Lookin’ Back: Revisiting 2013’s Biggest Moments in a-Tunes

This year has been a very full one, with lots of artists and music covered. Music videos, singles, albums, and side projects have come and gone and we are left looking back the trends and biggest moments of 2013. This summary of the year doesn’t really focus on individual artists and their day to day activities, but instead looks at some of the overarching trends and notable milestones for Asian-American music as a whole.

So in no particular order:

  • In 2013, we started to exist more to Big Business.

Although there is still a long battle ahead of us, corporations are starting to recognize the Asian-American community and it’s artists – with more song placements and even appearances by some of our artists in print and visual advertisements.

The year started off with a crack, with Psy riding the success of his mega hit, “Gangnam Style”, by appearing in a Wonderful Pistachios ad campaign that debuted during the Superbowl.

The year also featured commercial appearances by Jessica Sanchez, Mike Song, KRNFX, Rino Nakasone, Meeghan Henry, Far East Movement, Knewdles, Steve Aoki and Jasmine Villegas. Let’s hope this trend continues!

  • 2013 was a year of matrimonial bliss.

Although we aren’t keeping official count, it seems like more of our artists have tied the knot this year than ever before.

Sun of the Wonder Girls tied the knot in late January, quickly followed by Jennifer Chung.

Then Kina Grannis, Clara C and Paul Jisung Kim also followed suit throughout the course of the year. And that’s just the ones we were able to report about! There are at least a few more out there that we have heard about who chose to remain a little more private about their happy union. Perhaps the next couple years will be filled with announcements of newborn additions to the family!

  • This year, artists have been making big moves both here and overseas.

Our artists have been making their mark in various mediums across the globe. Many have inked new deals with major labels, others have gone on to star in some big TV projects, while others have looked to capitalize off past success and keep momentum rolling in 2013.

Aziatix made a surprising jump by using their international success to leverage a deal and sign with Young Money records.

But they weren’t the only ones to put their signature to some big label news, as Blush announced their new partnership with renowned music executive, Quincy Jones. Overseas, Megan Lee and Royal Pirates have started to gain traction, with the latter already promoting their music on the major South Korean music shows.

Of course, artists like D-Pryde, Psy, and Jessica Sanchez have done their best to make sure their past success continued in 2013. Some have fared better than others with Psy’s followup single, “Gentleman” making a modest but considerably smaller splash than it’s predecessor. D-Pryde has remained a consistent part of our news cycle, as he stays busy and continues to build his fan base. Lastly, Jessica Sanchez dropped her Interscope debut album, which unfortunately hasn’t seemed to catch on well with the general public.

Lastly, many of our artists have branched out into other side projects, with the likes of Dumbfoundead & Michelle Martinez (among others) taking part in web-series. Traphik has found himself a part of the revival of Nick Canon’s Wild’n Out sketch comedy series and perhaps the biggest news of all was Arden Cho’s casting in the latest season of MTV’s Teen Wolf.

It’s been an exciting year for sure!

  • Racism is still a dicey topic & continues to be an issue.

This isn’t something that is likely to go away in 2014, but we’d sure like to be able to report less of it next year. We’ve dealt with a number of musical projects, gaffes, faux pas and missteps the past 365 days that continue to highlight misunderstandings, ignorance, and unfortunate realities in our cultural differences.

One of the more frustrating incidents revolved around this music video for “Asian Girlz”, where it triggered instant backlash against the intended humor/satirical content which instead came off more misogynistic, racist and insensitive.

But it wasn’t an isolated case, as the topic was brought up again and again throughout 2013, to varying degrees of reaction. Whether or not something was offensive has been debated over and over, but one thing is for sure, it’s going to take some time for this type of thing to be minimized.

  • Our artists are finally earning some major recognition and accolades.

And know, I don’t just mean by Kollaboration and other Asian-American focused organizations. This year has been a big year for our talent on national TV competitions. Kenichi Ebina stole the show with his unique blend of “dance-ish” qualities and clever special effects on America’s Got Talent. But not to be outdone, Tessanne Chin then came in and dominated the competition in the latest season of The Voice. Outside of the now defunct America’s Best Dance Crew, competitors of Asian descent have only come closeto winning, but this year they took it all home.

Of course, things weren’t limited to national television, with a number of our artists gracing the nominations for the first ever Youtube Music Awards. And although it was an awkward ceremony with cumbersome winning criteria, Girls Generation was able to nab an honor with the award for Video of the Year.

So as you can see, it’s been a very exciting year for a-Tunes, with so much to report on and share with you all. It’s been incredible to see what has transpired over the course of the past 12 months and we look forward to what should be an even more incredible 2014. Thank you to everyone for sticking with us!

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