Culture and music: Filipino-American breaks barriers as an Asian rapper

Photo courtesy of @EljayManabat

Meet Christian Kuya, a Filipino-American recording artist with lots to prove to new fans and the industry. Kuya’s recently released debut EP, Kuya, has a hit single, “Fiji,” that fans can’t seem to get enough of. The making of “Fiji” stemmed from a simple drink of water. “I just heard the beat and thought about the [waviest] thing I could think of and I was drinking a Fiji water at that time. The rest is history,” Kuya stated.

Rolling out had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Kuya to learn more about his new music, artistry goals, and infused culture.

As a Filipino-American, can listeners expect culturally fused music in the future?

Of course, everything I do represents myself, and where I’m from. I speak a lot about growing up in Manila and the differences between there and what I go through here in America. I moved to the states when I was 12 years old with my family, so I’m always using old memories of home in my music.

In selecting the perfect produced track for a song, what do you look for?

It just gotta be a vibe, no real way to describe it other than that. If it doesn’t make me move and feel something within 10 seconds, it’s not the beat I want. I like to work with the same producers because they have my sound every time. BeatsMode Music, 808 Mafia’s Nonstop Da Hitman, DJ Relly Rell, Chad Keyz, they’re all super dope, and always give me what I need from a production standpoint to make the best music possible.

When creating the perfect song, do you typically write the lyrics first or create a melody and go from there?

I like to catch the vibe of the song. I mostly just hum whatever melodies come in my head first, record that part, then go back and fill in the hums with real words that feel right. It’s a slower process but it works for me. I record at home, so I’m on my own time and can stop/start working on any song at any time, cause it’s not a rushed process. I definitely take my time with every song, and won’t put it out until I’m 100% comfortable with the result.

As an up-and-coming artist, what do you want new fans to know about you as an artist?

I’m going to be here for a long time; hopefully, you join me on the journey, and tell your friends about me. There aren’t many Asian (Filipino) artists in the states that are really doing big things for the culture and that’s something that always bothered me, because people always told me because I’m Filipino, it was gonna be impossible for me to “make it,” and that’s always stuck in my mind as motivation. I make good music (at least I think so) and I’m not gonna stop until the world knows I’m out here, too.

Be sure to connect with Kuya on Instagram, @ChristianKuya

Georgia Doll

Curator. Publicist. Social Media Specialist. Graduate of Clark Atlanta University.

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