Record label paving the way for Asian artists in all genres in America

88rising has been a key driver in globalizing the music scene.

May 18, 2024, 6:04 AM

Over the years, the U.S. music industry has experienced significant growth in representation, with artists achieving success in K-pop, reggaeton, Afrobeats and beyond — genres that previously lacked diversity.

Sean Miyashiro, founder and CEO of 88rising, has been a key driver in globalizing the music scene for Asian artists. The company is a popular musical platform and record label for Asian American and Asian artists releasing music in the United States.

"We were the first to kind of really be known," Miyashiro said. "This is what we represent, this is what we stand for, and this is what we're going to do, in our own way. And so I think it's quite special."

VIDEO: 88rising: Inside the movement celebrating Asian artists
VIDEO: 88rising: Inside the movement celebrating Asian artists

Founded in 2015, 88rising has transformed from a management company to a well-known media brand. 88rising became one of the first one-stop-shops for Asian creatives, representing artists such as Atarashii Gakko!, Rich Brian, Joji, and Niki.

These international pop stars have not just made a mark, but have significantly shaped the American music scene.

"As things started to get bigger and our audience grew around the world, not just America," Miyashiro said. "We also feel like we have a responsibility and like, what is that responsibility? It's to just make really good art."

The company has expanded into film and live events while focusing on promoting Asian artists in mainstream culture. This is a testament to the influence and talent of Asian artists, a reality that surely resonates with Miyashiro, the mastermind behind the annual Clouds Festival, celebrated as the premier music festival for the Asian diaspora.

Its official name, "Head In The Clouds," is a two-day festival held at the historic Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York, on May 11 and 12. According to the 88rising website, the festival was one of the biggest AAPI Heritage celebrations nationwide.

With the festival, 88rising aims to showcase Asian and Asian American talent, elevating emerging artists in genres like hip-hop, J-pop, and electronic dance from the United States, South Korea, and Indonesia.

The label signed artists such as Rich Brian and Warren Hue, Indonesian rappers who are making their mark in the American hip-hop scene.

"Just watching 88, I just felt like they were so connected to the culture," Hue said. "Just having like, having them being Asian kind of made me feel like, wow, this is like a really cool thing. I feel like they can give me an opportunity to shine."

Hue told ABC News that he was a big fan of hip-hop while growing up in Indonesia, borrowing elements of the genre to create his own unique style.

"I would say sometimes people would feel surprised," Hue said. "They wouldn't expect I would do like, you know, this type of music, a blend of R&B, hip-hop. It doesn't matter what you look like. It doesn't matter what type of music you make. As long as you feel confident about the music you make."

88rising assembles a diverse lineup across various genres such as hip-hop, R&B, pop, rock and electronic, intentionally avoiding a single genre, inspiring other creatives to follow their path.

In recent years, more culturally specific record labels have emerged in the U.S. 88rising is helping to create a global crossover in the music industry.

"I hear a lot of people saying, 'Oh, we want to be the 88rising for Africa,'" Miyashiro said. "You know, 'We want to be the 88rising for India.' People see us from afar and they're like, 'I want to do that.'"