SXSW introduced various female Asian artists

Fiza Kuzhiyil

From the hills of Taiwan to a South Korean warehouse, Asian artists took over the virtual stage of the South by Southwest 2021 virtual music festival. Many streamed their performances from unique locations in their home countries, displaying a mixture of traditional Asian music and modern electronics to create unique sounds. 

The Daily Texan highlighted three notable female Asian artists at this year’s festival.

Enno Cheng

Taiwanese indie artist Enno Cheng played at the Taiwan Beats showcase on Thursday, March 18. As a singer, songwriter, actress, author, playwright and more, Cheng's music tells a story through melodies. Her vocals are sure to move listeners, even those who don’t understand the Mandarin lyrics.

At the virtual Taiwan Beats showcase, Cheng played with her band on a unique stage: an open field with greenery and mountains in the background. Immediately, the setting sets the tone of her ethereal performance. With strong control over her voice, Cheng performed “Jade,” a song about powerful women who persevere in protecting their beliefs. She switches from soft melodies to strong belts smoothly, all while a bass adds a rock edge to her indie sound.

With impressive vocals and beautiful melodies, fans of indie-rock are sure to love Enno Cheng.

South Korean alt-electronic duo HAEPAARY performed at the Flipped Coin KOREA showcase on Wednesday, March 17. The duo emulated a clear dark aesthetic as they performed in a large warehouse surrounded by electronic instruments and speaker wires haphazardly thrown around their feet.

They played, “A Sendoff for Ancestor Spirits,” a song that tells a haunting, yet beautiful story through gentle vocals and ominous electronics. The eerie warehouse they performed in went hand in hand with their lyrics illustrating themes of mortality and separation, creating a dark ambiance evident to listeners who may not understand Korean. They blend formal Confucian with rave music to create modern interpretations of historic themes. 

Electronic music fans will be captivated by HAEPARRY’s unique mix of traditional and modern instruments.


From Mumbai, India, Ambika Nayak, or Kayan, performed at the Third Culture showcase on Thursday, March 18. Sitting on an armchair with her arms wrapped around her knees, Kayan sang her soul infused music as if she was singing over a campfire with friends. Videos of her singing were mixed with videos of her favorite memories with her friends to help viewers visualize the inspirations behind her lyrics.

Singer, producer, DJ, model, actor and voiceover artist, Nayak mixes soul, electronic, pop and R&B to create a unique, lively sound. In her performance of “DFWM – Don’t Fuck With Me,” she combines electronic music with her R&B sound to make a strong statement about individual empowerment.

For R&B artists like SZA and H.E.R., Kayan is a must listen.