Home Indie Music “The place do I look?”: An Essay by Yueku for AAPI Heritage Month

“The place do I look?”: An Essay by Yueku for AAPI Heritage Month

“The place do I look?”: An Essay by Yueku for AAPI Heritage Month


In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Atwood Journal has invited artists to take part in a collection of essays reflecting on id, music, tradition, inclusion, and extra.
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Right this moment, Christian Koo – AKA artist, songwriter, and producer Yueku – shares his essay, “The place Do I Look?” – a mirrored image on AAPI illustration (and lack thereof) within the leisure business, and the way that has impacted his musical journey and private life, as part of Atwood Journal’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month collection!
From the Motor Metropolis suburbs to Music Metropolis, Tennessee, Yueku’s second album of infectious up-beat indie bops is filled with his signature dazzling manufacturing, toe-tapping melodies, and even a twang of nation aptitude. Whereas Christian Koo’s first solo document, 2021’s ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ was overflowing with intimate bed room pop, this 12 months’s new single “PARADISE” appears like stepping out of your bed room to discover a joyful home celebration stuffed with all of your greatest pals and crushes.
Aptly named “PARADISE” dials into that purity completely with an intoxicatingly distilled danceability. Because the chorus goes, “All my tears disappear/ with you it’s similar to paradise.” And it feels like paradise too, stuffed with lush layers and dreamy, summer-ready vocals that sound like a choir of angels. “It’s a easy love tune for somebody with some uncertainty in regards to the afterlife, however the core message is that the time spent collectively right here within the current is heaven sufficient for me.” Christian says.
“They taught me there’s a heaven with a blue sky… So inform me why your room appears like an in depth tie. There’s no angel that might dwell as much as your voice.”
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Paradise - Yueku

by Yueku

My title’s Christian Koo. I’m an Asian American making music underneath the moniker Yueku, a play off my center title and my final title. My father is from Hong Kong, and my mom is from Bangkok, Thailand. My mother and father got here to the U.S. to begin a household, and that’s the place I used to be born.

After I was rising up in class, I received on nicely with a whole lot of my classmates. I loved a whole lot of my lessons & shaped lasting friendships. Nonetheless, from the beginning it was exhausting to not discover that I had only a few classmates that appeared like I did. Straight hair, almond-shaped eyes, & tan pores and skin have been qualities I observed about myself that I hardly ever noticed in others at my faculty. As I received older, I skilled some racially-driven bullying from older college students. Nothing violent or wildly abhorrent however feedback that have been positively racially charged that made strolling down the halls really feel much less safe than I’d like.

Yueku © Gina De Maio
Yueku © Gina De Maio

Soar to 2020 when Covid-19 was at its peak. I confronted a number of racist encounters merely strolling down the road, or at my office from prospects. Folks would inform me I appeared like Bruce Lee, or ask me to show them karate, or ask if I’d settle for American forex, or inform me to return the place I “got here from.” It sucked.

All my life, I’ve had a whole lot of points with how Asian individuals are portrayed in Western media, or not portrayed in any respect. I might say up till pretty just lately, Hollywood has portrayed us as weak, nerdy, low cost, simple to select on. Simply typically disrespectful. Folks assume they’ll get away with saying or doing terrible issues to us as a result of we’ll look away or are unable to defend ourselves. Neglect fiction for a second. Even when terrible, violent crime is dedicated on an Asian particular person within the U.S., more often than not you need to do some digging to even hear about it.

Rising up & seeing how Asian folks have been portrayed in movie & TV was troubling. As a baby, I rapidly gravitated to music as a result of the Asian stereotypes weren’t as widespread in that house. Nevertheless it wasn’t that issues have been higher within the music business. There merely weren’t that many well-known Asian artists within the U.S. In a tousled manner, the shortage of illustration truly meant there was much less racism to come across.

Yueku © Gina De Maio
Yueku © Gina De Maio

Every thing is way more accessible these days and it’s a lot simpler to search out an increasing number of artists who’re Asian, or Asian American. Keshi, Beabadoobe, Velocity, RUSSEL! and Elise Go are a number of examples that I like. It’s cool to have the ability to checklist that many, whereas 10 to fifteen years in the past, I don’t assume I’d have been capable of. I wouldn’t say being Asian American fuels why I make music. It’s eternally part of who I’m and one thing that may by no means go away me. If I stop making music tomorrow, I might nonetheless be Asian American. What I’ll say is that making music as an Asian American has all the time felt essential to me as a result of illustration is crucial, particularly for youthful audiences. It’s all the time been an adjoining aim of mine as a musician to problem the stereotype that Western tradition has portrayed for a while.

Rising up, I want I had extra artists that appeared like me to look as much as. If I might be that for somebody on the market, that’s big. – Yueku

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Paradise - Yueku

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? © Gina De Maio

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