Often when making small talk with people you've just met the subject of music comes up. Which means the invariable question of "what kind of music do you listen to?" or the alternative "who are your favorite artists?"
Being a world music DJ means that my favorite artists are those that most people outside of the US have never even heard of.
"Such as?" you ask. Well, such as Sanseverino a French singer/songwriter/guitarist influenced by Django Reinhardt but with a modern pop/jazz sound. Great fun and delicious music. Henri Dikongue from Cameroon. Acoustic guitar and warm, light, sweet vocals. Lesser known than most international African artists, but so wonderful. Omara Portuondo best known for her vocals with the Buena Vista Social club. This Cuban singer is probably in her 70s by now but that only makes her style more sophisticated and her voice richer.
Of those three, Omara Portuondo is probably the best known, simply because of her BVSC work. Within their own countries, the other two are well known and extremely popular.
The problem is that when I talk about the music I love, I get the impression that people think I'm a snob. I'm not. And I'm certainly not throwing out potentially obscure names to seem "in the know." It's just that I like music that you're not going to hear when you turn on the radio.
But, for the record, my favorite US artist of the past decade is Garth Brooks. So yes, I do like some popular artists. But honestly, I'd prefer to listen to Paris Combo. (Or Ken Hirai. Or Robert Mirabal. Or Tarras. Or....)