Music

2010s Biggest Trends in the OPM Scene

Mabuhay! Kumusta? It’s been a while since I have created my last blog post. I bet everybody’s enjoying the holidays. 🙂

We’re a few days away to 2020, which meant that this decade is about to end. In the OPM scene, a lot of trends have been set by the industry. Allow me to cite some of these trends.

ARTISTA-SLASH-RECORDING ARTISTS

This trend has been existent in the Philippine film and music industry since the advent of the studio system in the 1950s-1960s. Due to these artistas‘ monumental popularity, TV stations, film production companies, and recording companies have been seeing this still as a lucrative industrial practice. Such practice is not only a good offering to their fans, but also one of the effective marketing tools for every celebrity. Some of the actors who fall in this category are Anne Curtis, Alden Richards, Kim Chiu, James Reid, Nadine Lustre, and Ken Chan.

EX-KONTESERAS

Sarah Geronimo is undeniably one of the biggest superstars who had her roots from winning Star for A Night. While Geronimo has been reaching the “Tala” as a dance-pop singer, more and more singing competition alumni have been making waves in the industry.

Angeline Quinto started the 2010s generation of singing competition alumni when she won Star Power in 2011. Since the start of the decade, Quinto has been consistently commissioned to perform some of the theme songs for ABS-CBN’s drama series and Star Cinema’s movies.

Angeline Quinto’s winning song, “Patuloy Ang Pangarap”

KZ Tandingan broke the biritera mold when she won X-Factor Philippines in 2012. While most of her kontesera contemporaries showed their vocal prowess through stratospheric vocal ranges, Tandingan did another way. She showed her vocal prowess through improvisations, such as scats. Not to mention, she was shown such skill when she joined a Chinese singing competition called “Singer” in 2018.

The singing competition scene in the Philippine music scene looked bigger when a Filipinized franchise of The Voice went on-air. The Voice of the Philippines, as well as its counterpoints for younger singers (The Voice Kids and The Voice Teens), have produced some of the now-bigger names in the Philippine music industry, such as Daryl Ong, Morissette Amon, and Elha Nympha.

With the return of the Idol franchise in the Philippines, it gave names in the industry, such as Zephanie Dimaranan, as well as the iDolls Lucas Garcia, Enzo Almario, and Matty Juniosa.

Zephanie Dimaranan’s winning song, “Pangarap Kong Pangarap Mo,” written by Jonathan Manalo

iDolls Matty Juniosa, Lucas Garcia,and Enzo Almario with their cover of “Dalaga.”

Upon the return of Tawag ng Tanghalan on air in 2016 as one of the major segments of It’s Showtime, this homegrown brand has raked millions of views of its contenders’ performances and brought the TNT Boys (Francis Concepcion, Mackie Empuerto, and Keifer Sanchez) to stardom, here and abroad. It has also launched TNT Records, a subsidiary of Star Music for Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime alumni. Season 1 Runners-up Sam Mangubat and Froilan Canlas have also topped the MOR Dyis Is It charts this year. While it has produced three regular seasons, one kids’ edition, one celebrity edition, and an All-Star Grand Resbak, it is about to launch its fourth season this January 2020.

The TNT Boys’ first original song, “Together We Fly,” written by Chochay Magno.
Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime Season 2 Grand Champion Janine Berdin’s “Nasa Puso,” Kadenang Ginto’s theme song.
Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime Season 1 Grand Champion Noven Belleza’s winning medley of Air Supply’s songs.
Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime Season 3 Grand Champion Elaine Duran’s winning version of Shanti Dope’s “Nadarang.”

SOFT FEMALE VOCALS

Powerful voices have prevailed in the Philippine music industry for such a long time. However, it also paved way to the industry’s softest yet heartfelt vocals. In connection to hugot culture, ex-commercial jingle singer and The Voice of the Philippines alumna Moira dela Torre made her biggest break when she performed “Malaya” as the official soundtrack of 2016 film “Camp Sawi.”

Other singers followed suit, such as Janine Teñoso.

THE BURGEONING RAP SCENE

While the late Francis Magalona and Gloc 9 have been the most celebrated rappers in the Philippine rap scene, a lot of rappers followed suit. One of the biggest solo rap acts of the decade is Shanti Dope, who released the following songs: “Nadarang,” “MAU,” “Shantidope,” “Amatz,” and many more.

ALLMO$T’s “Dalaga” became widely popular when social media influencer Mimiyuuh’s video of her doing a wacky facial expression went viral on social media.

Social media influencer Mimiyuuuh’s humorous interpretation of the Dalagang Filipina.

Ex Battalion became one of the biggest groups in the Filipino music scene in 2017 when they released a heartbreak anthem, “Hayaan Mo Sila.”

Other rap artists that made their name in the 2010s Filipino rap scene were Panty Droppaz League, Ron Henley, Nik Makino, and Arvey.

NEWER SOUNDS

The indie scene is never left behind, as a lot of bands have introduced newer styles in the 2010s. Some of the biggest players from the indie scene that broke into mainstream are Ben&Ben, IV of Spades, and December Avenue.

The juan karlos band led by The Voice Kids alumnus Juan Karlos Labajo also made it big in the Filipino music industry with the monster hit, “Buwan.” It has the art song-like feel and lyricism with rock instrumentations.

These trends have proven that the OPM scene remains alive. In this digital age, the next big thing may be either one of the indie acts that would go viral or one of the singing competition finalists. Basically ANYONE.

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Music

The Big Shot Experience

DISCLAIMER: This blog entry is based on the author’s experience as one of the performers in the said event.


Last September, my family was watching ASAP when the TNT Boys did a production number with ASAP Divas Morissette Amon, Bituin Escalante, and Klarisse de Guzman. The TNT Boys revealed that time that they are going to hold their major concert in Araneta Coliseum, much to my delight, as well as my mom’s. They started to sell the tickets a month after this, which signaled me to go to Ticketnet to buy a ticket as the concert tickets might sell out fast as the concert day goes near. I initially wanted to write a review on the TNT Boys’ concert since they have been making waves both here and abroad.


Guess what actually happened? I ended up becoming part of their sold-out concert, much to my excitement. But how?!


One Wednesday afternoon, I was doing my EPAPC duties at home (through my laptop) when my phone beeped. I got a Facebook message from TNT’s vocal coach Froilan Canlas who invited me to do backing vocals with the BFFC Singers (a vocal group composed of his supporters and friends) for the TNT Boys’ production number on Showtime, two days from then. I said “Yes” since my schedule was free on that day and this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Backup singer mode ON. Hmmm…  Know the assigned piece by heart. Don’t be late. Don’t forget your costume (Including makeup!). Those were the top three performer’s commandments. It was a good thing that I was still able to remember those top three rules so I was at my calmest during our performance in Showtime. I remembered being too stiff during my previous days as a chorister, especially in media-oriented events. What I did was just to focus on the performance itself: the parts, the blockings, as well as instructions from the stage manager. I kept on reminding myself constantly to just look at the studio audiences to counter my nervousness. Overall, our performance went well. We just had to wait for a few days regarding our possible appearance in the TNT Boys’ Concert in Araneta.

To know more about our stint with the TNT Boys in Showtime, here is the link: https://thewanderingmuseician.com/2018/11/18/hear-the-angels-voices/


It was roughly a week when we learned that the BFFC Singers’ performance in Araneta will push through. We were advised that apart from O Holy Night, Jingle Bells and Carol of the Bells will also be performed. Two sessions (Only went to one as I had evening classes in graduate school on the other day.) of technical rehearsals in ABS-CBN were held days before the performance.

NOVEMBER 30, 2018
The stars are born!!! The Big Shot Trio TNT Boys held their sold-out concert called “Listen: The Big Shot Concert” at the Araneta Coliseum with a jam-packed crowd. The Kids’ Choice Host Eric Nicolas, “Ate Girl” Jacque Gonzaga, and “Kuya Escort” Ion Perez were the front acts which helped the audience become more energized throughout the show. The TNT Boys commenced their show with an arrangement of Jennifer Holiday’s “And I Am Telling You” with an explosive “TNT” LED background. All three of them channeled their stellar vocal power and blend as they brought the entire house down. 
They next performed a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Words” and “Too Much Heaven,” the first impersonation they did in the second season of Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids, which became a viral video. It was followed by a performance of Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” together with Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1 Grand Champion Noven Belleza, Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids Grand Champion Jhon Clyd Talili, and Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2 Grand Champion Janine Berdin. They ended the segment with Queen’s “Somebody To Love.”


Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids alumni Xia Vigor, Onyok Pineda, Sheenna Belarmino, Noel Comia, Esang de Torres, Chun-sa Jung, and Krystal Brimner did a reprise of the impersonations they did in the said show. Xia, dressed as Taylor Swift, performed “You Belong With Me” while Onyok, dressed as Steven Tyler performed “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.” Sheenna made the audiences cheer with amazement as she performed Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” in the style and look of KZ Tandingan. Theater actors Noel Comia Jr. and Esang de Torres performed a la Mick Jagger and Liza Minnelli respectively where they showed their best in both vocal and stage projection. Chun-sa performed “All About That Bass” in both the vocal and fashion style of Meghan Trainor while theater actress Krystal Brimner showed the vulnerable side of Miley Cyrus as she performed “Wrecking Ball.” 


The TNT Boys brought the entire house once again as they returned onstage as Jessie J (Mackie), Ariana Grande (Keifer), and Nicki Minaj (Francis). They performed their winning piece in Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids called “Bang Bang.” Francis showed his swag-worthy but clearly-enunciated rapping skills and he was in Nicki’s character throughout the song.

A quick banter between the Big Shot Trio and singer comedienne K Brosas (dressed as Jessie J) took place before K performed a cover version of Jessie J’s “Price Tag.” 


The trio’s number with Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids coach Jed Madela was a powerful one, as they performed Sergio Mendes’s “Bridges” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Their performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” reminded me of Eumee’s performance during the Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1 Grand Finals because of the song’s last instrumental part. Jed finished the segment with his version of John Lennon’s “Stand By Me.”

Wtih Mr. Jed Madela


In one of the interviews conducted on ABS-CBN, the TNT Boys revealed that a dance number will be included, which they actually did in the concert. They performed a medley of K-Pop songs (Wondergirls’ “Nobody,” Blackpink’s “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du,” 2NE1’s “Fire,” and Momoland’s “Boom Boom”)  with a futuristic LED background, reminiscent of video games.

They next performed Spice Girls’ “Viva Forever,” with two aerial silk dancers, storybook-like setting, and male choir (from BFFC Singers) in the band area. It was followed by a heavenly version of Beyoncé’s “Halo” and a powerful “The Greatest Showman” number, “A Million Dreams.” It was after this number when we were asked to standby.


The TNT Boys performed “Bawat Isa Ay Bata,” official theme song of Bantay Bata 163 where they have donated the cash prize they have obtained from The Kids’ Choice.


With Sir Froi on keyboard, the trio performed “I Wanna Look That Way.” As they performed the said song, the songs lyrics were flashed on the LED backdrop.

With Sir Froi, the man behind the TNT Boys’ stellar vocal blend, as well as the formation of the BFFC Singers


Comedian Vice Ganda was the biggest act among that night’s guests as the crowd roared when he appeared in his unicorn-like costume. The TNT Boys were wholeheartedly thankful for Meme Vice who was one of the reasons why the TNT Boys were formed.

They performed DoReMi (Donna Cruz, Regine Velasquez, and Mikee Cojuangco)’s “I Can.” Meme Vice was extremely spontaneous that he continued doing his usually impromptu banter. He encouraged everyone to watch his upcoming film “Fantastica” before he exited the stage.


The BFFC Singers (where I became part of), conducted by the Songsmith himself, opened the Christmas segment with their version of Ukranian carol based from the folksong “Shchedryk,” “Carol of the Bells.” I first learned this song back in high school and it was extremely crucial for the words to be clearly enunciated. This has been one of the challenging songs for choirs, not only because of its speed. Crispness is a must for this piece.

BFFC Singers!


Okay, back to the show, we, together with the TNT Boys performed Jingle Bells, complete with Christmas elements. I personally enjoyed doing this number as I found this quite cute. I ended up smiling during the entire song. We next did O Holy Night. This time, the boys’ whistles were executed more neatly.

A live choral doll? 🙂  I kept on thinking about Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf because of my bowtie. This is one of the cutest costumes I have worn in my entire existence as a performer.

Petula Clark’s “Downtown” and Jessie J’s “Flashlight” were the songs dedicated to the trio’s supporters. As they performed “Flashlight” a live feed of the Araneta audiences were shown. The show ended with the boys’ emotional version of Beyonce’s “Listen,” the song that became a road to their success.


Of all the choral performances I have been part of, I have enjoyed doing this the most. The atmosphere was quite light and I felt I was able to deliver with minimal tension. I have always reminded myself to keep calm, focus, and enjoy.


Going back to the concert itself, the theme for each segment was not only kid-friendly. The songs performed by the trio were inspirational, which are enjoyed by both the young and old. For the record, the TNT Boys are the youngest acts who showcased a successful concert at the Big Dome. Congratulations to the TNT Boys, as well to the people behind them, especially Sir Froi*, their vocal coach who continues to guide them not only to become better singers but to also remain humble and friends with each other. 

With THE TNT Boys


*- I personally thank him for giving me the opportunity to not only perform as one of the backing vocalists, but to also become part of the TNT Boys’ success that night. 🙂

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Music, Television

Himig Handog 2018: Love Songs and Love Stories Top 10 (REVIEW)

This Sunday, October 21, Himig Handog will feature “Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya” (a collaboration between Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 2’s “Precious Darling” Krystal Brimner, Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids “Inday Wonder” Sheenna Belarmino, and MNL 48) and “Mas Mabuti Pa” (by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2 Grand Champion Janine Berdin). “Kababata” and “Sugarol” will also be featured. The grand finals will be held on November 25, 2018, also aired in ASAP.

This article will give you guys a sneak peek of each entry, as well as my reviews.

Here are the top 10 entries for this year’s Himig Handog Love Songs and Love Stories.

“Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya” is a collaboration between Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids’ “Inday Wonder” Sheenna Belarmino, Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 2’s “Precious Darling” Krystal Brimner, and all-girl group MNL 48. The song was written by Bernard Reforsado of Albay. It is an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fit for pre-teens, almost similar to K-Pop (think of Momoland) and J-Pop. The song speaks of a girl having a crush on someone who rather chose the girl who is more “pabebe” (acting cute) than her. It also talks about social media romances, such as stalking and existence of posers.

“Hati na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya” is interpreted by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s “Powerhouse Performer” Eumee and actor JC Santos. Written by Joseph Santiago of Quezon City, it talks about a woman’s willingness to share the love of her life with another woman. In fact, looking at the song’s lyrics, it is fit to become a soundtrack of a mistress-themed drama (e.g., The Legal Wife). It is a power ballad where Eumee’s voice was a mix of Jessie J and Lara Fabian (Remember Broken Vow?). While Eumee’s vocals characterized the “wife,” Santos’s speech signified the man being fought for. However, the song’s interpretation could have been more effective if another female singer would have a contrapuntal part with Eumee’s parts. The most I could idealize with this song is that the second female part would act as the “third wheel” or the “mistress.”

“Kababata,” written by John Micheal Edixon of Parañaque was an R&B ballad interpreted by Kyla and Kritiko. Reminiscent of Gloc 9’s themes, Kritiko’s parts narrated how his childhood with his girl friend went, until the girl underwent a major tragedy in her life. Kyla’s ad-libs in the part, “Bakit nila sa’yo ‘to nagawa?” signified the girl’s suffering, screaming for help.

“Mas Mabuti Pa,” is a collaborative work between Mhonver Lopez and Joanna Concepcion, both from Laguna, and sung by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2’s Grand Champion and “New Gem of OPM,” Janine Berdin. It is a pop-rock ballad, which spoke of a girl who gave up giving all her love as her efforts were rather snubbed. Despite her young age, Berdin was able to interpret the song to the extent that I got teary-eyed in most parts. She was also able to variate her dynamics as she maintained her husky pop-rock voice.

Robert William Pereña (of Dubai)’s “Para Sa Tabi,” is a light R&B song by BoybandPH. It talks about a man’s struggles being the “third wheel,” and reminds men not to rush things, especially love. The “Mama, para” hook was LSS-inducing that it would potentially become a radio hit soon. Their vocal blend was stellar, especially in the last line, “Diyan sa tabi,” that I would seriously recommend everyone to watch their ASAP performance video of the said song on YouTube. Attached is the link.

Kyle Raphael Borbon (of Davao)’s “Sa Mga Bituin Na Lang Ibubulong,” performed by actor JM de Guzman, is an indie ballad, synonymous to Sud’s. Unlike the rest of the entries, it is rather toned down.

“Sugarol,” written by Jan Sabili of Muntinlupa, is sung by actress Maris Racal. It is a waltz-like ballad, which talked about taking risks, despite experiencing false hopes in the past. The song could have progressed better if variations will be done in every stanza.

Sarah Jane Gandia (of USA)’s “Tinatapos Ko Na,” interpreted by Jona, talks about the closure of a romantic relationship. The song started quietly, which channeled Jona’s pure vocals as the instruments slowly entered. This song proved that Jona was more than just a belter. She was able to variate her dynamics, which enhanced the song’s heartbreaking theme.

Philip Arvin Janilla (of Antipolo)’s “Wakasan” is sung by Agsunta. The title may actually fool you because the song does not talk about closure. It talks about how society did not want the persona to become someone’s boyfriend. However, despite all odds, the persona does not give up until he is able to be with his loved one.

Last of the ten is “Wala Kang Alam,” sung by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1 First Runner-Up and “YouTube Idol” Sam Mangubat. It talks about how a man got left out of the blue in the middle of his struggles. It may pass as the male counterpart of Lopez and Concepcion’s “Mas Mabuti Pa.” It is a heavy ballad, synonymous to the ones sung by Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano. The instrumentation, which was heavy on timpani and strings, were reminiscent of Homer Flores’s arrangements for most of the teleserye soundtracks.

Of all the ten entries, here is my top 5: Hati Na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya, Kababata, Mas Mabuti Pa, Tinatapos Ko Na, and Para Sa Tabi. While Para Sa Tabi may become a potential radio hit, the most heartfelt interpretations were Hati Na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya and Tinatapos Ko Na.

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