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  • Writer's pictureLippy

Diversify your Music Taste

As an avid music listener, like many are, I’ve always adored the collective effervescence music summons amongst a group of strangers. The instant affinity it manifests between individuals as they stumble upon a familiar song they both like, the temporary union that develops as a group of people embrace and unite in drunken song, its ability to unify an incomprehensible amount of people through national anthems and religious hymns. The point is that the beauty of music is its ability to compel people to stand in solidarity with each other, creating a metaphysical community of sorts. Yet, we continue to witness this notion of integration being neglected by the music industry. The under-representation of artists from varied ethnic backgrounds and a wider range of countries is inexcusable in a global world, with the music industry continuing to favour and promote Anglo-American artists. Representation is important. Seeing people who were like me gaining popularity within the music sphere, women like Gabriella Wilson (H.E.R.) and Olivia Rodrigo who are both part Filipino, and other female Asian artists like Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast) and Mitski Miyawaki ignited a sort of validation of my identity, as well as a blossoming pride I didn’t think I needed until I witnessed them perform. So, what can we do as individuals to magnify underrepresented voices within music? It’s pretty straight forward. Listen to them, give credit where credit is due and be conscious of the roots of the artists you’re listening to.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, below are a few artists/bands (old and new) I personally love:

Saya Gray:

A phenomenal artist and producer. I came across her earlier in May this year and have been a huge fan of her ever since. A Japanese/Canadian singer, Saya Gray’s music is just fresh, there’s no other way to put it. An amalgamation of various genres, from jazz to punk, her music is something worth diving into and getting intimate with. I’d personally recommend listening to her debut album 19 Masters and more specifically: Pap Test, Cervical Cedric & Empathy 4 Bethany.


Mamadou’s artistry is particularly angelic with his music interweaving spoken word, rap, and song. The narrative and lyricism encompassed in his songs are raw and unyielding as he divulges his relationship with his Islamic faith and his experience as a first-generation young black man in America. A few favourites are Tread Slowly, Homegoing, Childhood Memories and Wusulah Remnants.

Rikki Ililonga:

Rikki Ililonga is a Zambian psychedelic rock musician who gained prominence as a member of the band Musi-O-Tunya. Ililonga has often been credited with the creation of Zamrock which merges the distinctive sounds of traditional African music with Western rock. Songs like Sheebeen Queen and Stop Dreaming Mr. D are definitely my favourites and ones I’d recommend.


WITCH is another Zamrock band worth listening to. One of the more popular ones on this list, their music is astounding and emblematic of the Zambian psychedelic and rock genre. Personally, I’d recommend Chifundo, Lazy Bones, Home Town and I’ve Been Away however, you can’t go wrong with any of their songs to start with.

Hana Vu:

I started listening to Hana Vu in January this year with her music soundtracking the bleary and wet winter walks to uni. Hanu Vu’s songs, particularly in her album Public Storage, encompass feelings of vulnerability overshadowed by a sort of numbness and quiet rage. Mia Hughes' article for NME perfectly describes Vu’s music as capturing ‘the disillusionment of young adulthood’. Some songs I’d recommend would be April Fool, Gutter, and World’s Worst.


If you're into soulful vocals blended with an ethereal dreamlike quality Sanjana is for you. Her songs cover topics from anxiety to her experiences in navigating toxic relationships. Sanjana came into the scene in 2018 and has been releasing a steady stream of singles since. I’d recommend Never Losing and Can I but listening to the rest of her discography would do you no harm.


I absolutely adore MIZ, an acoustic duo consisting of Shukei Tamaoki and Seijun Kato whose immersive and wistful vocals and sounds indulges the listener to reminisce or imagine places and memories they yearn for. My favourites are ようらん, パレードヒット曲, and パジャマでハイウェイ.


Words: Alicia Colquhoun

Image Credit: Yuko Shimizu | Dazed | Spotify | Discogs | Rough Trade | NME | Soundcloud | YouTube.