Taiwanese Artists at SXSW Show the Beauty of Music Without Borders


The well-known bar Elysium was cramped during the Taiwan Beats showcase on Mar 14. / Photograph: GCA Entertainment Facebook Page

The Ministry of Culture and GCA entertainment worked in unison this year to create the Taiwan Beats Showcase for the South by Southwest festival (SXSW) in the Austin, Texas; U.S.A. This year five artists performed at the event: Hello Nico, MATZKA, Jade Eyes, DJ QuestionMark and Miss Ko. The performance lasted six hours inside the well-known bar Elysium. The warmth of MATZKA’s performance and Miss Ko’s hip hop style showed the ability of Taiwanese artists. James Minor, the most important decision maker and SXSW’s program manager, visited the performance twice, demonstrating that Taiwan Beats has become a sensation that cannot be ignored.

This year before the five artists representing Taiwan had even taken to the stage, anticipation was building. In addition to James Minor attending and making a speech at the media welcome reception, music industry legend Randy Jackson also sent representatives from his office to observe. Also of note, from a pool of more than 1,500 acts performing, Miss Ko was voted by event goers as one of the top 10 most anticipated acts, achieving the rank of 5th, whilst Jade Eyes attracted the attention of SXSW organizers and received an invitation to perform an encore performance, all before actually taking to the stage.

The five artists posed at the SXSW press conference. / Photograph: GCA Entertainment Facebook Page.

The Taiwan Beats Showcase took place in the venetian style Elysium club from 8PM until 2AM on Mar 14th. Gradually over time the SXSW showcase has taken on a style of artists representing themselves and their countries. Hello Nico, a new comer was this year's lead performance. Hello Nico is also a nominee of a Golden Melody Award. Lead singer Zhan Yu Ting filled the space with a sense of somber beauty through her haunting voice and movements creating a wonderful audio-visual display that left the audience applauding. Following this crowd favorite MATZKA performed his reggae style, injecting a rich, warm feeling into the Texan atmosphere. He left the crowd roused and animated.

Jade Eyes was composed of three female singers, whose soft melodic voices pair well with somber beauty of Hello Nico’s music. Jade Eyes demonstrated the uniqueness of the music to be found in Taiwan. DJ QuestionMark was up next. DJ QuestionMark was the winner of the 2011 DMC world champion in Taiwan. He possesses a love for vinyl records and is already a large sensation on the British music scene, with his fresh sense of rhythm; even managing to mix the flute into his performance. DJ QuestionMark is a great example of Taiwanese artists “making it” into the international market.

The final act was Miss Ko, this year’s most anticipated singer amongst Taiwanese artists. Miss Ko is also a winner of a Golden Melody award. Miss Ko is a very popular artist having had her music featured in advertisements and being photographed for magazines. Despite coming after five hours of other performers, Miss Ko did not disappoint and took to the stage with a charm and confidence that left party-goers and James Minor speechless.

The Taiwan Beats showcase of the night created a sensory feast through its diversified performance. This year’s Taiwan Beats showcase lived up to the high quality that has been set by previous years representatives. The people and local media had previously selected TOFFEE as the fifth most outstanding group performance in 2015. At the 2016 SXSW the three largest media outlets: ABC, Fox and NBC all started reporting on SXSW performances having allowing Taiwan to receive more media attention and the benefits that come with it. The continuation of Taiwan’s participation in the SXSW music and technology event is a worthwhile endeavor that illustrates the ability that is in Taiwan.