Asian American Music Conference seeks to turn up the volume on representation in the industry

SAN FRANCISCO — Seeking to strengthen the Asian American music industry, aspiring artists networked and learned with music professionals in this one-day event, at the Asian American Music Conference.

Originally launched in 2003 through 2006, the goal of the conference is to bring together Asian Americans, and increase representation in the mainstream music industry.

“I think there are opportunities out there but it’s limited,” says founder Christina Luna. “There isn’t one way, but being Asian and Asian American definitely presents its own challenges.”

90’s dance music icon Jocelyn Enriquez says she was happy to provide mentorship to new Asian musicians.

Enriquez says that though putting out music may be easier, thanks to the internet, but she still offers advice on how to maintain their longevity.

She also speaks highly of the new Filipino musical talents who continue to make names for themselves.

“It’s very exciting to know that there is a resurgence of a movement because I remember back in the day, it was so fun to be able to proclaim that I’m proud to be Pinay.”

Melissa Polinar became a popular artist through YouTube back in 2009 with this video, which has over one million hits to date.

She says that originality and talent are key, especially since it’s harder to get discovered on YouTube these days.

“YouTube was still the great frontier when I was using it, when I first used it. Not a lot of YouTubers were around,” Polinar said. “Nowadays, YouTube is so saturated.”

Polinar adds that she remains hopeful to see more Filipino artists become successful in the music industry.

“The message for me, for new artists, or for kids out there who want to do music, is to just do music and do it as authentically as possible, and do it as a vehicle to make positive change.”

The Asian American Music Conference looks to continue to strengthen relationships with artists and their mentors, with more workshops and events in the future.

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