Asian Artists Introduction: Far*East Movement

>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I have always feel sorry that there aren't more Asians in the spotlight, it seems like whenever they have an Asian movie star, they had to know Kung Fu or well established overseas in order for the American audience to embrace them. Bruce Lee, Mr. Miyagi, Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li all knew some sort of martial arts, it's not until lately with John Cho, Lucy Liu, Ken Jeong and Tim Kang that we see Asian actors mainstream.

Musically, it's even fewer. Cibo Matto was popular for a second, Miho Hatori from that group transformed into Gorillaz' Noodles for a minute. Some half-Filipino action with N.E.R.D's Chad Hugo and Black Eye Pea's Apl.De.Ap but other than that there's practically nothing. Classical music doesn't count. So I'm really excited when the group Far*East Movement was brought to my attention.

Four Asian guys with different background managed to produce a hit single that reached No. 1 of the US Billboard 100 chart. Merits aside, I'm not sure that any other Asian group has managed such a feat. It's an United Colors ad of East Asia with members Kev Nash being of Japanese decent, Prohgress who has Chinese ancestry, J-Splif being Korean and Filipino DJ Vermin, they started doing club gigs while they were in high school. Later on one of their song "Round Round" was featured in The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift soundtrack. After some collaborations in 2008 with budding stars like Bruno Mars, their song "Girls on the Dance Floor" was featured in America's Best Dance Crew, So You Think You Can Dance and CSI: Miami.

Last month, their debut album Free Wired came out and features collaborations with artists like Snoop Dogg, Bruno Mars, Keri Hilson, Lil Jon and Ryan Tedder from One Republic. Their single "Like a G6" has 24 million views since 5 months ago and left lots of remix and parodies in its wake.

The follow up to "Like a G6" is a cute ballad featuring Ryan Tedder called "Rocketeer":

I'm quite glad that have spiffed up their image and going with geek squad on the weekend look. I didn't even mind them wearing sunglasses indoors and at night to hide their "Asian features". Honestly, their looks on the original video during their Tokyo Drift phase makes them look like wannabes. Personally though, I still have a slight problem with J-Splif's pony tail, his "evil Asian" mustache, or his slight slime ball looks. If I'm managing a boy band, he'll probably be the first guy I cut but if it works for them than that's all that matters.

Hip Hop dance music is still on trend even though there's no much substance to it but it seems like they do have some skills. One of their claim to fame, I found, was that when they first started out they organized a concert in LA and gave all the proceed to a local youth drug rehabilitation center which is quite admirable in my book. I hope they will managed to hang in there for a while. It's not everyday that we see a group of Asian artists making it. I hope their success will inspire record companies to pick up more Asian artists and audiences will learn to accept them as well.

Speaking of which, whatever happened to Jersey Shore wannabes "K-Town"?

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