#MAIPVibes - Jesus Hoyos (2018)

Three words to describe your playlist: 

Then, Now, Later.

How did you curate this playlist? 

When I came to the United States from Venezuela, I was just 8 years old. At that age all I wanted to do was fit in and assimilate as quickly as possible, correcting my pronunciation at every turn and absorbing as much mass media as possible to be able to communicate with other kids. The last few years I have been reflecting on my process of assimilation, rediscovering my Venezuelan upbringing and pursuing the history of my Cuban family.

The songs I selected are meant to reflect my introspection, in conjunction with being a recent graduate looking for employment, participating in the MAIP program, and missing my partner as we do long distance until my internship ends.

Some of the songs I included in the playlist, I haven’t actively listened to in the past few years, but they represent periods of my upbringing. Juan Luis Guerras’ "Las Avispas" is a song I remember hearing in the radio in Venezuela, but have never pursued or stumbled upon ever since I moved to the United States.

Other songs like Nico's "These Days" and Elvis Costello's "Welcome to the Working Week" have changed in meaning for me, now that I am working 9 to 6 and wondering the streets of a new city. Ella Fitzgerald's "Night and Day" as well as Vampire Weekend's "Ladies of Cambridge" used to make me joyful, but now they bring a sense of yearning as those are songs that remind me of my girlfriend. She was the first person I showed the playlist too.

The crux of the playlist is inevitably, working hard and making the most out of my time in New York. Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning" and Bob Dylan's "Subtarranean Homesick Blues" reflects the different personalities of the city, intimate, busy, and always full of energy. "Fear is a Man's Best Friend," John Cale's follow-up to his Velvet Underground days, reflects my embrace of fear as metric for knowing when to step out of my comfort zone, while Arcade Fire's "Everything Now" acts as an anthem for my generation and my ambition.

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:

Breaking Bad introduced me to Ana Tijoux. I always liked the soundtrack for the show better than the show itself, and in one episode they feature her song "1977," a quick-paced, Spanish-language rap about Tijoux' identity. Addressing the political climate in the world and the hierarchy of power that limits the growth of women, minorities, and immigrants, "Shock," which I included in the playlist, builds upon "1977" with an energy and conviction that has made it one of my favorite songs of late.

In contrast, "Creo en Ti," another song from Tijoux that I've included, is a softer song about believing in others when they face personal doubt. Her reflections on her Hispanic identity, along with her energy and passion have drawn me to her music  as they represent my own feelings at the moment.

#MAIPVibes - Naim Mobley (2018)

Three words to describe your playlist: 

Introduction of myself

How did you curate this playlist? 

If you’ve never met me, this would suffice. Finding an accurate representation of my current self was my main priority. I wanted to put songs from artist that people may not have heard of, or even better, find hidden gems from artist many people have heard of but may have passed over.

As I’ve gotten older, I realize more and more that I am a product of my environment. I would not be where I am today without the friends and family that I have been surrounded with, and a lot of the music I listen to now stems from what they’ve shown me through music and through life. How I experienced certain scenarios and the actions I took led me to find the artist that I listen to currently and will only lead towards more great artist in the future. When you listen to this, you are literally entering my mind.

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:

First I want to say Rest in peace to Tim Bergling (Avicii) and controversially, Jahseh Onfroy (XXXtentacion). Thank you Avicii for basically introducing me to EDM and X for being part of the rise of South Florida music wave, being local I had the opportunity to watch it grow from up close. 

However, the artist I want to talk about are the Black Eyed Peas. A conglomeration of 4 huge talents with backgrounds spanning all 4 hemispheres, their discography proves to be just as diverse. 

Elephunk is one of my favorite albums all time, having traces of Spanish and Tagalog in some of their songs, they also bring up the lunacy in the world and the strive for love and peace that should be among all of us. Their inspiration from rock, funk, R&B, hip-hop and EDM and ability to fuse them together seamlessly time and time again throughout their albums really just proves to me that inclusion of different cultures really can produce timeless pieces of art.

#MAIPVibes for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Isidora Torres (2011)

Three words to describe your playlist: 

Bay-ish, Vibrant, Extra

How did you curate this playlist? 

I wanted to infuse my roots - a little Bay-ish (shout out to the 408!) and Filipino, and by way just overall feel-good music. Often times, as Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders, we're seen in the media as one-dimensional with a stroke of a nicely place vibrant highlight. Our interests and stories are categorized as one narrative when we exist in nuance. As I've gotten older, I embrace a consummation of these layered identities - Bay Area Native, NY Adopted, Filipina, Hip Hop lover, sad girl, et al and wanted to reflect that in this playlist. 

My hope is that in the next few years, we continue to see the rise of Filipinos/Filipinas in the mainstream mix. 

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:

Shout out to Ruby Ibarra. It's a first for me to hear all the intricacies of growing up Filipina and in the Bay. She touches on specific sensitive issues of the Fil-Am community as well as general issues that folks of color have to deal with. Also, I really LOVE hearing our native tongue spoken out loud. 

Lastly, "Spectrum" uses bits of Tagalog in its chorus. It was for the first time, in a long time, I've felt energized by an American artist using Tagalog in a mesmerizing and dope way.

#MAIPVibes for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - Faith Chihil (2010)

Three words to describe your playlist:

Eclectic, moody, shameless 

How did you curate this playlist?

I wanted this playlist to feel like a journey.

You start with leaving home, the guilt and fear you have for going, struggling with feeling homesick yet being in love with your new surroundings.

You fall in and out love and pick yourself back up time and again, still making room for a million self-pity parties, IDGAF moments and "how YOU doin' ?" meetings in between, coming back to find your center before you spin out again.

While a lot of the lyrics focus on romantic love, I feel we all get these love/hate/discovery routines with our friendships, our careers, and even our cultural backgrounds. There are times when I'm incredibly motivated by a new project I've working on, only for it to disintegrate a week later.

Likewise, there are times when I struggle with my own identity: who am I as this 30-year old Filipina who can't speak Tagalog but who wants to identify with the rest of my Asian colleagues? We may never get all the answers, but we can work on asking better questions.

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:

"First Love" by Emmy the Great. I rely a lot on pop culture references to find common ground with people; when someone can catch your concealed reference to a shared interest, even if it's a dumb joke, it creates an instant spark.

In this song, Emmy recounts a bittersweet and slightly traumatic story, all the while focusing on the song that was playing in the background, which is very much how I tend to remember things. To add another layer, she names the artist and version of the song, which gives a level of specificity and some ironic elitism to a certain extent (also very much my brand).

The cherry on top is the fact that quoting this very song brought me together with my current SO of seven years (as an away message on AOL Instant Messenger, throwback!)

#MAIPVibes for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - Tai Koga (2015)

Growing up, I lived in a very Asian neighborhood in San José where I felt supported by my kin. Comedy from Asians was something that brought us closer together and it really sparked inside me to care more about my own and other Asian’s culture. Comedians who spoke on the contrast between our parent's upbringing and my generation's upbringing were so fascinating. I can credit comedians such as Margaret Cho and Russell Peters for building this foundation personally. Being part of the Limewire generation, I made sure I had everything that featured Russell - sorry Russell. 

Comedy from Asians was something that brought us closer together and it really sparked inside me to care more about my own and other Asian’s culture.

Then I moved back to Japan. I almost felt alienated by my own people because of my Americanized upbringing. I really found refuge in music, and I gravitated towards artists who really didn’t give a shit about what other people thought about what they were making. That punk attitude really influenced me to start digging for music and to find cool shit that made other people excited. 

I feel that Asian women really push the boundaries in r&b and in punk/rock music. Asian women were the most neglected groups within the Asian community and they are channeling that emotional energy into music.

I feel that Asian women really push the boundaries in r&b and in punk/rock music. Asian women were the most neglected groups within the Asian community and they are channeling that emotional energy into music. The music comes from a generous place, and it’s really raw. Believe me, it’s really sick what’s going on in bedroom pop/bedroom producer music for Asians. 

I think it's a great time to be Asian. We have so much to tell, and I see the lack of representation in media more as an opportunity for us to craft and voice our perspectives. Big ups to my Asians who are in the creative fields and happy APAHM. You are beautiful, you have talent and you are unselfish. Deep down you care about your community and you care about your heritage. These are qualities other people can really learn from us. Especially when we are at a time when all of us know that a lot of things in the world is wrong, but we can’t quite find the root problem(s). Our fight for equality is different from other communities, and it takes time and exceptional mentors to figure that shit out.

My hope is that you find inspiration from this playlist. I hand you an arsenal of Asian artists so that you got receipts when people ask questions like, “where are the creative Asians?” 

I hand you an arsenal of Asian artists so that you got receipts when people ask questions like, “where are the creative Asians?” 

Blast this shit. It slaps.

Huge shout out to 88rising, just cus.

#MAIPVibes for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - Michael Aaron Butts (2016)

This is part of a series for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), in which we talk to #MAIPAlum about their music tastes, their identities, and how they intersect.

Three words to describe your playlist: 
Dark, Bombastic, and Loud

How did you curate this playlist?
I wanted this playlist to not only be reflective of the music that I've been into recently, but also somehow representative of my identity and experiences as a biracial,  Asian-American and black person. Growing up around both cultures and figuring out how to reckon with my Asian-American identity has definitely been a journey and is an ongoing process for me – which I think is reflected in the songs I selected, as they all to me have a bit of a soul-searching quality, most with deep, driving bass and darker undertones. But at the same time, I wanted this playlist to make people dance, be a celebration of identity and feature some of my favorite Asian artists out right now like Rich Brian, Yaeji and Saweetie.

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:
While I love all of these songs, one of my absolute favorites is 'Til It's Over by Anderson .Paak. Everything about it, the carpe diem-inspired lyrics, the way the beat builds and explodes into those magical xylophone synths, Anderson's voice, is all just really magical and brilliant. To me, the song expresses the joy of the journey and the fruits reaped from being wholly committed to something, whether it be to a relationship, career or life passion.

#MAIPVibes - James Ramseur (2016 & 2017)

Three words to describe your playlist:

A little different

How did you curate this playlist? 

I’ve been missing home a lot lately. We’ve all been through it; being away from home and missing our friends and how things were at home. For me, college back in Orlando was a cultural experience that opened up many different worlds to me. I was specifically surrounded by and immersed in Caribbean culture from the jump, and it took me moving away from Florida to realize how much it became a part of me.

The first part of the playlist is a tribute to my Caribbean and African friends and as the playlist progresses it goes into a more laid back vibe. Most of the time I’m not at work, I’m sipping on a French wine relaxing as much as possible and this is the perfect type of music for that. 

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:

Look What You’ve Done represents the fact that it’s okay to be vulnerable and express how you feel as a man.

#MAIPVibes for Women's History Month - Joon Park (2017 & 2018)

Three Words to describe your playlist:

    Queer, Electric, "Wig"

How did you curate this playlist?

As I was curating this playlist, I thought about the songs I listen to when I get ready to go out. I usually reserve two hours to get ready. In between showering, choosing the perfect outfit, and #beatingmymug – all while sipping on wine – getting ready is an incredibly important ritual for me; it's when I see myself coming to life and transforming into the Glamazon Femme I strive to be. 

So, the music I listen to is a fun balance of songs that you can belt out to and have a Whitney moment with AND music that you can bop and vogue and feel your oats to. 

Some songs are meant to empower women while other songs touch on the pain and vulnerable moments that come with identifying as femme. 

Finally, my playlist is inspired by the Spotify playlist "Songs that make gay people scream." If you are queer/POC/femme, you *might* scream while listening to these songs.

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:

     Normal Girl and 20 Something by SZA are really important songs to me; the lyrics speak to my trans experience and my anxieties as a young person trying to navigate (and lowkey conquer) the world. 

#MAIPVibes for Women's History Month - Shekinah Beepat (2015)

Three words to describe your playlist: 

For My Sisters

How did you curate this playlist? 

I curated this playlist while sharing yerba mate with my family (my family is full of strong women - my mom, grandma, sister, and myself). We were still groggy from a flight back from Buenos Aires.

Tell me about one song or artist on this playlist and what they represent to you:

Every song on this playlist means something special to me - they encourage me, refresh me, and pull at my heart strings. 

Just Breathe by Aisha Fukushima has been my life song lately. It's my bike riding in the sunshine, taking a long essential oil-enhanced shower, rolling around on my yoga mat, journaling with a cup of green tea song.