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  • Writer's pictureAmi Row

5 Songs I Love w/ Kristian J

Kristian J is a queer Korean American singer/songwriter. Following the release of his new reggaeton informed single 'Maktub' we caught up with the artist to find out more about the music that inspires him. Make sure to check out 'Maktub' below!

1. Lady Gaga – Telephone ft. Beyoncé

One of my greatest musical influences has always been Lady Gaga, and this was the first song that really got me hooked onto her music and entire image. Not only is “Telephone” insanely catchy and different from other pop songs at the time, but the video is absolutely jaw-dropping. It’s almost 10 minutes long and yet I’ll never get bored of it. It tells a great story, has stunning, over-the-top visuals, and features iconic choreography. These are the kinds of elements that I want to emulate as an artist.

2. Fuel – Shimmer

In high school, I was a big fan of alternative rock, since that what was always playing on my local radio. This song in particular always hits me with a huge wave of nostalgia. It’s the perfect blend of edgy and sappy, plays a guitar riff that brings me to tears, and has solid lyrics. If this genre of music ever hits mainstream again, I’ll definitely be the first one on the bandwagon.

3. Beyoncé – Formation

I was a freshman in college when Lemonade came out, and it was truly all the rage. I remember subscribing to TIDAL just so I could listen to this album, and I had it on repeat for months. We already had a taste of Beyoncé’s shifting image from her last album, but there was something about this album that really struck me and my friends in awe. She was starting to get very political and avant-garde with her music, and to see a mainstream musician in the spotlight make that change with such bravery was really inspiring.

4. Danny Ocean – Me Rehúso

This will forever be one of my favorite songs. No Latin pop song can top this! I first heard the track when I was studying abroad in Mexico City about 4 years ago, and it was playing almost everywhere. If you went out clubbing, you’d be guaranteed to hear this song at some point of the night (which still might be true now). It was also back before reggaetón really hit the global mainstream, so songs like this really “completed” my study abroad experience. I’ve never gotten sick of this song despite how much it’s been played. It has the perfect melody matched with an emotional vocal quality that you don’t always hear in reggaetón.

5. Guru Randhawa – Lahore

As a pop artist, there are few things I appreciate more than a solid pop song, and that’s what this is. Reggaetón and KPop have already infiltrated the global market, and I’m so sure that Desi music is coming up next. Guru is definitely a sensation in countries like India and Pakistan, but I don’t think he’s that known worldwide, which is a shame because his music would absolutely take over our radios and TikTok. I would learn Punjabi just to able to sing along to his songs.

Remember to listen to 'Maktub' below!

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