The 2017 Asian American Music Conference wrapped up with the Asian American Music Showcase. The showcase highlights a select group of featured artists, as well as up and coming Asian American music artists as selected by our selection committee.
2017 Featured Headliner: Tracy Cruz
Tracy Cruz has a voice that will melt even the toughest of hearts. This vocal powerhouse aims to connect communities with her universal language of love, hope, and happiness. Her unique musical and lyrical blend — Bay Area urban soul tinged with the influence of her indigenous Filipino roots –has captured the ears of music lovers around the world. Boasting a vocal range that might be bigger than her, Cruz emanates a classic and timeless feel.
Two full-length albums (Feel’osophy and Universoul Symphony) and an EP (Illuminate Love) have garnered numerous awards including two Bay Area Black Music Awards for “Best CD/Recorded Performance” and “Bay Area Rising Star” as well as Northern California Entertainers Music Award nominations for “Female Neo Soul Artist of the Year” and “Female Entertainer of the Year.” She has supported several established acts including: Kenny Lattimore, Miki Howard, Keke Wyatt, Bilal, and others. The songstress approaches her music unapologetically and freely, staying true to herself, while her stellar band “Instrumentali-T” provides a grown and sexy soundtrack for her vocal creations. They completed a 17-venue, 4 month “SOULShine Tour” around California in the summer of 2016. Most recently, she had a SOLD OUT dual CD release concert with R&B/Soul band Feelosophy at Yoshi’s in Oakland on 8/22/17.
Cruz continues to grow personally and musically, introducing a new chapter into her musical journey. Her newest award-winning single, “Losing in Love” is perhaps her most vulnerable composition to date. It is a prelude to the collection of raw emotions captured on her upcoming EP “H3artifacts.” Paired down to only a piano and vocals, the record conveys the ultimate form of musical vulnerability and fragility. Digging deep into a broken heart, the record explores themes of love, loss, pain, and hope. “I wrote ‘Losing in Love’ during a very painful time in my life. I felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces and I was losing everything all at once. I couldn’t stop crying so I poured out all of my emotions and wrote a song. It was a cathartic release,” shares Cruz. She is fearlessly exposed as she shares her personal journey of reclaiming self-love, perseverance, humility, resilience, and healing.
With her continued success and loyal fan base, this new release will not disappoint. She continues to tour and record as well as remaining a strong presence in her community, working with local youth as a vocal coach and mentor. She encourages them to follow their dreams to sing freely and wholeheartedly. She is currently finishing up her two EPs “Art of Facts” (produced by Grammy nominated producer Brandon Williams) and her LIVE EP “Purple H3artifacts”. Her musical trilogy will be released on 3/14/18. Tracy is currently nominated for two Hollywood Music in Media Awards and six Bay Area Black Music Awards. For more info and to buy her music: www.tracycruzmusic.com
2017 Community Artists:
Jenika Mae Fernando
Jenika Fernando is 11 years old and was recently elected as the School Representative for Glider Elementary School in San Jose, Ca. She is very active in the Musical Theater realm and was recently nominated for the Joshua Grant Brawn award by CMT San Jose, a nationally acclaimed theater organization and the oldest performing arts organization in San Jose. She will be playing the role of “Fiddler” for Fiddler on the Roof in Montgomery Theater, and other selected credits include Ti Moune from Once On this Island, Mushu from Mulan, Snoopy from Charlie Brown and Tinman from the Wiz. In the summer of 2016, she performed in the New York Theater Fest through the Broadway Workshop wherein she played one of the lead roles, Ashley, in Changing Minds. Jenika hones her music skills at PnC where she learns piano, music theory, bass, guitar, ukulele and voice. She is also a passionate dancer and assists in dance classes at PnC and attends NCDA for various dance styles. She is also an accomplished Taekwondo black belt student from Generations Taekwondo, obtaining gold medal at the US Open Nationals in 2014 and silver medal in 2015.
MANGO KINGZ is a group of bay area guys that joined together to put their own spin on the island reggae sound that spans generations. Through the years, the Mango Kingz have evolved and so has their distinct style. They strive to bring a little bit of that aloha spirit to the mainland, all for the love of a music that they got hooked on while on a family vacation. Over the years they have created their own buzz with their unique mixture of island, roots, and pop reggae, inspired by life on the “island” of the SF Bay Area. With the help of their loyal fanbase, they are now looking to share their positive vibes with the rest of the world!
The Mango Kingz have released several singles which have all reached the top 5 in the island reggae genre and garnered much success on radio stations on the islands. They are planning to release several more singles as they lead up to their Debut EP due out early next year. So definitely be on the look out for the exciting stuff headed your way.
Ruby Ibarra is a rapper and spoken word artist from the Bay Area, CA. She released her first mixtape, Lost in Translation, in December 2012, which was hosted by DJ Kay Slay and premiered on Shade 45 Radio. She has been featured on noted web-based publications such as XXL Magazine and MTV & VH1’s blogs. She recently released her full-length debut album titled CIRCA91 on October 3, 2017. The new album is available on all digital platforms. For more of her music, please visit: www.rubyibarra.com
Tamiko and Charlie
Since their chance meeting at a cafe, singer-songwriter Tamiko Wong and musician-storyteller Charlie Chin have become involved in a musical partnership. Tamiko, who has served as an arts administrator and state commissioner, became a mother and a complete life revolution was set into motion. Charlie is one of the pioneers of Asian American Music and with Nobuko Miyamoto and Chris Iijima, produced the first album of Asian American music, “Grain of Sand” in 1973.
Already popular at various venues in San Francisco’s Chinatown and Japantown, under the name “Tamiko and the Naughty Potatoes,” Tamiko & Charlie perform at open mics, sing-alongs, and community events. Drawing on Chinese, Japanese, Latin American, and California traditions, they offer a musical program that reflects America today.
2017 Showcase Artists:
My name is Aaron Le and I am 19 years old. I was born in San Jose, but raised in Sacramento. I currently go to school at Consumes River Community College and do music on the side. If it was up to me, I would devote 100% of my time to music. My parents are old school asian parents so school must come first but I know that my skills/talents go beyond that. I want to be able to open the doors for my family into a new light with my music. God blessed me with a great gift and I aspire to share it with the world.
In a world where drum machines and computer sounds dominate the musical landscape, Ellisa Sun aims to create genuine music with soul. Raised in the city of angels and now calling the San Francisco Bay Area home, Ellisa has found inspiration in artists such as Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Sam Cooke, and Feist. Ellisa blends old time soul music with R&B and more worldly influences like bossanova. This unique blend of genres has garnished some notoriety from local critics; Ellisa was named a top emerging artist by SF Deli magazine and SF weekly called her song “Unravel” “as near to perfect as any song could be” and “damn gorgeous”.
Vincent Bantasan, also known as “EVMB” is anationally top-ranked beatboxer out of Los Angeles, California. He began his beatbox journey in 2001 and since then has won many beatbox competitions around the nation. EVMB holds championship titles in Irvine 2x, Lancaster 2x, and Los Angeles. He travels around the USA performing at various schools and colleges. He has performed at historic venues such as: The Roxy, The Coliseum, The Whiskey, Troubadour, and others. EVMB has also performed with celebrity artists such as: Snoop Dogg, Childish Gambino, Diplo, Big Sean, Sublime with Rome, XZIBIT, and legendary hip hop artist, KRS-one. From Rock and roll to EDM and from Jazz to trap music, you will hear familiar songs personalized by his own style.. all done with just his voice! EVMB has taken the time to master the art, able to recreate full songs, with accompaniment by himself without instrumentation, able to sing a chorus and provide a backing beat simultaneously, able to invoke impressions of singers on a whim. He takes his beatboxing beyond the traditional hip-hop influences into a much wider range of contemporary styles.The ability to express himself through a different way gives him the opportunity to explore the art with different projects and concepts.
Armed with a guitar and an enigmatic, mournful voice, Genesis Fermin wades against the currents of today’s generation of singer-songwriters. She stands out from the sea of artists because she is all about well-crafted songs that reveal her ambitions, doubts and regrets. Her melodies reflect her soul and her words are snapshots of her life.
Korynn OC is known for laying down sultry, soulful vocals over electronic pop beats. Based out of San Francisco, Korynn’s “specialty is producing painfully honest lyrics and drizzling them with her honey coated vocal stylings,” Play Pretend Magazine. Formerly known as “Korynn O’Connell,” Korynn plays a variety of live shows throughout the East and West Coast, performing since the age of 6 after her father introduced her to music. She now plans to release a new single every month!
Lex the Lexicon Artist
LEX the Lexicon Artist is Taiwanese third-culture kid, UC Berkeley graduate, and music enthusiast Alex Sun Liu. Inspired by weird internet rappers, the Lexicon Artist draws on the rising brand of intellectual comedy rap. She combines bizarrely funny storytelling, complex rhyme schemes, personal lyrics, and sharp-witted commentary to deliver the unique perspective of a millennial Asian transplant living in the Bay Area.
RO3LAY, a San Francisco born-and-bred Filipino American MC situates his sound within the unique cultural fabric of SF and Bay Area Hip Hop. In collaboration with producer MISTER REY, his most recent project, “Native Immigrant” pays homage to both his motherland of the Philippines and the constant changing city of San Francisco. Breaking down the dualities of third world struggles and the inner city hustle and bustle, Ro3lay paints his tracks with street narratives, giving listeners a window seat to his life.
Rudy Kalma (Born September 1, 1994) is a Filipino-American artist and songwriter. Born in the Philippines and primarily raised in Daly City, California, Rudy pens introspective lines which are reinforced with impactful cadences. As of 2015, he has affiliated himself with the Rogue Wav Collectiv, a band of creative minds looking to expand their talents and reach global audiences. With his honest energy and lyrical stamina, Rudy outlines his worldly observations.
Thank you to the following non-profit organizations for being a part of our selection committee for this year’s performance showcase:
The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. Website
The Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) is a vital part of the rich tapestry of cultures and ethnic communities of the San Francisco Bay Area through its promotion of Filipino American art, music, film and dance.FAAE celebrates its ancestral heritage and contemporary traditions, broadening awareness and deepening the understanding of Filipino history, achievements and culture.
Founded in 1994, FAAE is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that contributes to the artistic and cultural pride of the Filipino American community and strives to be a meaningful community tradition among the many great ethnic institutions of San Francisco. Website
APAture is a multidisciplinary arts festival featuring the work of emerging Asian Pacific American (APA) artists local to the San Francisco Bay Area. Coinciding with Kearny Street Workshop’s 45th Anniversary, this year’s festival will showcase talent from artists unraveling their stories in film, literature, music, performance, book arts, and visual arts. From September 30 to October 28, over 60 artists will present their work to approximately 1,000 festival-goers across multiple dates and venues around the South of Market area. Website
Kollaboration is a non-profit organization, annual talent showcase, and grassroots movement to disrupt the status quo of mainstream media. Kollaboration sees artistry as one of the most effective and inspiring forms of activism. Kollaboration San Francisco’s core mission is to build bridges, out-create negative stereotypes, and promote diversity. Website
OACC builds vibrant communities through Asian and Pacific Islander (API) arts and culture programs that foster intergenerational and cross-cultural dialogue, cultural identity, collaboration, and social justice.
OACC envisions vibrant, healthy, and just communities where diverse Asian and Pacific Islander identities and heritage are affirmed and celebrated through cross-cultural exchange, intergenerational dialogue, and educational programming. Website
The Asian American Music Conference wraps up with the Asian American Music Showcase. The showcase highlights a select group of featured artists, as well as up and coming Asian American music artists as selected by our selection committee.
We are now accepting applications from Asian American music artists to perform and be a part of the music showcase. Application submissions will be reviewed based on original music and performance delivery, by a committee of professionals from various non-profit arts organizations.
Eligibility requirements include:
· Must have original music
· Be able to perform live for a minimum of 10 minutes
· At least one member must be of Asian descent (if a group)
· Selected artists are guaranteed one showcase slot
· Showcase slots run an average of 10-15 minutes
· Performing members will receive AAMC Showcase access and discounted AAMC conference badges
· AAMC does not cover talent fee, travel or accommodation expenses
Applications for the AAMC Showcase were closed on September 22, 2017. Thank you to everyone who submitted their information and music!