This post is part of an ongoing series about Asian pop.
We’ve seen the groups, the cliches, the solo artists with incredible vocals, and the solo artists who do it all – now let’s take it down a notch and spend some time looking at ‘The Ultimate Pop Stars!’ The artists in this category can sing, but they are more or less known for their upbeat poppy style. They aren’t known for being incredible singers or straying too far from the norm, they are exactly what the category says, pop stars. Much like the pop stars in the west, these guys crank out hit after hit and do the genre well. You want stereotypical pop music? This is the category for you!
There are so many artists in this category that I am going to pick a few songs that I love from each artist to share with you!
Jolin Tsai (Taiwan)
Honey Trap (2010)
Jolin Tsai has a very soft vocal style, but that doesn’t mean her music isn’t powerful. She has a very upbeat style with a heavy influence from the west. The backgrounds definitely overpower her vocals but it still works – she is a boss!
Agent J (2007)
Play (2014) Live at the 2015 MNET Asian Music Awards
Namie Amuro (Japan)
Make It Happen feat. AFTERSCHOOL (2011)
Namie Amuro is always a hit or miss for me. Sometimes her songs are freaking awesome, and other times they are just really blah…I have a love/hate thing with her. She is absolutely adorable, but then sometimes looks SO bored on stage. She is a HUGE pop star in Japan though, and has been around for almost 20 years. Namie Amuro has a unique vocal style and in recent years has started singing in English (not sure if that’s a good thing?). While she might not be my favourite, I definitely LOVE some of her stuff. She has even collaborated with Jolin Tsai!
BoA (South Korea)
Hurricane Venus (2010)
BoA, while known for her music, is also known as being an incredible dancer and it definitely shows in her videos and live performances! BoA is one of my favourite performers because she always has fun music, and sings in Korean, Japanese, and English (she released an entirely English album and it’s REALLY good!)! She is honestly a badass!
The Shadow (2012)
Bad Drive Live at her 2008 Tour
This showcases BoA’s amazing dance moves and why she is one of the best selling artists to come out of Korea. Keep in mind that so many famous artists in Korea are groups, so BoA doing her own thing solo is pretty cool.
Elva Hsiao (Taiwan)
Miss Chic (2010)
Elva Hsiao is pure pop! Another Mandopop singer to hit the list, she is fierce, fun, and a good dancer too! Like Jolin Tsai, Elva has a softer vocal style, but she can definitely get in your face and get loud in other ways. I really enjoy some of her stuff because of her pure pop sound mixed with a bit of electronic for a bit of an added power up. She definitely has an avant garde style and makes sure to incorporate fashion into her videos.
Compilation of Songs – Live in 2016
While there are many poppy groups in Asia, there are also a ton of solo pop singers. I have not listed any solo acts that are also a part of a group since they are known more for being a part of their group; however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them out! If you liked what you heard, you might want to listen to these other solo pop artists below:
- G.E.M (Hong Kong)
- Lee Hyori (South Korea)
- Jeannie Hsieh (Taiwan)
- Psy (South Korea) – cause I really had to remind you?
- Utada Hikaru (Japan)
- Tata Young (Thailand)
- Cyndi Wang (Taiwan)
- Angela Chang (Taiwan)
Stay tuned for my next post which talks about the rappers who sing and the singers who rap…(there is always something a little different in the Asian music scene compared to the west!)
Image Credit: http://gossiplifeasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/namie01.jpg