After releasing her banger ‘yellow fever’ earlier this month, visionary Thai dystopian pop artist Pyra has dropped a hot new video to accompany the track. Both the track and music video also features fellow music artists Yayoi Daimon (Japan) and Ramengvrl (Indonesia).
An artist who tackles socio-cultural issues through her relatable music, ‘yellow fever’ is an empowering track conveying Pyra’s disgust at offensive Asian stereotypes using strong messaging and dark humour.
The song touches on topics such as outdated gender roles, racial blindness, and cultural appropriation – commonly occurring issues that are rarely addressed in popular music. Joining forces with Yayoi Daimon and Ramengvrl, Pyra uses ‘yellow fever’ as an audacious approach to shine a light on the creative power Asian women hold and to address issues faced by Asians across the globe.
On the meaning behind the song, Pyra explains,
“Yellow fever is a nasty fetish towards Asian women. And yes, we have had enough. This song ‘yellow fever’ is one catalyst I’m throwing out there for change. Change will never come if you sit back and wait for it. Change starts from you.”
The three artists portray their disgust with Asian fetishisation and stereotypes through the daring visuals of their empowering song.
Why address this topic now and through pop music, you might ask?
Pyra is an artist who tackles socio-cultural issues through her music. Says Pyra about her unconventional approach,
“In all my videos, it’s important for me to give the world something they’ve never seen before. I hate giving people what they want—it’s boring. I like surprises. No one gets what they want in my world. It’s twisted. It’s exciting. You can always expect the unexpected from Pyra.”
In “yellow fever”, she uses strong messaging and dark humour to convey her disgust and exasperation at racial violence commonly faced by Asian women – nasty fetishisation, stereotypes, outdated gender roles, and cultural appropriation. These are issues rarely addressed in popular music, but Pyra is determined to make a difference with her music to empower the disenfranchised, Asian women in particular.
“Some men travel to Thailand for happy endings in Soi Cowboy. Some men travel to Tokyo hoping to end up in some Shinjuku love hotels with Japanese girls they saw on Pornhub. Yet the first thing they say to local girls is ‘Ni Hao’.
The fetishizism of asian bodies and cultural insensitivity is high. Asian women are often seen as submissive and I want to change that. So many women are leaders, CEOs, business owners now. People have to refresh the stereotype imagery they have in their heads. Asian women like Ramengvrl, Yayoi Daimon, and I are the opposite of what the world expects of our kind. We say what we think. We know what we want. We’re bold and fearless. To all my girls out there, if they ever feel like doing so too, they should be able to without having to second guess themselves.”
Pyra is not one to shy away from tackling difficult topics through her music. She is determined to create art that is thought-provoking with the ability to drive positive social change. Her unique genre of dystopian pop, with roots in hip hop and alternative sounds infused with a touch of Asian influence, addresses head on issues Pyra is passionate about – such as social justice, climate change, feminism, mental health, and spirituality.
Since her debut in 2016, Pyra has been making waves globally. Kicking off her career as Apple Music’s Best New Artist in 2016, she has received notable recognition as JOOX’s Spotlight Artist in 2018, and Delegates favourite act @ Bangkok Music City 2019, Apply Music’s Hot Artist in 2020, and was most recently featured on The NME 100: Essential Emerging Artists for 2021. She was the first and only Thai artist to perform at Burning Man (US) and awarded the Best Act at Zandari Festa (2019). For “yellow fever”, Pyra has secured coverage all across Southeast Asia from outlets such as NME Asia, JPNN (ID), and MSN Entertainment (PH).