“Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery.” It’s a phrase that’s well-known and is undoubtedly true in the world of music covers, where artists take songs and put their own spin on their favorite tracks.
For many, like us here at Audrey, finding well-made covers of popular tracks is like searching for gold — it can be a hard search, and you may have to sift through a lot of crap, but it’s amazing once you find it.
Sure, there are thousands of covers online, but what makes these special? In a musical landscape that has yet to fully open up to Asian/Asian American acts, YouTube has emerged as a prime platform for young Asian American artists to connect with fans, show off their musical talents and share their own music, on their own terms — and that’s an amazing thing.
These “YouTube stars” have gained fame through their creative musical stylings of Top 40 hits, and some of our personal favorites are below!
Gabe Bondoc – The Way (Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller)
This stripped down of this ’90s-Mariah Carey-esque song keeps the feel-good emotions of the song. Gabe’s soulful vocals coupled with the song’s loving lyrics and his skillful handling of Mac Miller’s raps are a perfect fit, making you almost forget that it’s a cover.
Passion – Somebody that I Used to Know/Are You That Somebody (Gotye/Aaliyah)
Just watch this. It’s amazing. Really.
Lydia Paek – Bad Boy (Big Bang)
The Quest Crew member, turned producer for K-Pop heavyweight YG Entertainment, (her credits include Park Bom’s “Don’t Cry” and Lee Hi’s “1234“) sings the Big Bang hip-hop ballad with an effortless cool that makes you want to put this on repeat. Lydia and Bigbang’s Taeyang have also joked about covering GD’s “In the End,” and with this cover proving her musical chops, we hope they end up following through.
Jeni Suk – Suit & Tie (JT)
Jeni puts a slower, R&B vibe on JT’s “20/20” debut single, a perfect take on the track, if you ask us.
AJ Rafael & Albert Posis – That Should Be Me/Wedding Dress (Justin Bieber/Taeyang)
In this early morning cover, this duo skillfully combines these two ballads, likely much to the delight of both Beliebers and VIP’s (Justin Bieber and Bigbang’s fandoms, respectfully).
Joseph Vincent & Jason Chen – “I Want it That Way” (Backstreet Boys)
If you’re a ’90s kid, there’s no doubt that you know the words of this song. Joseph Vincent and Jason Chen channel their inner boyband and take on the BSB classic (with a cute video to match!).
Paul Kim & David So – “I Need a Girl” (Taeyang)
The soulful Paul Kim teams up with funny man David So and guitarist Abe Lim for this almost-too-sweet-for-words cover of Taeyang’s K-Pop hit.
Us – “We Found Love” (Rihanna)
Michael and Carissa Alvarado, who make up the uber-talented duo Us, strip down the Rihanna hit and impress with their beautiful harmonies. Knowing that they’re together in real life makes the cover pull at your heartstrings that much more.
And while these are just a couple of our picks, let us know what some of your favorites are!