By: Enya Chi
Summer ’19 is on full swing and what’s better than kicking off your summer with Overachiever Magazine’s unique, upbeat and dreamy playlist of badass asian female artists that will make your summer the life of the party.
- Zimzalabim, Red Velvet (South Korea)
South Korea’s SM Entertainment’s power girl group Red Velvet is back again with another hit single for the summer. Formed in 2014, Red Velvet has five members—Seulgi, Irene, Wendy, Joy, and Yeri that is known for their amazing vocals, dance, and boldness in their music experimentations. Red Velvet’s newest release from their newest EP ‘The ReVE Festival,’ Zimzalabim is a summer hit that will keep you hyped as you dance the night away shouting ‘Zimzalabim Zimzalabim Zim-zim” over and over again. Featuring a carnival themed music video, the song’s uplifting, cheery beats, mixed with a mysterious South Asian traditional music, hard EDM beats, and rap, the song is full of surprises that everyone will find a place for them. At first glance, the song may be overwhelming for many because it showcased too much of the talent of the girls from Red Velvet, ranging from their power dance moves, strong rap and stable vocals, but all of that contributes to the greatness of the song. The bop of the summer has already been ranked at #1 in iTunes in more than 10 countries worldwide and the song has racked up to more than 2 million streams on Spotify. To many whom have listened to Red Velvet in the past, the song may have strayed a little from their past style, but the new style obviously marks another great start for a new era of Red Velvet.
- lowkey, Niki (Indonesia)
Jakarta born Indonesian rising star Niki is back in town with her new album “wanna take this downtown?” and single “lowkey” that once again take listeners to the gates of heaven with Niki’s soothing, soft vocals. Taking inspiration from the glossy R&B of the late ‘90s, ‘lowkey,’ Niki’s latest hit single is the perfect song to vibe to under the hot, sleepless summer nights. With a combination of a soft, dreamy beat that is looped throughout the song and Niki’s high-pitched, gentle and soothing, vocals, ‘lowkey’ takes listeners on a peaceful spiritual journey of relaxation and meditation that can wash away all the pain and stress given by the world. While ‘lowkey’ is not one of those cheerful, upbeat, and summery bop of the summer, it’s elegance and genteel makes it a song for the quiet, peaceful summer days when you have nothing to do and just want to relax, chill, dream and forget about the world. Niki, or Nicole Zefanya is born in 1999 in Jakarta, and is one of Indonesia’s blossoming new voices of the youth generation. She is currently signed to American label 88rising.
- Better Not, Wafia (Iraqi and Syrian) ft. Louis the Child
Having her initial breakthrough on Soundcloud, Netherland born, Australian singer songwriter Wafia Al-Rikabi, known professionally as Wafia comes from a mixed heritage identity of Iraqi-Syrian origin. In her new summer single “Better Not” ft. Louis the Child, Wafia stuns the audience again with her strong vocals that can send her straight to the next Academy Awards. In addition, the song has a strong linkage with EDM, as the sick, upbeat electro-beat of the music via Louis the Child make the song perfect to bounce under in a summer bash with your friends.
- Nobody, Mitski (Japan-America)
What’s better than ‘80s summer throwback jam to rock up your summer? “Nobody” by Mitski is the perfect song that matches the criteria. Although released in 2018, “Nobody” sounds like it walked straight from the soundtracks of the ‘80s vintage disks. The song is an indie rock song that features the strong vocals of Mitski and amazing backing music from an amazing band of rockers. The song starts off fresh and soft, gently flowing to the rhythmic beating of the snare drum, but later hypes up to the pop-rock chorus that adds to the artistry of the song. The melo-tone and the throwback vibe from “Nobody” definitely makes the song a summer hit that will spice up your late-night summer evenings of fun.
Mitski herself is Japanese-American singer songwriter known for both candid lyrics catchy yet volatile version of indie rock. Speaking off here identity, Mitski reflects her mixed-race heritage as “half Japanese, half American but not fully either”, which is a feeling she often reflected in her music. Maybe that’s why she feels like ‘nobody.’
- Blank Marquee, Yuna (Malaysia) ft. G-Eazy
For lovers of R&B, ‘Black Marquee’ by Malaysian singer Yuna is your go-to song of the summer that will get your hips moving. ‘Black Marquee’ is more on the pop side of R&B, and features a more upbeat, jazz-funk beat than your stereotypical smooth and suave R&B. However, the jazzy vibe given off by Yuna’s hit definitely enhances the song’s ability to dance too, for the song definitely have a beat to follow too. In addition, a feature by G-Eazy definitely make this song an instant hit because his smooth rap can get any one turnt for the summer.
While ‘Blank Marquee’ is an instant bop, let us not forget the singer that make this song possible. Yuna (Yunalis binti Mat Zara’ai) is a Malaysian singer-songwriter that has became an icon in Malaysia and the Asian music industry. Known for her strong vocals, Yuna became the first Malaysian singer to be nominated for a BET Award. Yuna also self-identifies as a Muslim. Her dedication to music and her identity as a female Asian artist without letting anyone bring her down makes her a strong inspiration for many.
- 再见 （Goodbye), G.E.M (Hong Kong)
C-pop is known for many artists with different music styles, artistry, and looks, but none of them can beat Hong Kong pop princess G.E.M. G.E.M (or Get Everybody Moving) is a Chinese-born Hong Kong pop singer who is known for her wide vocal range and charisma on stage. In her 2015 critically acclaimed album ‘Heartbeat,’ her vocals surely did not disappoint. In fact, they shined once again, especially in the song 再见 (‘Goodbye’). Listening to ‘Goodbye’ makes one seem to be in a teenage romance movie—a slow beginning, a nerve wracking climax, and a slow, sweet ending. The music starts off in an acoustic manner, sweet and soft that highlights G.E.M’s legendary vocals. As the music progress, the music gets more upbeat, pop, and fast, as more backing vocals, instrumental, and noises are added in. At the climax of the song, the song’s ultimate pop music status is shown and it makes listeners just want to scream along with the music, rocking an imaginary electric guitar in hand while jamming to G.E.M’s high notes that definitely, in G.E.M’s own words ‘high 翻全场’ (meaning make the crowd high). Yet, as the music reaches towards the end, so does all the hype, and the once-energetic tune winds down to a soft and gentle ending that will leave listeners feeling chill, happy, and relaxed and wanting to hear the song all over again. “Goodbye” is certainly not a song to say goodbye to, especially during the summer when one need its varied tempo to get high and up to beat in the summer of fun. Also, G.E.M is a qualified artist that boasts a successful resumé filled with number 11th on the Forbes China Celebrity 100 and features on Forbes 30 Under 30, making her definitely not an artist to turn away too.
- Slow Motion, Shreya Ghoshal (India) ft. Nakash Aziz and Vishal
mmer spin in fast motion as you couldn’t bear sitting still to the sick beat of the music! Shreya Ghoshal is India’s vocal prodigy and has consistently produced first class Bollywood music since her debut. In 2019, she strikes again with a song “Slow Motion” with artists Nakash Aziz and Vishal for the soundtrack of Bollywood movie Bharat, the 2nd highest grossing Bollywood film of 2019. Contrary to the song title however, “Slow Motion” is not a slow song. In fact, it is the ultimate Bollywood summer bop to dance to. Featuring a wide variety of vocal range from the three singers to upbeat, traditional Bollywood music, listening to the song cannot make you sit still! As the drums beat, so will you as you dance your summer days (and nights!) To the sick beat of ‘Slow Motion’ in fast motion!
- Yurak- Sevara Nazarkhan (Uzbekistan)
Sevara Nazarkhan is a famous Uzbekistan pop singer that is known for her experimentations with contemporary and folk music. Her expertise of the Uzbek doutar (a traditional two-stringed plucked shepherd instrument) seals her position as an accomplished world musician in the Central Asian music. However, “Yurak” from Sevara’s latest album ‘2019’ left the audience bewildered as she takes on a completely new music genre. In ‘Yurak’ Sevara fuses contemporary, electric R&B with Uzbek tradition that makes the song an arthouse masterpiece. In “Yurak,” very unique and authentic music is produced as it brings the audience to the future and the past, trapped in time, with the combination of traditional and futuristic vibe. Yurak” is a summer classic that is the go-to song to vibe under the summer stars.
- Kaibigan Mo-Sarah Geeronimo (Philippine) ft. Yeng Constantino
Summer is a time of romance, love, cuteness, and friendship. In Filipino pop star Sarah Geeronimo’s song ‘Kaibigan Mo’ with Yeng Constantino, the song satisfies your inner cravings for romance, love, and sweetness with the angelic voices of the singers. For watchers of K-dramas, or other teenage girl dramas, an OST of a love film is very slow, sweet, and cute. “Kaibigan Mo” is that type of song, taking the form of a very slow, love story OST style. The song’s highlights include the sweet voices of Sarah Geeronimo and Yeng Constantino that can melt your heart in the already hot-summer heat in addition to the sweet tone of the music. For lovers of a cute summer, ‘Kaibigan Mo’ is the song for you!
Enya Chi is an aspiring social activist who likes to travel and appreciate the beauty of the world. She hopes to bring change to the world through her passion for social justice and love for peace. During her free time, Enya likes to go on spontaneous food trips with her friends and she enjoys eating boba, hot pot, and poke. She currently resides in Los Angeles but is originally from Hong Kong.