut album, ...more
3
Toro y Moi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Toro y Moi
Chaz Bear (born Chazwick Bradley Bundick; November 7, 1986), known professionally as Toro y Moi, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and graphic designer. His music has taken on ...more
4
Karen O is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Karen Lee Orzolek (born November 22, 1978), is a South Korean-born American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. She is the lead vocalist for American rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
5
Japanese Breakfast is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast is the solo musical project of musician Michelle Zauner, who is of Korean descent. Under the alias Japanese Breakfast, Zauner has released two studio albums: Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017).

6
Bruno Mars is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), known professionally as Bruno Mars, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer. He is known for his stage ...more
7
Haley Henderickx is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Haley Henderickx

Haley Hannah Heynderickx is an American singer-songwriter of Filipino descent from Portland, Oregon. In 2016, she released her debut EP, Fish Eyes. Her first full-length album, I Need to Start a Garden, was released in March 2018 with Mama Bird Recording Company.

8
Jay Som is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Melina Mae Duterte (born March 25, 1994), better known by her stage name Jay Som, is an American, Los Angeles-based, DIY and bedroom-pop singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. ...more
9
Jay Park is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Jay Park (Korean name: Park Jae-beom (born April 25, 1987) is a Korean American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, choreographer, entrepreneur, actor, member of the ...more
10
Yo-Yo Ma is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Yo-Yo Ma (born October 7, 1955) is a Chinese-American cellist. Born in Paris, he spent his schooling years in New York City and was a child prodigy, performing from the age of four and a half. ...more
11
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Steven Thomas Lacy-Moya (born May 23, 1998), better known as Steve Lacy, is an American guitarist, bassist, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He was born in Compton, California and gained ...more
12
Steve Aoki is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Steven Hiroyuki Aoki (born November 30, 1977) is an American musician, DJ, record producer and music executive. In 2012, Pollstar designated Aoki as the highest grossing dance artist in North ...more
13
Giraffage is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Charlie Yin, better known by his stage name Giraffage, is an American electronic music record producer. Yin, who is of Taiwanese descent, grew up in San Jose, California, and graduated from the ...more
14
TOKiMONSTA is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Jennifer Lee, better known by her stage name Tokimonsta, is an American record producer and DJ from Los Angeles, California. She has collaborated with Thirsty Fish, Kool Keith, and MNDR. She has ...more
15
Mike Shinoda is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Michael Kenji Shinoda (, born February 11, 1977) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, and graphic designer. He co-founded Linkin Park in 1996 and is the band's ...more
16
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Norah Jones (born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar; March 30, 1979) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. She has won multiple awards and has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. ...more
17
Jhené Aiko is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo, better known as Jhené Aiko or simply Jhené, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began her career appearing ...more
18
Hayley Kiyoko is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Hayley Kiyoko Alcroft (born April 3, 1991) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Beginning dance lessons as a child, Kiyoko's interest in entertaining led to her working as a child ...more
19
ZHU is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Steven Zhu is a Chinese-American musician and singer who has been active since the beginning of 2014, and is signed to Mind of a Genius Records. Until mid-2014, Zhu remained anonymous, asking to ...more
20
Yaeji is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Kathy Yaeji Lee (born c. 1993), known professionally as Yaeji, is a Korean-American electronic music artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her style blends elements of house music and hip hop with ...more
21
Sarah Chang is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Sarah Chang (Korean: 장영주; born Young Joo Chang; December 10, 1980) is an American classical violinist. Recognized as a child prodigy, she first played as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic ...more
22
Ne-Yo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Shaffer Chimere Smith (born October 18, 1979), better known by his stage name Ne-Yo, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor and dancer. He gained fame for his songwriting ...more
23
Nosaj Thing is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Nosaj Thing

Jason Chung, better known as Nosaj Thing, is an American record producer based in Los Angeles, California. He is of Korean descent. He has produced tracks for Busdriver, Kendrick Lama, and Chance the Rapper. 

24
Tyga is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Micheal Ray Stevenson (born November 19, 1989), known by his stage name Tyga (a backronym for Thank you God always), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and television personality. ...more
25
Dumbfoundead is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Contemporary Asian American Musicians
Jonathan Park born February 18, 1986), known professionally as Dumbfoundead, is an Argentine-born Korean-American rapper and actor. He began his career in the 2000s as a battle rapper in Los ...more