10 Significant Achievements by Asian Artists in Billboard Chart History: From Kyu Sakamato to PSY to BLACKPINK

While Asian artists have long been pioneers in modern music, a Billboard chart achievement can be career-defining, as both a reflection of individual commercial success and a symbol of further strides being made in global music. As the industry standard of measuring an artist’s mainstream influence, the Billboard charts have included superstars like BTS and BLACKPINK setting new standards for Asian artists in recent years — although the global rise of K-pop does not tell the full story of Asian music breaking through in North America. The first Hot 100 chart-topper by an Asian artist occurred decades earlier, and other artists made significant chart strides roughly a decade before K-pop fully boiled over into a mainstream phenomenon at the end of the 2010s.

Make no mistake: Asian artists still have an uphill battle when it comes to making noise on charts that dominantly feature songs and albums by Western musicians. Working to abide by music industry standards, transcend stereotypes and transmit genuine musical vision, the artists on this list broke down barriers in spite of setbacks and resistance. They’ve also caused waves of change by representing various Asian communities, including the AAPI community, showing the world all of the groundbreaking art (and big hits) that Asian performers can achieve.
In honor of AAPI Heritage Month in May, we’re highlighting 10 significant achievements by Asian artists in the history of the Billboard charts. Although this is hardly an exhaustive list featuring every notable chart achievement, these 10 stand out as momentous wins across sounds and styles. From CL’s solo debut to GOT7’s several World Albums W’s, these artists have helped pave the way for future generations of Asian and AAPI musicians.

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