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Monthly Archives: May 2010

I’m quite fond of a number of Asian Americans on Youtube. Most of them are music artists, and they are good. I think Asians generally have an ear for music, and a developing flair for artistic creativity. If I sound like an Asian supremacist, I swear to you I am not. I’m only quite fond of Asian Americans and being Asian. I think we are living in the midst of Asian America making her presence visible. I think we will soon see Asian American leaders at the front of American culture. What follows is an overview of the Asian American artists on Youtube that I really like. Most of them live on the West coast which stinks for me because I prefer the East to the West.

Lydia Paek

Lydia used to (or still does?) dance in a crew. I like her more for her singing and her personality, but she is also a pretty ill dancer. I think she is Korean. She is somewhat vocal about her faith in Jesus which I find incredibly attractive. On multiple accounts she has attributed her talent and gifts to God.

Worth Watching: Medley with Andrew Garcia and Dancing with Victor Kim

Youtube Channel: JUUKKES

Cathy Nguyen


Cathy seems to do a lot of collaborations with other Youtube artists. I think it’s smart that she does that. She has a nice voice, but I think she is lacking as a stand-alone artist. She adds a lot to the group or duo when she collaborates with someone else. Like Lydia, Cathy is also a professing Christian which, as mentioned with Lydia, I find very attractive. She has a couple of Hillsong United covers. She is also pretty, I think.

Worth Watching: Hitting on Cathy and Knock You Down cover with Andrew Garcia

Youtube Channel: lilcdawg

Kat Badar

Kat is a bit of a mystery. I’m not sure what ethnic group she is from, but I am so sure that she has a powerful voice. It’s quite loud, but I think it needs to be. Her Youtube channel recently underwent some sort of overhaul, and a number of her older videos are gone. She did this cover of a Michael Jackson/Beyonce mash-up of Beat It/Sweet Dreams, and, even aside from the illness of the remix track itself, Kat did some amazing vocal work on the cover. I was most impressed when she hit the little bit where Michael sings, “no one wants to BE deFEATed” (emphasis in caps); that part, I think, is very hard to hit in a powerful singing voice. Unfortunately, that video is gone.

Worth Watching: Down cover and Halo cover in a restaurant

Youtube Channel: katbadar

AJ Rafael

I remember first watching AJ when I was youtubing some Disney songs. AJ does a very nice job with Disney medleys. I also remember watching a collaboration he did with Emily Elbert (a fantastic non-Asian Youtube artist). I would identify AJ as the most technically gifted individual of the bunch that I am presenting. He is quite technically skilled in music. He also has a showman’s personality and presence. You can see some of that in the other videos I link below. He does a lot of wild things with his hair. I think his sister does too. His sister dances.

Worth Watching: Replay cover with Andrew Garcia and JR Aquino and Disney Medley at FAP 09

Youtube Channel: ilajil

Kina Grannis

Kina, from what I understand, made it big through the Superbowl somehow. She just released her studio album, Stairwells, an ode to her playing music in the stairwells during her collegiate career. She is part Japanese and part (I love this term) European mutt. I think if you have a Caucasian/Asian mixed baby, you’re nearly guaranteed a beautiful child. It sounds shallow on my part, but I swear to you I am not. The thing I like most about Kina is her intimacy. At the end of her videos she has a cute way of doing shout-outs. I might call her the Asian American analog of Taylor Swift. She is also, I think, very pretty. Her voice is very relaxed and soothing. It doesn’t make you feel lazy.

Worth Watching: White Winter Hymnal cover and On the Radio cover

Youtube Channel: kinagrannis

Kevjumba

Kevin is hilarious. His M&Ms video is HILARIOUS. I don’t know why he is hilarious. I like his videos a lot. He is very real, and has a good head on his shoulders. He is using his celebrity on Youtube to donate to charities. I think that’s what you need to do if you are a celebrity. You need to use it for more than yourself. I also like his novel approach to videos. They are chill. He is my age. He collaborates with his dad a lot which I think is sweet and hilarious. I think Kevin is Chinese.

Worth Watching: Michael Jackson and What We Hate About Each Other

Youtube Channel: kevjumba and jumbafund

Wong Fu

Wong Fu productions is high quality. I think they speak out very well on the Asian American experience. They do a lot with film production, ranging from music videos to short features. I think if Asian Americans make it to the front of American culture, it will be through creative media, and I think Wong Fu is one of the forerunners. They are very funny, and their videos are high quality. I remember I used to want to be them back in high school. Their Yellow Fever video was the first one I ever saw, and I loved it so much because it was sort of true; it was a nice play on a generality.

Worth Watching: I’m Yours

Youtube Channel: Wong Fu Productions

HoyMadapakaX

RJ was my roommate from my freshman year in college. I can’t really recommend any videos or put up a highlight that I like because I can’t find some of them on Youtube. We did an ill “cover” of P. Diddy’s I’ll Be Missing You at the beginning of the year. I sang in falsetto and he rapped to his then-girlfriend about how he missed her. I thought it was creative and cute. He created a number of videos in our room while I studied. RJ is Filipino.

Youtube Channel: HoyMadapakaX

IronicSentiment

Jay was my Resident Assistant during my sophomore year in college. On the second weekend of school, we went to dinner and then decided to cover Taylor Swift’s Love Story with my roommate. It was great and a lot of fun. I remember conversing with him and my roommate about the Spanish O’Donnell’s, a creative Youtube group on campus. He remarked about how we need more creativity on campus like the SODs, and I think Jay is right. His Youtube channel isn’t as extensive as the other Youtube artists I’ve linked, but I don’t think that’s any knock on him. He’s a novel guy that is quite busy entertaining his residents and occasionally working toward his degree in Biomedical engineering. Lately, he hasn’t been as active on his other social networking accounts which saddens me. C’est la vie. Jay is Korean.

Worth Watching: Advice to Incoming Freshmen and A Cereal Romance

Youtube Channel: IronicSentiment

Beyond this list, I’m certain there are other Youtubers I haven’t discovered yet. Even beyond Youtube, I think Asian America has leaders ready to spring forth into the American spotlight. These people represent, in some sense, leaders, but they probably don’t think of themselves that way. When a leader is noticed, the leader is only a leader if he or she is doing their action or duty as if it meant nothing. They perform as leaders because that is what is demanded. It is not mediated. I think a leader recognizes his or her celebrity, but will not meditate on it. They simply do their job the way they are trained and best know how. That’s what makes them leaders.

I love being Asian American.

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If you are truly happy, then you are not making a mistake. Do what you are happy doing. I’m wary to say, “Do what makes you happy,” only in that makes, in that phrase, is deceitful. “Do what you are happy to do,” I think, delivers a more intimate and true relationship between joy and occupation. ((Ultimately, it’s probably a trivial detail, but if you really scrutinize between makes as a consequential preposition and are as an essential proposition, it seems a vast discrepancy.))

I know that if I didn’t love school as much as I do, I would be in New York City — not Milwaukee; I would have two cases — one for my clothes, and one for my cello — not a backpack and duffel bag; I would own Dvorak’s Concerto in B Minor — not the 5th edition of Organic Chemistry; I would sit in the streets, alleyways, and under the bridges playing melodies and harmonies to compliment the urban symphony — not in lectures or labs. ((For the life of me, this has been my biggest struggle at undergrad: Balancing my passion for theology against my passion for a career in medicine — and then in the mix there is the dream of dropping out of school altogether and being a street musician.))

Have you discovered your gift, your passion? The two are more closely related than you may think. You will love your talent because it is what makes you different. It is what makes you special. It is what separates you from the crowd, the diamond from the earth, and the comet from the stars. When you, cherie d’amour, discover what you were especially made for, you and I will share in something beautiful.

I remember writing this after watching the trailer to Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Seeing how happy Michael was with his work inspired me. Great talents are there to inspire others, so that we might find our talents, so that we might inspire others.

Post note: I realize I may have not used the French in my title correctly. It’s pretty, and that’s all I really care.

Pictured is my angry little sister. She clearly has not identified her passion and gift in life yet. There’s still lots of time left, so I am hopeful.