Barbie Almalbis drops inspirational single “Iyong-iyo”

Following the dreamy single “Comment,” which debuted early this January 2020, Barbie Almalbis continues to perfect her signature, swoony alt-pop sound with incisive introspection on her second single.

“Iyong-iyo,” the latest track off her upcoming fourth studio album, tackles a story of strength, perseverance, and faith amidst insurmountable odds. The melodic pop tune is inspired by how the Tabing Ilog hitmaker’s cook found peace from surrendering everything to God during a very difficult time to bouncing back with another chance at life.

Almalbis recounts:

“This song is about Esperanza ‘Bing-Bing’ Maaño, our cook, who’s been in our family for a long time and even married our driver, Dandy. She suddenly fell very ill last year due to a diabetes complication and her medicines were not working. Needless to say, it was such a troubling time for her and everyone who loved her as her future seemed uncertain. She was brought to the hospital and had to undergo amputation surgery, and she shared that it was during this time that her faith in God became more real. While being wheeled into the operating room, she had many fears but suddenly felt peace as she surrendered everything to God. Thankfully, she had a successful surgery and recovered well, and after months of rehabilitation, she learned to walk again with a prosthetic leg.”

Barbie Almalbis co-wrote “Iyong-iyo” with her partner Martin Honasan, who also shares songwriting credits on previous singles “Comment” and “Tigre.” Bing-Bing’s determination and humility inspired the husband-and-wife tandem to write and produce the song.

Recording of the track was done by sound engineer Magic Montano at Yellow Room Studios, formerly known as Tracks Studios in San Antonio Village, where most of the Barbie’s Cradle albums are made. “We had Nikko Rivera on keyboard, Jonard Bolor on drums, and Rommel dela Cruz on bass,” shares Almalbis about the musicians who contributed significantly in the recording process. “The main rhythm section was recorded live, and we did overdubs for vocals and guitars. I also recorded backing vocals at my home studio.”

Barbie Almalbis’s “Iyong-iyo” is now out on various streaming and digital platforms worldwide via 12 Stone Records. It’s the second single off her as-yet-untitled album to be released this year.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

Israeli singer-songwriter Vanna releases debut single High Hopes via Umami Records

Israeli singer-songwriter VANNA has released her debut single High Hopes via Singapore based indie label Umami Records on Friday, 6 March 2020.

Produced by Roy Avital of Tel Aviv based indie-electronic trio Garden City Movement and mastered by Matt Colton (James Blake, Muse, Coldplay), High Hopes is a song about not giving up, even in the darkest, loneliest moments of one’s life. “In the end we must ‘run slow, with high hopes’, be patient, and face the future with optimism.” shares VANNA, “I wanted to let people know that they are not alone and there is always hope.” A gently fingerpicked acoustic guitar sits at the centre of Roy’s production which he combines with VANNA’s unique voice, wafting a piano, strings and other instruments in and out, immersing the listener into the raw emotions of this song.

A music video produced by award-winning independent filmmaker Matan Balalty, set in the beautiful forests of Mount Eitan in Jerusalem, accompanies the release of this single.

High Hopes is the title track of VANNA’s debut EP which will be released throughout 2020. Over the last 3 years, VANNA has been working closely with producer Roy Avital on this EP, delivering a delicate fusion of indie electronic, pop, and folk influenced by artists like RY X, Oscar and the Wolf, SYML and Sóley.

Born and raised in Tel Aviv, of Indian and Iranian parents, VANNA grew up immersed in music, culture and diversity. Creating music is her way of confronting and understanding the turmoil she feels within herself, and she hopes her songs will touch others going through the same struggle. She is also a graduate of the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.

VANNA’s next show will be at the Hateiva, Tel Aviv on 23 April 2020, and she is planning a tour to Singapore, India and Nepal in the fall of 2020.

High Hopes by VANNA is available everywhere at this link.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

Ben&Ben joins Eric Chou and other Sony Music Asia artists on “Forever Beautiful”

Ben&Ben takes part in a regional collaboration expressing solidarity and support for those affected by the outbreak of iCOVID-19 Coronavirus.

The folk-pop collective joins Sony Music artists across Asia in delivering a spectacular take on Taiwanese superstar Eric Chou’s original track “Forever Beautiful.”

Featuring 15 artists from nine countries across Asia singing in both Chinese and English, including Chou himself, the collaborative remake titled “Forever Beautiful: All for One Version” conveys an important message through these touching lyrics: we may speak and sing in different languages and represent the many ethnicities and cultures of Asia, but we are all united with solidarity and support. In these challenging times, music can bring hope and peace along with the message of love and compassion.

“In this time of fear and uncertainty, it is important to remind people that they are not alone and that even the most dreadful things give way to new beginnings,” shares Ben&Ben vocalist and guitarist Paolo Benjamin. “It was cool to do this project with some of the most talented and generous artists across Asia.”

Set to make their US debut at the annual South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, Ben&Ben is one of the most successful Asian acts in the region— breaking records in the country with 9 songs simultaneously on the Spotify Philippines’ Top 50 chart. Their current single “Sa Susunod na Habang Buhay” recently shot straight to number one with a million streams on the aforementioned platform, within 2 days of release.

The nine-piece act represents the Philippines as part of the vibrant and diverse roster of Sony Music Asia featured in “Forever Beautiful: All for One Version,” including Eric Chou (the original singer/songwriter) and singer Kelly Cheng from Taiwan; Wafa, a member from Bahiyya Haneesa (an acapella group), and R&B-pop singer NYK from Malaysia; music acts Benjamin Kheng, Narelle, and Sezairi from Singapore; HÀ LÊ, a vocalist from Vietnam; singer-songwriter and producer E.viewz from South Korea; singer Fatin from Indonesia; singer-songwriter Jocelyn C from Beijing; and artists Phil Lam, Jason Chan, and Cath Wong from Hong Kong.

Forever Beautiful: All for One Version” is now available globally on all streaming and digital platforms through Sony Music Taiwan. Proceeds from this song will be donated to relief efforts by 韓紅愛心慈善基金會 (Han Hong Love Charity Foundation) for those affected by the outbreak of iCOVID-19 Coronavirus. 

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

Nathan & Mercury drops two new singles “Fools (Reprise)” and “Fake Love”

Now leaning toward a more exciting sonic direction, Nathan & Mercury has raised the bar in terms of producing songs that combine a wide variety of music styles.

Fans will be elated to know that the pop/R&B outfit is back with two new singles, “Fools (Reprise)” and “Fake Love”—released on the very same day via Sony Music Philippines.

Written, composed, arranged, and produced by the band, both tracks update their foray into multi-genre experiments with newfound ambition and front-to-back confidence, discarding their inhibitions to make room for more past and present sonic convergence, soul and gospel influences, and shamelessly honest songwriting.

On Fools (Reprise)

The new iteration of “Fools” unpacks rare moments of emotional vulnerability and restraint. The reprise version, according to guitarist and vocalist Nathan Huang, includes a different set of lyrics and a more stripped-down arrangement, but manages to capture the moroseness of the original.

“We had a different vision in mind for Fools,” Huang shares. “However, we want to give off the same message, each line still sung with pain and yearning for better days. While Fools is already gospel-y as it is, we kicked it up a notch by adding in instrumentation and a much colorful play of the chorale. Short but sweet with a total running time of 1:28, Reprise, as we fondly call it, gives off a solemn and intimate vibe.”

On Fake Love

“Fake Love” sets the course of where Nathan & Mercury is headed as a musical group. “In as short as 3:34, we experimented on our usual repertoire by mixing in instruments we’ve never used before (i.e. brass),” Bassist Angelo Sison explains. “We mixed together several of our influences, particularly in pop and R&B, with hints of gospel and hip-hop. As a song, it speaks of not wanting anything less than real love—one that shouldn’t cost anything but is freely given.”

Guitarist Alex Samonte points out how difficult it is to produce and arrange “Fake Love,” which initially had 3-4 versions ended up getting scrapped at the very last minute. “We had to get a choir and brass players and the whole thingamajig, then took us a good while to gel everything together. But after a month or so of production, it all went well. I mean, I’d like to think it did.”

Both songs are intended to be released as a single track, given that it goes without saying that the two are connected: From being a fool to craving for real love. But according to Daniel Monong, the band’s drummer, they felt that “Reprise” and “Fake Love” can stand on their own individually. “So yeah, we’re releasing them on the same day because the two belong to each other.”

Fun fact: Nathan & Mercury spent a total of 30 studio hours for the whole production of both songs, not including the mixing and mastering. It’s also their first time to record for 13 hours straight in a single studio session.

Nathan & Mercury’s dual singles “Fools (Reprise)” and “Fake Love” are now available on Spotify and other music streaming/download platforms worldwide.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

Doja Cat’s “Say So” earworms its way to global viral prominence

With its effervescent disco sheen, attention-grabbing chorus, and inescapable vibe, Doja Cat’s “Say So” is shaping up to be a global smash.

The song currently sits at number 32 on Spotify Philippines Viral 50 and has climbed steadily on the Billboard Hot 100 for more than a month since its debut. In a short period of time, it has reached more than a hundred million streams worldwide, becoming Doja Cat’s biggest hit on Spotify.

The song’s breakthrough could be attributed in part to its success on video-sharing social networking platform, TikTok, where it inspired various dance challenges from top Hollywood celebrities and social media influencers.

Fashion and entertainment magazine Nylon explains how the hip-hop/R&B star’s viral breakout made its way into the consciousness of the short-form video app: “In retrospect, Say So was destined to be a great TikTok fodder: the irresistible disco beat plus sassy lyrics which translate well into easy-to-learn dance moves,” writer Steffanee Wang shares. “At this point, it’s fair to say that literally everyone has done the challenge, including James Charles and a girl on like, 20-foot stilts.”

Due to the song’s massive success on the platform, Doja Cat, along with Tyra Banks, recently headlined TikTok’s Black Creators Summit, where she capped off the event with a performance of her current dance craze.

Here in the Philippines, the American rapper, singer and producer’s latest chart-topper is also gaining traction on the aforementioned platform. Singer-actor Iñigo Pascual, ABS-CBN teen star Alexa Ilacad, and G-Force choreographer Yanyan De Jesus recently hopped on the bandwagon with their take on “Say So,” which individually went viral on the day of its release.

AC Bonifacio, another celebrity influencer based in Manila, has recently uploaded a teaser of her upcoming dance cover on various social media platforms. The young multimedia star is set to debut her version of the Doja Cat hit on February 27, Thursday.

And then there’s Filipina YouTube star Niana Guerrero racking up 397,000 likes on TikTok for her bubbly and infectious lip-sync and dance performance of the newest Doja Cat single. This clearly reflects Doja Cat’s rising profile in the country, reaping the rewards of this generation’s preference for meme-ready songs that appeal to youth and online culture sensibilities.

The highly anticipated music video of “Say So” will have its worldwide premiere on YouTube soon. The song is now available on Spotify and other music streaming/download platforms worldwide.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

Upcoming Singapore electro-pop/R&B band “In the Now” drops debut single with Umami Records

Upcoming Singapore Electro-pop/R&B band IN THE NOW drops their debut release via Umami Records, “Fool” on Friday, 28 February 2020.

 “Fool” is a song about unrequited love, where our hero is in denial, constantly clinging to the hope that one day the subject of his infatuation will change her mind, even though he knows he should move on. Layers of dark melancholic synths and dreamy electronic pads build into a heartfelt chorus, and when words are not enough, culminates in an unexpected drop. Topped off with a sprinkling of trap and future bass elements, the innovative production on this cleverly crafted track entices the ears with something special.

 “I wrote this song hoping it would touch others who relate to the same heartbreak I felt”, shares Alex of IN THE NOW. “We wanted the song to sound really different from what we normally do”, said Dan, the producer of the group, “we experimented with many different versions of the drop before we got something we were all happy with, bringing together the right amount of contrast and energetic release.”

A music video directed and produced by Singapore creative collective YungTauFoo and Homies accompanies the release of this single.

IN THE NOW are four teenage friends and schoolmates from Singapore comprised of producer and vocalist Dan Rafael, and vocalists Akmal Hussein, Rahmat Damansari and Alex Gryffin. They are currently working on an EP of 6 songs to be released in 2020, written and produced by themselves, whilst also completing their tertiary education.

“Fool” by IN THE NOW will be available everywhere from Friday, 28 February 2020 at this link.

Padi’s launches Barkada Bar Tour with Gloc-9, Shanti Dope and other Asintada artists

The Party heats up at the country’s widest and number 1 Restaurant & Bar Chain, Padi’s.

Padi’s Point, now simply called “Padi’s”, undoubtedly remains at the top of the industry as the premiere party place in town, with twenty-six branches Luzon-wide.

It has long carried the distinction of being the favorite gimik venue for barkadas, with nightly entertainment of live bands, DJs that play hype dance music and party hits, plus food and drinks served for the barkada appetite such as the Party of Six, Barkada Feast and the signature three-liter Padi’s Cocktail Towers!

Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020

Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020

This year, Padi’s is taking it to the next level asnit once again shows its appreciation to the millions of “kabarkadas” who come to celebrate at its branches, as it welcomes Asintada promotions to the party for the Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020! The tour invites barkadas to catch the country’s hottest artists headlined by Filipino rap icon Gloc-9 and rap phenom Shanti Dope, as they visit Padi’s branches from May to June 2020 for a total of eleven gigs.

Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020

Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020

Also bringing the heat are rap-acoustic princess, Lirah, the artist behind the popular single “May sahod na ba?”, and the smash hit alternative band Sandiwa. They will be bringing the house down on nineteen schedules stops in the bar tour from February to June 2020. Lirah will also be lying solo in Padi’s Baguio on March 21.

Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020

Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020

Former Tawag ng Tanghalan contender JKris will also be hitting it as Shanti Dope’s front act and will be joining Lirah at Padi’s Binan on February 29.

Padi’s Barkada Bar Tour 2020

Tara na to the barkada’s top choice for the best parties, dancing and music – Padi’s Restaurant and Bar!

For the complete schedule o the Barkada Tour 2020, visit Padi’s website or Facebook page.

Details and cover image provided in a recent press release. All other images are mine.