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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Entertainment, Music

OPM: The Year in Review

2018 is the year for Original Pilipino Music.

This year, more bands emerged in the OPM scene, especially with the launch of Coke Studio’s second season (which could have been culminated with a Christmas concert that was later postponed to early 2019). Some of the strongest acts this year were December Avenue (with their songs “Bulong” and the smash hit duet with Moira dela Torre, “Kung Di Rin Lang Ikaw”), IV of Spades, and I Belong to the Zoo (with their songs “Balang Araw” and “Sana”).

Ben&Ben became stronger in 2018 with their songs “Kathang Isip,” Exes Baggage OST “Maybe the Night,” and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral OST “Susi.”

The Voice Kids alumnus JK Labajo, together with his band, juan karlos, has also made it into the music charts with songs “Sistema” and the chart-topping hit, “Buwan.”

As for the solo acts, The Voice Season 1 alumna Moira dela Torre and Tawag ng Tanghalan’s YouTube Idol Sam Mangubat dominated 2018.

Apart from a duet with December Avenue, dela Torre has released more original songs, such as “Tagpuan” and Glorious OST, “Saglit.” She has also released a cover version of Rey Valera’s “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko,” which became the official theme song for the film, “The Hows of Us.”

On the other hand, Mangubat released three chart-topping singles, namely “Pagka’t Nariyan Ka,” “Clueless,” and Himig Handog 2018 entry, “Wala Kang Alam.” His concert last September, entitled “I Am Sam,” was also a sold-out event.

For the hiphop category, both Ex Battalion and Shanti Dope released chart-topping singles.

Vocal groups such as BoybandPH and MNL 48 also made it this year. While MNL 48 released Tagalog translations of “Aitakatta,” “Pag-ibig Fortune Cookie,” and “Talulot ng Sakura,” BoybandPH dominated the music charts with their songs “Hanggang Kailan Kaya” and Himig Handog 2018 entry “Para Sa Tabi.”

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Entertainment, Music

(Not Only) Birit To Win It: The Various Types of Today’s Singing Contest Participants

Tawag ng Tanghalan, Birit Baby, Birit Queen, Star Quest, Star for A Night, Star in A Million, Search for A Star, Pinoy Pop Superstar, Pinoy Dream Academy, The Voice, The Clash, name them! Singing competitions have always been part of the Filipino culture, not only on television, but also in various communities (especially in the provinces’ festivities), school programs, and even in corporate Christmas parties.

Back then, a contestant can only win if she can belt the highest possible notes a la Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and other contemporaries. For the case of male participants, they can only win if they can croon either a la Basil Valdez or Martin Nievera. However, the singing contest culture in the Philippines is quite different nowadays. More and more genres are becoming more acceptable in the mainstream and singers of non-birit genres are now having wider fan bases.

Wait a second, what are the different types of singing contest participants?

The Bigtime Biriteras. Their vocal power and range are sky-is-the-limit, which usually impress the panel of judges, as well as the audiences. Bonus points for being able to sing in their whistle registers a la Mariah Carey.

THE SETLIST (commonly performed songs):
Mariah Carey’s songs: Hero, Vision of Love, Love Takes Time, Emotions (heavy on whistle registers), Through the Rain

Celine Dion’s songs: To Love You More (popularized by Star For A Night Grand Champion Sarah Geronimo during her stint in the said competition), All By Myself (originally by Eric Carmen; Everybody slays on the long “anymore” change key.), It’s All Coming Back To Me Now (originally by Pandora’s Box), My Heart Will Go On

Whitney Houston’s songs: Saving All My Love for You, One Moment In Time, I Will Always Love You (especially the long “I” in the last refrain), I Have Nothing, Run To You, Queen of the Night

Regine Velasquez’s songs: Narito Ako, On the Wings of Love (originally by Jeffrey Osbourne; became a big hit in Velasquez’s best-selling album R2K), You’ll Never Walk Alone (originally from the musical “Carousel”), What Kind of Fool Am I (originally from the musical “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off), I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing (originally by Aerosmith; also became a big hit in Velasquez’s best-selling album R2K), Pangako (composed by now-husband Ogie Alcasid for 2001 film “Pangako, Ikaw Lang”), Dadalhin, Pangarap Ko Ang Ibigin Ka (from 2003 film of the same title; also composed by Alcasid), Shine (originally sung by Ima Castro)

Aegis’s songs: Halik, Luha, Basang-Basa Sa Ulan

Songs from the musical “Dreamgirls”: One Night Only, And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going), Listen, I Am Changing

Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire”
Little Mix’s “Secret Love Song”
Loren Allred’s “Never Enough”
Wendy Moten’s “Come In Out of the Rain” (popularized by Star In A Million First Runner-Up Sheryn Regis during her stint in the said competition)

Lani Misalucha’s “Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin”
Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”
Dianne Reeves’s “Better Days”

The Balladeers. Being the male counterpart of belters, their winning formula is their crooning style and vocal power.

THE SETLIST (commonly performed songs):
Josh Groban’s songs: You Raise Me Up, To Where You Are

Basil Valdez’s songs: Ngayon at Kailanman, Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo, Hanggang Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Kastilyong Buhangin, Say That You Love Me (popularized by Martin Nievera)

Martin Nievera’s songs: Kahit Isang Saglit (originally by Vernie Varga), Ikaw Ang Pangarap (from 2007 teleserye “Lobo”), Be My Lady, You Are My Song (The last part of the bridge, “With you in my heart in my soul, you’re my love you’re my song” is peppered with triplets, which makes the song more challenging to perform.)

Gary Valenciano’s songs: Wag Ka Nang Umiyak (originally by Sugarfree; used for primetime series “Ang Probinsyano”), Tayong Dalawa (originally by Rey Valera), Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos, Narito, Gaya Ng Dati, Take Me Out of the Dark, Ikaw Lamang (from 2005 film “Dubai”)

Leo Valdez’s “Magsimula Ka”
“This Is the Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde (popularized by Star In A Million Grand Champion Erik Santos during his stint in the said competition)

The Rock Balladeers. Mostly male singers, their weapons are their vocal range and angst. For the case of female singers, huskiness is more of their singing style, rather than a flaw.

THE SETLIST (commonly performed songs):

Journey’s songs: Open Arms, Faithfully, Don’t Stop Believing

Queen’s songs: We Are the Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody (“I see a little silhouette-o of a man, scaramouche, scaramouche…”), Too Much Love Will Kill You (popularized by Pilipinas Got Talent Season 1 Grand Champion Jovit Baldivino during his stint in the said competition)

Air Supply’s songs: Goodbye, All Out of Love, Here I Am, Even the Nights Are Better, Just As I Am; A medley of their songs, which included The One That You Love, Now and Forever, and Without You, made Noven Belleza win the first season of Tawag ng Tanghalan.

Bad English’s “When I See You Smile”

The Improvisers. They are the new “dark horses” in televised singing competitions. They slay the stage by “owning” (more of experimenting with) the songs they perform. Experimentations may include runs, falsettos, scats, and dynamic variations. For them, every song may be reconstructed into a contest piece, as long as they are able to perform it excellently in their own genre. More freedom is given to the resident music arranger/s as well. X-Factor Philippines Grand Champion KZ Tandingan (Check out her version of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.”), Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1’s Songsmith Froilan Canlas (Check out his heavily jazzed up version of Pilita Corrales’s “Dahil Sa’yo”.), and Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 3 10-time Defending Champion now Grand Finalist Elaine Duran (Check out her R&B blues aria version of Up Dharma Down’s “Oo”.) fall into this category.

These are just some of the commonly encountered types of singing contest participants. However, delivering a heartfelt performance is the most important, regardless of the singing style being performed.

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