Giana William's "Music From Around the World" playlist is located on Spotify, as well as embedded below in this article. 

Discover Music in Various Other Languages Outside of English

For as long as I could remember, I always enjoyed listening to various genres of music and discovering new artists to expand my daily playlists. During my middle school and early high school days, I listened to these different genres to either find my “aesthetic” or attempt to fit in with the mainstream culture that most of my classmates were following. I was also trying to break away from the stereotype that Black people only listen to Hip-Hop and R&B, which were genres I didn’t necessarily enjoy listening to at the time.

It was around early 2017 I realized how most, not all, mainstream songs or artists have become repetitive and were not expanding their creativity out of their comfort zone. Yes, there were artists who came out with some amazing albums around that time, and still do, but I was searching for a genre or artist that would intrigue me enough to know the music industry had not plateaued. That’s when I decided to research music that wasn’t strictly in the English language.

South Korea, Japan and several other countries have produced so many hidden gems that not a lot of people know about because “they don’t understand the language.” But I’m here to tell you, if you can bop to any Spanish songs whenever you hear a Latin beat and manage to overplay “Despacito,” then you can listen to other songs not sung in English. Also, Google exists and you can simply translate the song if you want to understand what they’re saying. Here, I will provide you with quite a few Korean, Japanese and other foreign artists outside the English language that you may enjoy.


Despite the slight unneeded stigma on social media due to K-pop fans overuse of fancams (videos of idols dancing on stage), Korean music has become a lot more popular over the years, gaining a lot of attention in Western countries since “Gangnam Style” by Psy back in 2012. After listening to K-pop for about three to five years so far, I have discovered plenty of Korean artists from pop, Hip-Hop, R&B and indie genres. Here are just a few artists to help you ease your way into the Korean music world.


BTS may be the most popular Korean artists people think of when they think of K-pop. These seven guys, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook have been versatile with their music and have played around with all sorts of concepts and styles throughout their career such as Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop. They also have collaborated with a good number of western artists such as Halsey, Sia, Steve Aiko, Juice WRLD, Charli XCX and more.

Songs to check out:


Consisting of nine girls, Jihyo, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Mina, Sana, Dahyun, Chaeyoung and Tzuyu, Twice is known for their Bubblegum pop music style, which is a very popular style among girl groups in South Korea. In recent years, their style has matured a bit to a more “girl crush concept,” nevertheless they still maintain their original “cute, bubblegum” style.

Songs to check out:


Blackpink is another Korean group that has become more recognized in Western media in recent years. The four-member girl group, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa, have collaborated with a few well-known artists such as Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and Selena Gomez. Blackpink is known for their girl crush concept but often show off their “pink” side in a few of their songs.

Songs to check out: 


NCT, a 21 member group that is broken up into four different subunits: NCT U, NCT 127, NCT Dream and WayV (a Chinese subgroup), has produced so many songs that can correspond to your mood. Need a good workout song? Something to just bop to? Something a little more sensual? Trust me, they have songs for any of those moods.

Songs to check out: 


Other than anime openers and endings, I have discovered a good share of Japanese artists during my lifetime. As someone who’s learning Japanese and is intermediate in the language, listening to Japanese songs has not only helped me build my comprehension skills in the language, but I’ve also realized that Japan has artists and songs which have honestly been slept on, and I would love to share them with you all.

Songs to check out: 


Since Spanish is a more commonly recognized language in Western culture and a language we’re more used to hearing, we are more likely to listen to Latin music more so than other languages. Even then, the Latin community has a wide number of artists other than Shakira or Daddy Yankee that are just as great and have many songs that I feel like a lot of people would enjoy.

Songs to check out: 

Even though I only listed a handful, there is a wide variety of amazing artists and songs in several languages other than English that should be heard and I wish I could name them all. It’s great to explore out of your comfort zone to discover new songs you may not have thought you would like. Music is universal, so I encourage everyone to discover and listen to something new you’re not used to hearing or might not have been interested in and realize there are other amazing songs sung in all sorts of languages.

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