If You Love Kpop, Check Out These 7 Other Asian Music Genres

May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month across the United States and Canada. The tradition first started as a week  in 1978. In 1992, Congress decided to expand it to a month-long celebration. 

One way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month is to recognize the influences of Asian culture in our society. Asian music and film have made their way around the world, a case of the “Hallyu Wave” (which refers to the global fandom of Korean music and film). 

Whether you’re a K-pop fan or new to the genre, you can continue to discover more about Asian culture and music. Check out these music genres similar to K-pop that contribute to the music industry worldwide:  


C-pop, also known as “Chinese popular music,” consists of artists and bands from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Taiwan. C-pop contains three main branches:Cantopop (“Cantonese popular music”), Mandopop (“Mandarin popular music”), and Hokkien pop (“Taiwanese Hokkien popular music”). The genre started in Shanghai during the 1920s, taking inspiration from Western popular music and is characterized by love ballads, instruments from Chinese culture, and chord progressions. C-pop reached high levels of popularity in the 80s and is now making a comeback with fans in Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. 

Artists to check out: 


J-pop (“Japanese pop”) gained popularity in the 1960s.. In the 90s, the scene grew, leading to many groups selling out their albums. The genre is characterized by distinct chord changes, upbeat rhythms, and higher vocal pitches. J-pop is also heavily influenced by the blues, punk rock, and styled folk music genres. There are also plenty of kawaii (“cuteness” in Japanese) visuals that enhance the musical experience. 

Artists to check out:


Hailing from Kazakhstan, Q-pop is filled with dramatic music videos, creative choreographies, and known as the rival to K-pop. The first Q-pop group, “Ninety One,” debuted in 2015 and gained nationwide recognition. Since Kazakhstan is a socially conservative country, many people criticized the genre. Nevertheless, Kazakh youth learned more about their heritage through Q-pop, making it a valuable and entertaining genre. 

Artists to check out:


P-pop (“Pinoy pop”) is a Filipino pop music genre, with origins from Original Pilipino Music (OPM) starting in the 1960s and 70s. The songs are mainly in Tagalog, although some songs do occasionally have lyrics in other dialects. Similar to Q-pop, P-pop is a fairly new genre, with the first group debuting in the mid-2000s. Within the past decade, P-pop has had its fair share of success; in 2021, P-pop group SB19 was nominated for a Billboard Award. 

Artists to listen to:


T-pop (“Thai-pop”) emerged in the 1960s to 80s during the Vietnam War. The genre underwent many changes; in the early 2000s, K-pop and J-pop began to shape T-pop. The T-pop genre continues to draw inspiration from other genres, such as Thai rock, dance music and rap. 

Artists to check out:


V-pop (“Vietnamese pop”) fuses classical and pop songs. The genre started in South Vietnam during the 1960s and expanded worldwide. V-pop is sophisticated; the songs have multiple layers of meanings with unique melodies and lyrics. In 2021, V-pop gained popularity thanks to a global TikTok trend.

Artists to check out:


Indo-pop (Indonesian-pop) originated in 1970 and was primarily inspired by dance music. Since Indonesia  has a conservative government, many pop singers have faced backlash due to their explicit music videos and lyrics. As a result, whenever you listen to Indo-pop, never forget about the country’s history of colonization and the sacrifices which these artists have to make. 

Artists to check out:

If you’re a K-pop fan and looking to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, give a listen to some of the various music genres from the Asian diaspora. Remember, music not only brings happiness, but it also brings cultural unity. Once you’re done listening to the songs, let us know which one is your favorite in the comments!

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash


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