Ben&Ben launches BBTV in celebration of 1M subscribers on YouTube

After reaching more than a million subscribers on YouTube, multi-awarded nine-piece collective Ben&Ben have heeded the call of fans for more exclusive content in the coming days.

The acclaimed band has recently announced the launch of their upcoming weekly series, BBTV to celebrate this important milestone in their career. 

“We’ve been making vlogs that showed our life behind the scenes, but eventually the band and its team came up with the idea,” vocalist and guitarist Miguel Benjamin shares. “Its primary goal is to simply find more ways to connect to people through more varied content.”

Extensive range of content

Aside from themed music performances and collaborations, expect an intimate look at the band’s more personal and entertaining side as they share their journey of living together under one roof.  “We decided to live together to eliminate or at least greatly lessen the risks involved with working outside,” says Miguel. “We always had the idea of living together in the future to create content and write music, but with the situation now we realized that now was the best time to actually give it a shot.”

Ben&Ben also revealed about their plans to drop a “head bang” version of their smash single “Pagtingin,” as well as cover select K-Pop songs in the future. 

The online series, which airs every Wednesday, will also feature a more extensive range of content for people to connect to, including but not limited to games, competitions, challenges and other forms of entertainment. 

Sophomore Album 

Ben&Ben are currently working on the follow-up to their platinum-selling debut album, Limasawa Street, which produced generation-defining songs such as “Pagtingin,” “Fall,” “Araw-Araw,” “War,” and more. 

Paolo confirms in a statement that one of the reasons for moving in was to start writing for their second album to be released under Sony Music. “We wanted the process to be as organic and as involved as possible, and we’re so excited to see what we can come up with where distance and time isn’t a hindrance.”

New episodes of BBTV will drop every Wednesday of the week on the Ben&Ben YouTube Channel, starting August 5, 2020.

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Exclusive: SB19 drops their highly anticipated debut album, ‘Get in the Zone’

SB19 pushes the envelope of pop music with the release of their debut full-length album, Get in the Zone, out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music.  

Mashing together various music influences with top-tier production and global appeal, the nine-track release features six original compositions, along with the EDM version of “Love Goes” and two instrumental songs.

Thematically speaking, Get in the Zone maps their creative and personal journey. “It hasn’t been long since we released our debut single ‘Tilaluha,’ but prior to that, we have been training for years already,” says Sejun. “We wanted to incorporate all the things that we have experienced during trainee days into this album by putting all the emotions that we went through into our music. It was an emotional rollercoaster, but we pulled through and we hope that we get to inspire people with our story.”

SB19’s first album kicks off with the two-punch knockout of “Alab” and “Go Up”—both chart-topping singles that bask in electronic grooves, pulsating hip-hop rhythms, and technicolored beats. These songs not only exude outsized charisma, but it also showcases SB19’s potential as a phenomenal pop group capable of defying trends and trailblazing a new movement in the international music arena.  

Get in the Zone takes a more somber turn with “Tilaluha,” a stripped-down ballad that tackles one’s remorse over reciprocated romance. It’s a refreshing misnomer in a record filled with upbeat jams and shiny pop tunes, and one that blows the roof off, vocal performance-wise. 

The winsome streak continues with the R&B-infused “Love Goes,” a song that talks about one’s suffering over a lost loved one, and its sequel, “Hanggang Sa Huli,” which allows the broken person to heal and find comfort in a kind of love that lasts a lifetime. The sonically adventurous album also includes “Wag Mong Ikunot Ang Iyong Noo,” a Filipino adaptation of the Korean ‘90s smash “Sarangeun Ya YaYa,” as well as an EDM remix and two bonus tracks.

According to Sejun, what sets Get in the Zone apart from other contemporary releases is the collaborative synergy between K-pop producers and Filipino talents, resulting into an exciting yet compelling final product. “It’s a great thing to get all the good traits from Korean and Philippine music/culture, and put them together into one. If you’ll dive deep into it, you’ll find a whole new sound rich in both cultures.”

As for the creative process, SB19 members Justin, Sejun, Josh, Ken, and Stell are very hands on when it comes to writing songs and creating melodies. Justin shares, “In this album, we didn’t collaborate with any other artist. We also wrote the lyrics for all the songs ourselves, but we’ve worked with Korean Producers who have also worked with famous artists in Korea already. It was a different experience for each producer since they have different styles, but overall, everything was fun and exciting.”

The award-winning band dedicates their new album, Get in the Zone to every single one of their A’TIN fans who have relentlessly supported their music through thick and thin. “All our achievements to date would not have been possible without you,” says Josh. “So in return we will work harder and continue to uplift you with more music and content so that we can give back the love we’ve received from you.”

Check out SB19’s Get in the Zone here.

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Barbie Almalbis honors Filipino optimism with “Umagang Kay Ganda” music video

Filipina rock icon Barbie Almalbis hopes to encourage and inspire listeners to rise above the extraordinary times.

With the official release of “Umagang Kay Ganda,” the third single of her upcoming new album under Sony Music Philippines, the Dahilan singer-songwriter uses her platform to pay tribute to the courage and optimism of the Filipino people.

“The current situation has made so many of us experience such a profound sense of loss, and it has also given us a rare chance to stop and reassess our lives and consider the things that we really value,” the acclaimed pop-rock artist shares. “I hope Umagang Kay Ganda will be a blessing especially to our frontliners. It is our little way to say thank you for the selflessness that they have continually shown and the sacrifices that they have made to help us get through this together.”

With the help of constant collaborators, Barbie and her bandmates put a creative stamp in reimagining “Umagang Kay Ganda,” while making sure that its empowering message shines through the intricate arrangement. “Karel and I initially jammed it and he wrote lines for the instrumental section, then we arranged the rest with Nikko on keyboard and Jonard on drums. We were able to record the rhythm section just a few weeks before the lockdown.” As a result, the new version conveys the timeless appeal of the original, while exuding a warmer approach in terms of production details.

Inspiring music video

The official release of Barbie Almalbis’ latest single comes with an accompanying music video that brings to light everyday stories of hope and love for the country amidst the global health crisis.

Interspersed with scenes of the new normal, the visuals for “Umagang Kay Ganda” also showcase the heroic deeds of our frontliners and several acts of compassion and resilience from ordinary Filipino folks.

Barbie adds, “Although some people consider music and visual arts as non-essentials these days, I’ve found that many are actually turning to the arts as a way of coping and feeling connected to others. We want to remind people of the real hope that we have and can hold on to, even as we confront the invisible enemy on a day to day basis. We’ll be able to stand above difficult situations and hurdle these atrocities with the gift of love and compassion.”

The music video is also part of Magnolia Dari Creme’s campaign reminding us that in extraordinary times as in the normal times, tomorrow always brings us new chances for a brighter day as long as we are with the ones we love.

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

 

Sponge Cola signs to Sony Music, releases new song “Lumipas Ang Tag-Araw”

Sponge Cola has officially signed to Sony Music—the record label that released their debut album, Palabas.

To mark this return, the award-winning band drops a new song entitled “Lumipas Ang Tag-araw,” out now on all digital platforms worldwide. 

Capturing the essence of a belated summer anthem in less than four minutes, Sponge Cola’s latest single soars into the fast lane with verses that turn romantic yearning into an inescapable sing-along, and a power pop surge that packs a ton of punch. 

Connection in separation

The captivating and relatable lyrics echo the collective frustration of not being with the people we deeply care about and love. But on the other side of the narrative, the song presents an opportunity to weather the insurmountable odds through perseverance and resilience to get through life—thanks to the support and kindness of friends and family. “It’s a story of connection in separation, and how we can be a source of comfort for each other during difficult times,” guitarist Armo Armovit adds.

Vocalist and guitarist Yael Yuzon fondly recalls the inspiration behind “Lumipas Ang Tag-araw” after driving his wife to work one morning under the new normal. He remembers becoming intensely emotional out of nowhere. “It was a strange feeling: a realization about everything that has or hasn’t happened since Covid-19, which yanked us away from our usual. And at that moment, this bright and happy melody just came to me, then some words and harmonies. When I got home, I fleshed everything out and recorded a demo within a few minutes. I guess I just needed to uplift myself, so I wrote something uplifting– something that doesn’t highlight the struggle everyone has been trying to deal with during the pandemic and the lockdown.” The creative and emotional surge led to writing the initial draft of “Lumipas Ang Tag-araw”—a love song that deals with the struggles of physical connection in the time of pandemic.

“Virtual” recording

The upbeat pop-rock tune is the first song that the band arranged and recorded in the comforts of their home, without being together in the same place. Armovit shares the challenging process that transpired during the preliminary stages of the recording. “We sent demos and voice memos to each other back and forth, tweaking parts, creating variations, until we all agreed on a final arrangement. Everyone then had to record their own parts at home and send it to a communal online drive for the producer, Angee Rozul, to bring everything together for the final track.”

Under normal circumstances, Sponge Cola would usually write the song, arrange it in a rehearsal space, and record it together in a studio. But due to the nationwide lockdown imposed in the previous months, the alternative rock quartet decided to use the time and resources available at their disposal to record individually at their own place. “There was a lot of self-editing because you’re not being policed by your bandmates or a producer constantly keeping tabs on possible mistakes or improvements, at least in person,” says Yael Yuzon. “It was all about laying in your parts when the song was passed on to you, and you had the responsibility to keep things right and easy for the next guy to add on to.”

Music video

According to Armovit, the lockdown-inspired music video of “Lumipas ang Tag-Araw” takes an intimate look into the fictional and real-life character’s personal worlds—their bedrooms, living spaces, confined homes—and the routine that they’re up to, in hopes of coping with the situation under quarantine. “It was also our first time working under special conditions, where we had to film all the scenes ourselves with our own phones and cameras. I’m very thankful for the help and guidance from King Palisoc, our director, and the creative ideas from his team.”

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Juan Karlos inspires hope and strength amid the pandemic with their latest single, “BLESS Ü”

Manila, Philippines) OPM hit-making band Juan Karlos (stylized juan karlos) channels their inner strength with their newest single, “BLESS Ü,” out on all digital and streaming worldwide this July 24, 2020 (Friday) via Island Records Philippines. The pop-R&B track delves into our collective toughness of spirit during these challenging times and hopes to ease some of our worries and fears.

The song’s uplifting message was something juan karlos strives to bring forth to the public whenever we’re faced with adversity, but more so and critically, during a health crisis with seemingly no end in sight right now. “The song, or at least the idea of it, was already made prior to the lockdown. Basically, it was just on standby. But when the pandemic happened, all gigs were cancelled,” frontman JK Labajo shares. “We thought it’d be a good idea to record something different from the music people are already familiar with from us.” While the circumstances then and now are vastly different, their intentions remain the same: finding hope. “Just hold on tight / For in the end of every tunnel / baby there’s light,” he croons.

The songwriting and recording process for “BLESS Ü” had its fair share of unique, unprecedented challenges. Completing it during the lockdown meant adjusting to several limitations. “Not all of our members have their own home setup so [doing it separately] was just not feasible,” according to JK. “But when the lockdown was lifted, we were able to record it properly.” The band welcomed the experience, knowing that ultimately, the song is bigger than their own. JK hopes for listeners to trust in our ability to overcome and that together, we’ll get through. 

In just a few years that the band has been making music, they’re not one to shy away from shedding light on critical and necessary topics, often drawing from their own lived experience. “I’ve experienced depression and anxiety… and it’s really frustrating, the feeling of being down all the time,” JK describes. With “BLESS Ü,” they wanted to offer people going through the same mental health situation some comfort, to “help them feel somehow lighter,” he adds. 

In addition, the band pledged part of the revenue streams of “BLESS Ü” to help fund COVID-19 relief efforts, as well as hold a special online fundraising concert to support our countrymen and connect with fans virtually.

“BLESS Ü” also follows the release of the band’s debut album Diwa and the emotionally charged single” Sampaguita,” which emphasizes the hardships faced by OFWs. A lot has changed since the album’s release, but his fearless message on these topics remains embedded in his music. 

 Music has always been one of the most powerful forms of culture due to its ability to rally people’s spirits. Right now, what we need is a resounding feeling of hope and compassion more than ever. If you believe that this song has that very power, then honey, God BLESS Ü.

About Juan Karlos

Juan Karlos is a Filipino band and six-time Platinum awardee signed under MCA Music composed of JK Labajo on vocals and guitar, Jeriko Aguilar on guitar, Louise Bayas on bass, and Gian Hipolito on drums. Formed in 2018, the eponymous band went under several personnel changes and ultimately released their smash hit, “Buwan” in the same year. Frontman JK Labajo shared that his solo music career is currently inactive. Hailing from Cebu, he first gained recognition as a finalist on The Voice Kids Philippines and went on to pursue a career in music and acting. Following the release of his albums under MCA Music, JK (2015) and JKL (2017), he realized that he has to stop settling and commit to what he really wants: to write, produce, and perform his own songs the way he hears it in his head and heart and be part of a band. Juan Karlos aims to “dream big or go home” and to make a mark in OPM and globally. “I want to be able to make a change, a difference,” he said. I want to show people the importance and beauty of music. I’m in music for the art, to earn in order to fund my daily needs and dreams, and for recognition so I can have reach and to be heard.”

Details and image provided by Island Records Philippines in a recent press release.

DJ Khaled teams up with Drake on two new singles “Popstar” and “Greece”

What a surprise drop! GRAMMY® Award-winning multiplatinum artist, music industry visionary, innovative influencer, mogul, and mega-producer DJ Khaled has released not one, but two new singles with Canadian music superstar Drake.

The massive singles “POPSTAR” and “GREECE” set the stage for his for his twelfth full-length album and one of the most anticipated hip-hop events of 2020, Khaled Khaled—coming very soon. Using his given name, it marks his most personal and powerful body of work yet.

Khaled makes a statement with both of these blockbuster anthems. Over lavish production and a cinematic beat, “POPSTAR” reflects on each titan’s place in the game as modern-day superstars responsible for a successive string of hit records. Meanwhile, “GREECE” nods to the finer pleasures in life with its rich bounce and luxurious rhymes. These songs continue one of the most legendary collaborative brotherhoods in hip-hop history between Khaled and Drake. 

The two-punch release serves as their first team-up in three years, following the success of 2011’s “I’m on One,” 2013’s “No New Friends,” 2016’s “For Free” and 2017’s “To The Max.” 

DJ Khaled notably kicked off 2020 by winning a GRAMMY® Award in the category of Best Rap/Sung Performance for the gold-selling “Higher” [feat. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend], paving the way for a massive year.

Since launching his career two decades ago, DJ Khaled has sold 18 million singles and 5 million albums and generated 3 billion-plus streams. His discography encompasses eight gold singles, five platinum singles, and two double-platinum singles. 

He landed back-to-back #1 debuts on the Billboard Top 200 with the gold-selling Major Key in 2016 and platinum-certified GRAMMY® Award-nominated Grateful in 2017. The latter boasted the sextuple-platinum Billboard Hot 100 #1 “I’m The One” (feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, & Lil Wayne) and quadruple-platinum “Wild Thoughts” (feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller).

DJ Khaled’s “POPSTAR” and “GREECE” (Feat. Drake) are now available on all digital platforms worldwide via We The Best/Epic Records.

Image and details provided by Epic Records in a recent press release.

the vowels they orbit explores emotional intricacies on debut EP

Filipino indie pop-rock outfit the vowels they orbit has finally released their highly anticipated EP, ang unang ikot via Sony Music Philippines.

With songs that find strength in vulnerability, the band’s major label debut expounds on the complexities of young love from the perspective of someone who has gone through several missteps and recoveries in life.  

On a thematic standpoint, the lyrics shine a light on certain issues that people tend to avoid in regular conversations: the melancholic “Pasa” recalls a harrowing story of abuse; the light-hearted ditty “Selos” struggles to conceal jealousy no matter how hard the person tries; and then there’s “Kiliti,” a song about finding that perfect someone in an imperfect situation. The 5-track release offers home to fragile beings caught in the throes of love, hoping that they’ll learn from their previous mistakes and come out as better individuals after. 

According to the band, “all tracks were written in the context of love, but like every other song out there, they all go beyond the intention.” Patch Javier adds, “the latest EP tackles what most relationship journeys look like during [their] firsts.” 

ang unang ikot, is written, arranged and performed by the vowels they orbit, except for “Selos,” which was penned by Darwin Hernandez—the hitmaker behind chart-topping singles “Torete” and “Sandalan.” The album is produced by Rye Sarmiento, the guitarist of 6cyclemind and Banda Ni Kleggy.

About The Band

Signed to Sony Music Philippines, the vowels they orbit makes captivating pop-rock anthems laced with discernible hooks and strong melodic instincts. This is evident on their debut single “Selos,” which peaked at No. 2 on Spotify Philippines’ Viral 50 charts and No. 1 on Love Radio 90.7 Top 10.

The band, composed of Nikka Melchor (Vocals), Jeremy Sayas (Drums), Hannah Dela Cruz (Keyboard), Gene Santiago (Guitars) and Patch Javier (Bass), is managed by Soupstar Music—the home to several established and promising music acts such as 6cyclemind, Teeth, Imago, Sandwich, Pedicab, Moonstar88, Ultra Combo, Gracenote, Banda ni Kleggy, Better Days, the vowels they orbit, and Kurei.

the vowels they orbit’s debut EP, ang unang ikot, is now available on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Celebrities give us all the feels with McDonald’s Kita-kits song

They’re missing their McDonald’s favorites just like you

Life as we know it has changed in just a short span of time. While leisure trips, meet-ups and celebrations are limited at the moment, McDonald’s, with its recently launched Kita-Kits with McDo campaign, showed that spontaneous feel-good moments in the new normal are still very much possible!

Bringing a message of positivity, their Kita-Kits video reminds us that though we may not be able to experience our old routines, new memories can still be made anytime, anywhere with McDonald’s.

The video is set against the backdrop of the iconic song Kita-kits sa McDo originally sung by Sharon Cuneta, adding a hint of nostalgia that makes you look back at your favorite McDonald’s moments. Iconic as it is, celebrities Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, Michael V., and Judy Ann Santos have caught the LSS bug and have shared their own rendition of the song on social media. You can check out the video of your favorite celebrities singing along to this the heart-warming tune on Facebook.

“This period of adjustment to the new reality has not been easy, and many of us may be at a loss how to move forward. Here at McDonald’s, it is our mission to make feel-good moments easy for everyone,” says Margot B. Torres, Managing Director of McDonald’s Philippines. “The current circumstances have certainly changed our lives, but we will always find ways to celebrate and be with family and friends.  Wherever you are, McDonald’s will be with you so you can make memories and enjoy delicious food.”

If you haven’t seen McDonald’s latest video, kita-kits at McDonald’s Philippines Youtube or McDonald’s Facebook Page.

Details provided by McDonald’s Philippines in a recent press release.

Ben&Ben portrays family drama on “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” music video

Award-winning Filipino band Ben&Ben explores the complicated dynamics of a fictional family in the music video of “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin.” 

Revolving around a realistic depiction of a family on the verge of dysfunction, the narrative hits home with each member learning how to listen to each other, and speak their minds.

It also examines the flawed but beautiful relationships that we nurture within the family, and the decisions we make in extraordinary circumstances.

Helmed by “Pagtingin” music video director Jorel Lising, the intimate piece features ensemble acting performances by Agot Isidro, Bart Guingona, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Kelvin Miranda.

Lising’s compelling take on Ben&Ben’s massive hit has earned praises from various publications in the country. Renuel Fallore of MYX shares that the “cinematic music video couldn’t have come at a better time,” and reflects on its importance in today’s socio-political landscape. Bandwagon Asia, in its coverage of the song’s official tease a few months ago, took notice of the song’s evocative lyrics, which remind “people that COVID-19 remains to be the common enemy in this difficult time,” and therefore needs critical attention and vigilance.

As of July 14, Tuesday, the “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” music video is currently trending on YouTube with more than 300,000 views in four days. 

On Spotify alone, Ben&Ben’s latest single has reached more than a million streams in its second week, making it one of the biggest releases of the month so far.  

“Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” is now out on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

Image and details provided by Sony Music in a recent press release.

R&B/Soul singer-songwriter Gail Belmonte releases debut single ‘Tonight’ via Umami Records

Gail Belmonte’s voice is a formidable instrument that fits the song’s easygoing charm and brimming sensuality. Her singing style works pretty well in the context of flowy arrangements and vintage sounds, and it somehow finds fascinating corners within Tonight’s urban pop appeal.

R&B/soul singer-songwriter Gail Belmonte has released her debut single ‘Tonight’, via Singapore-based indie label Umami Records. 

A chill track with that feel-good fairy dust sprinkled on top, ‘Tonight’ is about enjoying the night, slowing down and taking the time to soak in its magical beauty. 

“I’m quite the night owl and work best during the nighttime, so I decided to write a whole song about how much I love the night,” Gail shares the details about her new song. “In writing ‘Tonight’, I felt a sense of safety in the night, and I wanted to portray that in the most comfortable and magical way possible – and that’s throwing a bit of love in there. The most important thing to me is that it’s completely okay to feel vulnerable on your own in the dark of night, and it is okay to slow down every once in a while and let the night time take over.”

Gail’s voice is a formidable instrument that fits the song’s easygoing charm and brimming sensuality. Her singing style works pretty well in the context of flowy arrangements and vintage sounds, and it somehow finds fascinating corners within Tonight’s urban pop appeal.  

Born and raised in Singapore, of Filipino descent, Gail Belmonte started singing and performing from an early age, and has won and appeared in numerous singing competitions in Singapore and Philippines since 2016. The upcoming singer-songwriter made her theatre debut in Pangdemonium’s staging of the Tony award-winning musical, Fun Home, in 2017.

Gail Belmonte has been featured on tracks by artists like fulses, thecolorfractal, Fingerfunk and Tim De Cotta. The R&B artist is finally ready to put out her own music with 3 singles planned for release in 2020, in which she explores the effects of love, heartache, falling apart and putting yourself back together again.

Tonight by Gail Belmonte is available everywhere at this link.

Image and details provided by Umami Records in a recent press release.