By Allison Sun, Jocelle Koh
A brilliant UX Designer by trade, Allison first stumbled across Asian Pop Weekly as she searched for a way to connect with her roots. Harbouring a personal love for music from Taiwan due to her heritage, she immediately connected with Asian Pop Weekly’s mission statement, and of course we welcomed her with open arms.
Despite Allison being based in the States and working around timezone differences, she’s always been there for us with an astute sense of clean, bold design that has propelled our platform’s visuals to new heights of cohesiveness and experimentation.
Inspired especially by the daring of Taiwan’s new generation of artists, our resident web and graphic designer’s diverse musical tastes have allowed her to get with the program no matter what artists we’ve worked with and what genre we’re loving right now.
Championing the Taiwanese music scene in her own way, we’re bowled over by the sincerity and passion with which Allison approaches each project we’ve worked on together. We hope to continue to be a home for that passion for a long time to come! Read more about her APW Journey and her current playlist picks down below.
What year did you join APW? December 2018. I was looking for content on Taiwanese music, and I stumbled across the APW website–as soon as I did, I knew I had to get in touch with Jocelle.
What is it that APW does which resonates with you? APW’s mission to make eastern music & culture accessible to audiences worldwide. And also Jocelle’s passion! I admire her so much, running the APW platform out of true passion.
Any APW related highlights or milestones?
- Connecting to Mia (through Jocelle), another person I really admire and who is the mastermind behind Taiwanese Waves (a yearly live performance highlighting Taiwanese music at Summerstage NYC).
- Seeing Jocelle work really hard to push out the new APW website—there were definitely lots of blood, sweat, and tears and it was so great to see it finally live!
Favourite genre/styles of music? R&B, electronic, hip-hop, classical, jazz, pop. There’s so much I like and not much I don’t like….except maybe country and heavy metal.
Favourite Asian artist(s) Crowd Lu, 9m88, ADOY
What are you passionate about? Of course, music—and more specifically the Taiwanese music scene! Taiwan is easily overlooked because it’s such a tiny dot on the map, but there’s so much creativity and goodness. I really hope more and more people can listen to all the amazing music by Taiwanese artists.
Allison’s Choice Picks
Track 01: Sunset Rollercoaster – Angel Disco Love
Sunset Rollercoaster is always a good time! The name of this song, “Angel Disco Love,” conjures an idyllic and dreamy scene, and the song is exactly that, with funky guitar lines, bright yet tender vocals, punchy synths, and other entrancing musical layers. I always wanna dance when I hear this.
Track 02: Crowd Lu 盧廣仲 – 100 Ways of Living 100種生活
My first Taiwanese concert (where I was old enough to know what was going on) was Crowd Lu in Seattle in 2018. It was all around good vibes and so heart-warming to hear the full house sing along in Mandarin and Hokkien. Crowd Lu’s songs always got me feeling like 🥺🥰🤗. In 100種生活, Crowd Lu sings about the confusing desire to lead “100 varieties of life” and that’s basically how I feel all the time.
Track 03: 9m88 – Love Rain 愛情雨
If I’m a stan of anyone, it’s 9m88 aka Baba. I love her fusion of different musical styles of jazz, city-pop, R&B and more, into something that is uniquely hers. This song is insanely catchy and 100% pure fun. For anyone hoping to pick up some new dance moves, check out Love Rain’s music video.
Track 04: Waa Wei 魏如萱 – Grandma 奶奶
The title of this track translates to “Grandma”. The song immediately takes me back to my childhood and reminds me a lot of my own grandparents, all of whom I’m very close with. The opening comes from the popular Japanese children’s song “Momotarō-san” that my grandpa used to sing to me. I can still sing it word for word even though I don’t speak Japanese.
Track 05: Leo王 – Happy Ganjaman 快樂的甘蔗人
I was definitely like “whoahh” when I first heard Leo王’s music. Back then, Mandarin rap was foreign to me, let alone Taiwanese rap. Plus, his music is unlike any other hip hop track I’ve heard before. Humorous lyrics, fun reggae-tinged beats, and groovy tunes—Leo Wang is just chillin and doing his own thing!
Track 06: ?te 壞特 – Seh Ah Seh
I’ve been intrigued by the up-and-coming artist ?te for a while now. Shrouded in mystery, she’s known for hiding her face, always covering it with a hat or sunglasses. Her music is a lo-fi blend of R&B and jazz; topped off with her captivating voice, it’s perfection. Listening to her music feels as intimate as entering someone’s bedroom. (Editor’s note: Check out our Liner Notes translation of ‘Seh Ah Seh’ here)
Track 07: L8ching 雷擎 feat. addychills 艾迪 – Xin-Gan Baby 心肝寶貝
I don’t know much about the artists behind this song, but it’s so groovy. It features a playful, love-drunk back-and-forth between L8ching and addychills.
L8ching: “You are my sweet baby”
addychills: “Don’t call me baby, I’m not your baby”
Track 08: Chen Hsien-ching 陳嫻靜 – Lightly 輕輕
Chen Hsien-ching is another up-and-coming artist in the Taiwanese indie music scene. What struck me the most is her free-flowing lyricism. With low tones, her raw-sounding vocals take the spotlight of any song and is thoroughly complemented by the instrumental riffs hanging out on the side.
Track 09: The Chairs 椅子樂團 – In Liquor 手捧一杯酒
In 手捧一杯酒, The Chairs, a retro-pop band, sings the song entirely in Hokkien. It’s sentimental, with simple lyrics and soulful tunes, complemented by a sax line that’s as smooth as butter. It’s the perfect song to listen to while lounging on the couch with a glass of wine in hand.
Track 10: deca joins – Waves 海浪
Deca joins impeccably wields the double-edged sword of emotive productions and soulful melodies. The lyrics are poetically beautiful, served over rolling guitars and grounded in melancholic tones. There’s a tinge of sadness, but somehow it washes away any daily stress. Never hurried, the song takes its time to slowly unfurl into a decadent croon.
In this 4-part Choice Picks series, we invite team members Allison, Matt, Sinead and Jocelle to share their thoughts about being part of APW, and of course what music gets them going in the morning. Check out the series as we release throughout the month of August here.