Established in September 2021, ESEA Music is a non-profit community group led by and for UK-based East & Southeast Asian music industry professionals and artists with over 350 members. As individuals we have all felt the need for kinship as visible representation of ESEA (East & Southeast Asian) people across the arts, media, politics and certainly the music business is lacking. As well as providing a supportive network and a sense of belonging, it is our aim to create better representation and raise awareness of ESEA professionals and artists within the UK music industry. With the rise of underground and mainstream artists of ESEA descent in the UK breaking through, it feels timely to build a network to not only support the existing professionals and the new talent coming through but to pass down our wisdom to the next generation of ESEA professionals and artists.
Artists who are members include Rina Sawayama, Congee, Yunè Pinku, Lucy Tun, Lucinda Chua, Andrew Hung (ex-Fuck Buttons), Emmy The Great, Object Blue, LVRA, Mui Zyu, Matt Tong (Algiers / ex-Bloc Party), Miso Extra, Sarah Bonito (Kero Kero Bonito), Meyy and more. Professionals who are members span the industry including Spotify, Sony, Apple Music, Universal, BBC, PIAS, Warp, 4AD, AWAL, Ninja Tune, TaP Music, Eastern Margins, and many more.
ESEA is a diverse community, and we respect the differences between our regional culture and are here to foster better understanding of different forms of experience and discriminations that have been faced. Whilst creating space for ourselves we also stand alongside other POC communities in solidarity.
Inspired by the work, discourse and the actions of grassroot and established groups such as Eastern Margins, Asian American Collective, Black Artist Database, Black Music Coalition, ESEA Sisters, Ladies Music Pub, Shesaid.so, Daytimers, besea.n and many more, we offer a voice and community for UK based ESEA music industry professionals and artists now, and in the future.
In May 2023, we conducted a first of its kind survey of our members in conjunction with product research and strategy studio 100kicks, probing their experiences in the UK music industry in relation to their cultural identity and heritage. Over 80 members participated in the survey, sharing thoughtful and generous reflections, which we published in Sept 2023.
In sharing these results from our membership survey, ESEA Music invites you to get “(re) orientated” with us. The concept of “orientating”, as used here, derives from Orientalism, the academic theory coined by Edward Said. In a nutshell, the theory describes a particular lens through which Asian countries and people have been viewed by Western authors and creators. This “(Re) Orientated” survey invites readers to see our community on our terms, through the voices of ESEA Music and our members. Full report here.
This report was funded by The Supporting Act Foundation’s inaugural Community Grant program from WeTransfer.