October Music Review: Zack Tabudlo, Ben&Ben and other newsmakers in the local music scene

Pinoy music makers continue to shine this month through their new releases and collaborations.

Zack Tabudlo delivers romantic earnestness on new song “Ba’t Ganto Ang Pag-ibig”

It’s interesting to think how infatuation can bloom into something divinely romantic, yet difficult to articulate. But in Zack Tabudlo’s universe, expressing one’s affection is better delivered in stripped-down, guitar-pop music—as if he knows that a way to someone’s heart is a sweet, melodic chorus and a soaring instrumentation. 

Released ahead of his highly anticipated debut album, Episode, Zack Tabudlo’s new single “Ba’t Ganto Ang Pag-ibig” proves that he’s a troubadour of unrequited love songs. It captures the conflicting emotions that people of all ages could relate to. But most importantly, it’s a song that bursts with earnest sentimentality.

According to Zack himself, “Ba’t Ganto Ang Pag-ibig” is about someone you like, but is admired by a lot of people. “You don’t know if you stand a chance to everyone else, but you genuinely just want the person to be happy,” the young hitmakers shares in a statement. “You will always be the one call away for that person no matter what.”

With acoustic guitars and subtle, meditative arrangements shaping the tune into a laid-back and bittersweet affair, Zack knows how to work his charm with a deceptively simple tune. He questions his love for the other person, yet at the end of it all, he’s just trying to muster the courage to confess and open up his feelings no matter the consequences.

“I want the audience to feel that they’re not alone with what they feel for someone they admire,” Zack explains. “It’s hard to confess feelings, and with this song, they can lean towards it and maybe help with their confidence or help with what they feel.”

Like his other material, “Ba’t Ganto Ang Pag-ibig” is written, composed, produced, mixed, and mastered by Zack Tabudlo. Zack points out, “it has a very laid-back feel to it lyrics wise or production wise. It’s something that a lot of people would just vibe to.”

Zack Tabudlo’s “Ba’t Ganto Ang Pag-ibig” is out now on all streaming platforms worldwide via Island Records Philippines and MCA Music Inc.

Ben&Ben team up with Taiwanese Mandopop star WeiBird on dreamlike track “Cheap Love”

2021 has been a massive year for Filipino folk-pop collective Ben&Ben in terms of commercial and critical success. Their sophomore album, Pebble House, Vol. 1: Kuwaderno has earned glowing praises from reputable music critics and publications in the Philippines and Asia, with Rick Olivares of ABS-CBN News calling it a “brilliant masterpiece” and Paul John Caña of Esquire Philippines pointing out its vital role in establishing the band as the “pre-eminent artist of their generation.” In less than two months, Ben&Ben’s recently released album has surpassed more than 30 million streams on Spotify alone—a groundbreaking feat that attests to the group’s universal appeal and enduring impact for nearly an entire decade.

After achieving records in both streaming and digital sales and sending their songs to the top of the music charts, Ben&Ben are determined to put their work on the global music map with the release of “Cheap Love,” a new collaborative single with acclaimed and best-selling Taiwanese singer-songwriter WeiBird.

Epitomizing the moment when dawn shows its first light, “Cheap Love” is the sonic equivalent of wandering between a dreamlike state and an awakened mind throughout the night. It’s about the journey of finding a long, lasting love after having experienced so much pain in the past. According to William Wei, known professionally as WeiBird, the title of the song is a play on words, and nothing more than just faint bliss and ecstasy. “It’s a temporary band-aid for a big gushing wound, but it never fills the hole inside. Moreover, it increases the feeling of emptiness. What I’m trying to say is, you can’t bargain your way into love. Love is truly hard to find.”

Ben&Ben interprets the material in the same manner as WeiBird does, aware of the reality that comes with seeking genuine love in the direst of situations. “With the chorus repeating over and over how difficult it is to find a ‘rhyme better than you and I,’ it shows how drawn and enamored we are by the idea of love but oftentimes find ourselves in a pit when trying to really make it something more.”

With its stripped-down instrumentation embracing listeners with a sense of comforting warmth, “Cheap Love” expresses the woes and triumphs of a generation caught up in romantic longing and desire. The listening experience is made more compelling by the vocal harmonies of Paolo Benjamin and Miguel Benjamin, and the earnest delivery of WeiBird, making the audience feel more hopeful than ever despite the uncertainty of the present conditions. 

“We’re grateful that by just being our authentic selves musically, we were able to add to the song both in production, vocals, and instrumentation something that WeiBird seemed to be happy with,” the nine-piece group shares in a statement. “We took an active role in building on the magic that the song already had, and we’re happy with how it turned out.”

The song was written and produced by WeiBird himself, with co-production and mixing duties by frequent collaborators Aven Tsai and Sean Sinclair. The Mandopop and folk-pop star explains that Ben&Ben also pitched in ideas for the arrangement and music side of things, resulting into a more polished, sonically impressive output that showcases the best of both worlds. 

WeiBird adds, “I wrote, played and produced the whole song on the album version. However, for this collab I haven’t had to do much because Ben&Ben was amazing. I remember listening to a demo of them playing along to my original track, and I could already imagine how it would come to be later. And the final results were not far from my imagination. It was awesome.”

“Cheap Love” is the first single off WeiBird’s first official English album. It follows the success of his fifth studio album, Sounds Of My Life, which peaked at No.1 on Taiwanese album charts in 2020, and received four nominations at the 32nd Golden Melody Awards, including Album of the Year and Best Mandarin Album. The track also serves as the second international collaboration of Ben&Ben after “Leaves,” featuring K-pop star Young K. 

“Cheap Love” is out now on all digital music platforms via Sony Music Taiwan.

BLASTER joins Island Records Philippines, releases Japanese version of new song “DISKO FOREVER”

Promising newcomer BLASTER has recently joined the esteemed roster of Island Records Philippines, a domestic label division under UMG Philippines, which is dedicated to helping the best musical talent from the Philippines to achieve local success, whilst reaching new audiences worldwide.

The lead guitarist and occasional vocalist of award-winning band, IV of Spades will be part of an internationally renowned label that includes some of the most exciting and future-forward artists in the country such as Zack Tabudlo, Juan Karlos, Over October, Fern., and dia mate.

A&R Manager and Label Head of Island Records Philippines Bel Certeza recently expressed interest in working with BLASTER on upcoming releases that will showcase the multi-hyphenate’s core strength as both an artist and an innovator. “Island Records Philippines is looking forward to help and guide BLASTER to where he wants to take his music and vision as an artist. Releasing a body of work is in the pipeline but it’s not yet final as we’d also like to learn with him and his audience as we go along.”

Certeza, who used to be the former Road Manager of IV of Spades, pitched the idea to BLASTER with the intention to understand where he is now as an artist and where he wants to go moving forward. After hearing what Blaster has in mind, she immediately presented how Island Records Philippines can help bring his vision to reality. “After a series of long Zoom calls with MCA Music Managing Director Enzo Valdez, we were able to come up with a deal that caters to BLASTER’s integrity as an artist but also something that would make sense to the label,” Bel shares. “And now here we are.”

On the heels of the official signing is the release of “DISKO FOREVER (Japanese version),” a retro-modern bop that blends Manila Sound with bedroom electronica and avant-pop influences. Sung completely in Japanese, the new iteration serves as a warm-up track to the Tagalog version, which the young Filipino artist will be releasing soon. 

With its groovy rhythms, art-rock guitars, and eclectic arrangements, the genre-averse jam takes you back to the dance floor in a time that doesn’t allow communal gathering. The delightfully bittersweet track also doubles as a tribute to the golden era of Pinoy pop music, and is reimagined for a new generation of listeners to enjoy.

BLASTER’s “DISKO FOREVER” is out now on all streaming platforms worldwide via Island Records Philippines and MCA Music Inc.

Nobody’s Home hits the road in the music video of Ely Buendia-produced “Cigarette Daydreams”

Filipino alternative rock trio Nobody’s Home has released the official music video of their new single “Cigarette Daydreams”—a cover of Cage The Elephant’s chart-topping hit in 2014.

Directed by Ysa Aranda of Swimming Pictures, the clip features the promising trio on a random road trip, performing in front of a warehouse and running away from reality “to find peace of mind,” as the lyrics suggest.

As for the concept behind the music video, Aranda shares that it’s derived from her own personal experience, particularly the feeling of comfort that driving brings. “I had to go for a drive and dream scenarios that would resonate to the song itself. Aside from the lyrics of the song, driving has helped me cope specially in these trying times, hence the driving scenes present in the MV.”

Aranda’s take on “Cigarette Daydreams” is inspired by the visual narrative of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s End Of Summer, a short film that serves as a document of a calm scenery in “one of the most crucial and endangered areas of our planet.”

Paying homage and making it their own

The song was produced by Nobody’s Home and Ely Buendia, and its overall treatment maintains the melodic charm of the original, while incorporating ‘90s-sounding guitar-rock affair, candied pop hooks, and pulsating synths to the mix.

“Generally, we wanted to pay respects and keep the original vibe of the song,” Frontman and principal songwriter Eon Buendia explains. “We stuck to that nostalgic acoustic feeling for the verses while making it simpler in terms of instrumentals. But when it came to the choruses, that’s where we changed the vibe from the original’s lighter feeling to a darker and synth-y tone that is more akin to the sound of the band.”

Nobody’s Home strikes a balance between paying homage to the song and making it their own—a task that they supremely aced with conviction and confidence. “The main idea we had was that the verses would be simple and we wouldn’t add much to it in order to keep the spirit of the original, and then the choruses would be where we came in and do our thing,” Eon shares in a statement. “And then we put elements that we usually use when producing our personal tracks such as vocal layering, synthesizers, and lead guitar lines.”

Production notes

The track’s producer, Ely Buendia, also commends the alt-rock outfit’s dedication in upping the ante of their version, while retaining the song’s feel-good catharsis in the process. “I just trusted the boys’ musical instincts, knowing that their own personal preferences would make sure that this will not be a note for note translation.” 

In terms of production, Ely points out, “we at least wanted the production to be gritty yet polished, if at all possible, to honor the vibe of the original.”
Nobody’s Home’s version of Cage The Elephant’s “Cigarette Daydreams” is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

of Mercury navigates new phase in music journey with two-track release, CHANGIN’ vol. 1

of Mercury, formerly known as Nathan & Mercury, marks a new chapter in their music journey with the release of their two-track volume, CHANGIN’ Vol. 1—out today via Sony Music Philippines.

The dual release, which features the songs “I’M FINE” and “HEAVEN ON EARTH,” finds the band pushing their sound to an unexpected direction and displaying remarkable consistency in terms of musicality and songwriting. “Think of this release as a re-introduction to us,” of Mercury explains. “This release is a statement from us that we’re growing, we’re changing: a foretaste of what the album is going to be.”

Gleaming with funkier, hip-hop-leaning sounds and edgy production techniques, both tracks assert something that has been proven from the early stages of their career: they’re technically impressive as musicians, but they never let the stylistic explorations get in the way of their soulful, confessional storytelling. 

Focus track “I’M FINE” is a tangible proof of the band’s insistence to write songs that come from a place of earnestness. According to of Mercury, it’s a song about moving on and picking one’s self up from all the internal brokenness, even after being betrayed by someone who used to be important. “It was one of the biggest heartbreaks we’ve ever witnessed as a band,” the Fake Love act shares in a statement. “When we wrote this, we had this realization that we’re actually fine now and we don’t really care about the people that hurt us already.”

The song was written, arranged, and produced by of Mercury with no general idea of how it’s going to come out. While it sounds polished with the right balance of organized dissonance and pop sensibility, “I’M FINE” is one of the those tracks that didn’t really have a direction or a goal, but all the sonic elements blend together seamlessly to create something that is familiar yet uniquely of Mercury. 

“The writing was fine because we knew where to pull from, but when we got into the production, we couldn’t think of how we wanted this to sound sonically,” of Mercury admits. “We have to start from somewhere, so we randomly thought a bunch of elements onto the song, and continued throwing ideas with no pegs, no direction, whatsoever. This is the same reason why we’re starting off with this track, it was really an unknown space for us and we’re just really happy we were able to pull it off, and that everyone genuinely enjoyed this process.”

of Mercury’s new single “I’M FINE” also features Michael Flores a.k.a. Filipino rapper Hijo, who in turn, spat bars with incredible range and energy. “Hijo had a great sense of how to work with others and how to keep the vibe relaxed and fun,” says the alternative quartet. “Working with Hijo reflected how much we enjoy working with others, especially when we get the ball rolling. Everyone just bounces off each other’s ideas, expressions, opinions. It’s where we all do our best; it’s a great feeling to have with everyone.”

This particular project also marks a reunion with former bandmate Karlo Maglasang (knōwmaad) who used to play bass for the band. “To have him around after not working together for a while really brought a different view on what we were doing. We also felt like, it’s as if he never left at all. Everything felt natural and everyone was on the same wavelength.”

A music video for “I’M FINE” will be released soon.

“I’M FINE” and “HEAVEN ON EARTH” are part of the two-track volume, CHANGIN’ Vol. 1, which serves as a reintroduction of a ‘new’ old band who have found themselves reconnecting for the same goals, despite having difficulties in compromising from the beginning of their journey. By changing their moniker to of Mercury, the acclaimed quartet is ready to start a new milestone in music and get things together with a common set of values. 

In a statement posted across social networking platforms, the band cited their creative and personal disagreements as the two main reasons of the initial fallout, which caused the hiatus. At some point, the band decided to take a step back, work on their differences internally, and restart anew under a name that they feel would represent them better as artists. 

“The name (of Mercury) change brought a sense of unity within us, and we didn’t want to be exclusive about it,” of Mercury shares. “Yes, we’re part of this, but we want the people we get to work with and those who support this thing we’re doing to have a certain position to say that they are a part ‘of Mercury.’ It’s all about the bigger picture.”

of Mercury’s CHANGIN’ Vol. 1 is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines. 

UE Jam Sessions encourage the youth to rock the vote with inspiring new anthem “Pinto”

Promising newcomers COSINE, Shareena, and Autumn Tandog team up for a song that encourages the general public to vote for competent candidates who are willing to take a stand on important social issues and make a significant change.

On the rousing anthem “Pinto,” the artists from UE Jam Sessions call for effective leadership and urge their fellow countrymen, particularly the young ones, to exercise their right to vote. 

According to its main songwriter Shareena, who also lend her smooth and smoky vocals on the track, “Pinto” is penned from the perspective of someone convincing the youth to take complete ownership of their destiny and elect someone who cares about welfare of its people.

“By describing what the outside world looks like in a cruel reality, with the struggles of the people who are always overlooked, the character puts the kid in a dilemma of choosing between taking responsibility for making a change and having these people who have been knocking on his door forsaken and left behind,” the 17-year-old singer-songwriter shares the meaning behind their new track. “Hinihintay ka na nila,” which means ‘they are waiting for you,’ serves as a reminder that their fate, like yours, is now completely in your control. It is your job to decide and select the finest alternative in this regard. That’s how Pinto was made to be remembered: a song that knocks on everyone’s doors of perceptions, obliging them to make a move.”

With its gothic, bluesy nature and brassy confidence, “Pinto” delivers an unconventional sound by pop standards. Shareena and Autumn Tandog put their ethereal spin on the material, singing as if they’re witnessing history unfold. Paolo Barrado and Marvin Cayosa’s intricate arrangements, on the other hand, turn the retro-inspired, musical motif into a modern torch tune inspired by the likes of Bita and the Botflies and Lana del Rey. 

COSINE’s Marvin Cayosa shares that despite limitations that took place during the pandemic, the producers were able to improvise, and the artists were able to record separately from their respective homes. “Given that we are in a pandemic, it’s been challenging for us to record because we are far apart. When I received the demo that Shareena gave to us, I started working on it right away. With the lack of equipment and hours of trial and error in recording my part, we still managed to pull it off.”

“Pinto” is one of the new music projects spearheaded by UE Jam Sessions, with 12 Stone Records’ Tommy Tanchanco and SSG President Nexie Joy Salvador serving as Executive Producers, and Choi Felipe mixing and mastering the entire track. The music video for the track is edited by Cher Manulit.

Pinto” is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide such as Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.

Sony Music Philippines Launches New Christian label ‘WATERWALK RECORDS’

Sony Music Philippines today announced the launch of WATERWALK RECORDS, a music label focused on bringing fresh Christian music to a new, streaming generation. The label will feature faith-based entertainment artists from across the length and breadth of the country, who represent the best of Christian music combined with their own unique styles.

“In the Philippines, Christian music emerges from daily life and is a reflection of the country’s rich culture,” said Roslyn Pineda, General Manager, Sony Music Philippines. “Pop music inspired by Christian melodies has arguably created some of the most interesting music in recent years. It’s a diverse genre full of talented artists who use faith as a regular way of connecting with people. WATERWALK RECORDS has huge opportunities to grow as we work with talented artists such as Morissette, Gloryfall and Hazel Faith and others to bring their music to fans all across Asia”.

“The Philippines is a musically rich country, well known for showcasing the best of Christian music in Southeast Asia,” said Ariel Fung, EVP, Sony Music Southeast Asia. “With WATERWALK RECORDS, our vision is to create a hub for Christian music in Asia that serves artists and writers who are creating ground-breaking music and impacting the lives of millions. Our stellar line up of artists we’re working with is just the start of helping us achieve that vision, representing the very best of local and regional talent.”

The artist, Morissette, popularly referred to as “Asia’s Phoenix”, will release the label’s first single, Waterwalk” on 28 October. “Mapayapa” — a collaboration between Christian worship band Gloryfall and singer/songwriter Hazel Faith– will be released on 30 October.

“I am thrilled to be taking part in Sony Music‘s new Christian label and get to share, and sing, of the word of God and all His great works,“ added Morissette. “ It’s only been a couple of years since I’ve made the decision to really follow Jesus and one thing I can really attest to is that we just need to trust Him in everything. I’ve been through some very challenging times too especially during this season, but it’s His grace that saves me and keeps me going, His love that comforts and protects me, and His promise that I will always keep in my heart. The track “Waterwalk” portrays all of that, and a reminder that what He has done for His people then, He will also do for His people now, we need only to anchor on to Him.”

Rapper/actor Jericho Arceo and Stell of SB19, will also release a joint singleArceo is well known for creating viral videos on social media and being a member of the cast for the show The World Between Us, while Stell who is a part of SB19, one of the most popular P-pop groups in the Philippines, is embarking on his first solo venture through this collaboration.

In another first, Nathan Huang from the band ‘of Mercury’ (formerly known as Nathan & Mercury) will also have his first solo venture through the label and will collaborate with Darla Baltazar, who was recently featured as one of the 16 Artists to Watch on the international website The Gospel Coalition.

Janine Danielle, a worship leader from Favor Church, will be singing a track penned and produced by one of Spotify’s most followed Filipino artists Moira Dela Torre, and Moira’s frequent collaborator and husband, Jason Hernandez. The lineup also includes singles from beloved worship leaders from various churches in the Philippines: Lee Simon Brown (from Victory Worship), Cola Cabalcar, Kent Charcos, Cherise Katriel, and Sam&Steff.

To showcase the richness of the region, WATERWALK RECORDS will also release a single from Ariel Tsai, a popular Taiwanese singer/songwriter, pianist, and YouTuber signed under Sony Music Taiwan.

The 12 tracks from WATERWALK RECORDS are expected to be released within this year.

syd hartha reflects complicated attitude towards love and relationships on folk-pop single “kung nag-aatubili”

Filipino singer-songwriter syd hartha returns to her roots on the stripped-down single “kung nag-aatubili.” 

The folk-pop tune will be part of her upcoming 5-track EP to be released in the first quarter of 2022, and serves as her first original material for 2021 after contributing vocals for Tokimeki Records’ city pop-inspired “Carnival” and participating in Coke Studio Season 4.

According to the 19-year-old artist, “kung nag-aatubili” reflects her complicated attitude towards romantic relationships and intimacy, which stemmed from the traumatic experiences that she endured during her younger years.

“I wrote this song a long time ago when I realized that I was starting to like someone, and I was already starting to let that person in my world, little by little,” syd admits. “Back then it just didn’t feel right, and I feared the idea of getting to know me deeply and everything I’ve become. Looking at it in the present, I figured that these feelings are a by-product of the inner wounds, and my inability to move forward from the things that happened in the past. This also serves as an important lesson to me, that when I decide to commit to love someone, I should love them for who they are now, and accept them for what they’ve been through.”

Dialing back her sound to its bare essentials without sacrificing her newfound maturity in songwriting, syd hartha has penned another understatedly beautiful track that feels more introspective than her usual confessional entries. 

Marked by warm, laid-back guitar arrangements and soothing vocals, “kung nag-aatubili” starts restrained but assured of its exquisiteness, and builds into a musical wanderlust towards the end. In terms of production, her goal is to make it as raw and intimate as possible, arriving with the promise of a home—strong, unapologetic, but comfortable in her own shedding.

The song will be accompanied by a music video slated to be released in the coming weeks. The visual treatment is conceptualized by syd herself, who in turn, wants to make the storytelling mirror her personal truths. “For this music video, Swimming Pictures helped me execute my own ideas and it was amazing working with them,” says the folk-pop act.kung nag-aatubili” is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines

Details provided by recording companies through press releases.

Header photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

Worth a listen: January 2021 in Music

The local and international music scene continues to evolve and thrive despite the limitations resulting from the global pandemic. In this post, I have listed the hottest news in music for the first month of 2021 for you music lovers to enjoy.

In 2020, Bryan Estepa released two new songs, continuing on from the success of his exceptional 2019 album Sometimes I Just Don’t Know. The second of those singles, ‘Admit Now, Pay Later’, received a video premiere on Rolling Stone Australia, was featured on NME Australia and had strong national radio airplay – including selection as one of the featured Singles of the Week on 2ser FM in Sydney. Now the Sydney-based Filipino songwriter reveals the second of his collaborative efforts with multi ARIA and APRA award-winning Australian songwriter Josh Pyke.

Estepa has always had an undeniable ear for hooks. Combined with classic pop and rock arrangements, (like his heroes You Am I, The Beatles and Wilco) his songs always possess a timeless quality. He’s proved it over and over again across six acclaimed albums and live shows in Australia, Japan, the USA, UK, Spain, Sweden and the Philippines.  

On ‘Trick of the Light’, Estepa combines heavenly melodies and a melancholic air on this irresistible slice of indie guitar pop, singing about acceptance, letting go and allowing yourself to feel whatever it is that comes out while you’re treading new waters. As always with his songwriting, there are layered poetic brushstrokes in the way Estepa blends and informs his songs with multiple meanings, as he explains. “I also like the idea that the presence of light does not necessarily signal happiness or life but can also mean that emotions and perception can be blurred by its appearance.”

Working with Pyke, Estepa was impressed with the producer’s instinct and ability to enhance the inherent strengths of Estepa’s songs. “It’s exciting watching Josh work! You sense that his creative light is always on and he needs to get his ideas out quickly before it starts to flicker. He takes on what I think the song’s direction might be but adds a couple of detours that are normally right on the money.”

Pyke is quick to reciprocate the praise. “Bryan’s a great writer and collaborator. He’s got a classic pop sensibility but is really open to feedback and experimentation which made my job as producer really fun and free.”

Sonically, there’s a beautiful weightlessness to the production and instrumentation that gracefully carries the song. Guitars sparkle and lightly jangle amid some sublime piano, backing vocals and percussive elements that add unique detailing to the melodic richness of the track.  

ZAYN scores another No.1 album in the Philippines with ‘Nobody Is Listening’

January 2021 in Music

ZAYN’s third studio release Nobody is Listening makes history once again as it debuts at No. 1 on iTunes Philippines Top 100 albums chart a few hours after its release. Co-written by ZAYN, the project highlights his R&B influences and showcases deeply personal lyrics. Nobody is Listening sees ZAYN in complete creative control, from designing the album cover art to his sound, he has created a moment in music that is all his own.

The album contains the previously released singles “Vibez” and “Better,” both of which were embraced by fans and critics alike, with Wonderland proclaiming ZAYN was here to “save 2021” with the release of “Vibez” and Billboard calling “Better” a “straightforward R&B track, expressing love in spite of disagreement and designed to showcase one of the most skilled voices in modern pop.” The latter single has accrued over 105 million streams across all platforms, and upon release the video received a half a million views in the first 10 minutes.

ZAYN’s critically acclaimed debut album Mind of Mine saw him become the first male solo artist in the world to simultaneously chart at #1 on the UK and US album charts in the first week of release. The album’s lead single “Pillowtalk” hit #1 in 68 countries around the world and was recently included in Billboard’s “Songs That Defined the Decade” list.

His follow up, Icarus Falls, captivated fans and garnered over 5 billion worldwide streams across all platforms in less than a year, a staggering feat for any artist. Alongside his solo success, ZAYN has also collaborated with a variety of artists, including Taylor Swift and SIA and most recently lent his vocals on “Trampoline” with Shaed, which received an iHeart Music Award for “Best Remix.” Alongside building a reputation as a world class music artist, ZAYN has become one of music’s biggest fashion icons. He has graced the cover of every major magazine from Highsnobiety to Vogue. In addition to being named “Most Stylish Man” at the GQ Man of the Year awards, he also was awarded “New Artist of the Year” at the American Music Awards and “Top New Artist” at the Billboard Music Awards. Nobody is Listening was released via RCA Records.

American recording star MAX and SUGA of BTS drops a star-studded remix of “Blueberry Eyes,” feat. Lil Mosey and Olivia O’Brien

After the global success of their maiden collab smash, Acclaimed pop sensation MAX and SUGA of BTS are committed to redefining the top 40 landscape with the release of “Blueberry Eyes” remix, featuring breakthrough hip-hop star Lil Mosey and singer-songwriter Olivia O’Brien.

“Having Lil Mosey, the mastermind behind ‘Blueberry Faygo,’ add his story to ‘Blueberry Eyes’ felt too iconic not to create the ultimate blueberry hit song,” said MAX. “The cherry on top is getting to add the legendary voice of my friend Olivia O’Brien. I’m so excited for this final chapter of ‘Blueberry Eyes’ with my brother SUGA and honored to work with all of these incredible artists on this new version of the song.”

On the day of its release, MAX and Suga were featured on the cover of Apple Music’s New Music Daily playlist and the song went No.1 on iTunes in 66 countries as well as trended No. 1 worldwide on Twitter and No.1 on YouTube’s Video Hot List. “Blueberry Eyes” has also been featured on several of Spotify’s coveted playlists including Today’s Top Hits, Pop Rising and Mood Booster, to name but a few.

The song follows the release of MAX’s “Blueberry Eyes” feat. SUGA of BTS [Steve Aoki Remix], which has more than 5 million global streams and 2 million views on YouTube.

MAX has been labelled a “Young Pop God” by GQ and named a “top popstar to watch” by Billboard. Since the breakout success of his debut album ‘Hell’s Kitchen Angel’, he has garnered more than 1.2 billion streams and toured the world multiple times over. He yielded an inescapable smash with his 3x platinum hit “Lights Down Low,” which generated over half a billion streams globally, soared on the Billboard Hot 100, reached No. 7 at Top 40 radio and earned him an iHeartRadio Music Awards nomination for “Best New Pop Artist.” Most recently, MAX released his sophomore album ‘Colour Vision’ featuring his current single “Blueberry Eyes” feat. SUGA of BTS.

Ritt Momney’s “Put Your Records On,” now a hit in the Philippines!

Ritt Momney’s rework of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” is now a certified smash in the Philippines. The sleeper hit that catapulted the 21-year-old producer and singer-songwriter into global fame, has now reached a top 10 peak on Spotify Philippines’ Top 50 this week, and continues to impact mainstream radio stations such as Monster RX 93.1 (No. 8), 99.5 Play FM (No. 8), and more.

Jack Rutter, the man behind the Salt Lake City-based music project, is amazed by the attention that his take on the 2006 classic is receiving. “I didn’t expect the cover to be anything more than a fun little release in between albums,” he shares in a statement. “I was super surprised to see it taking off on TikTok. It’s been the coolest thing ever to see people from other countries enjoying it.”
The hip-hop-flavored, electro pop tune initially gained significant traction via online video platform, TikTok before it blew up on several music markets worldwide, including a top 10 placement on Australia and New Zealand’s official charts, and a No. 1 peak on Spotify US and Global Viral 50 charts late last year.

Released a few weeks ago, its music video finds Jack Rutter “imagining himself as a future pop star stuck in a psychedelic dreamscape.”

Ritt Momney’s version stays truthful to the pop sensibility of Corinne Bailey Rae’s hit record, but his trademark lo-fi production somehow gives the track a fresh, contemporary spin. “I really didn’t change much, and I think it’s really important to remember that what makes it good is the songwriting that Corinne and her co-writers did on the track,” says the multi-talented crossover act. “I may have modernized it a bit, but I hope people don’t give me too much credit for that.”

Corinne Bailey Rae, the original artist behind the soulful track, gave Ritt Momney her blessing in an intimate Zoom chat sometime last year. Like Ritt Momney, her original version became a huge hit when it first came out, peaking at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart, and becoming a staple in several singing shows across the globe.

Details and images were provided in recent press releases.

Choose Your Own Adventure with jaye’s Interactive Music Video

ADHD represents the vicious-affective cycle experienced by artist, jaye in his bygone days as a hustling DJ. The four symptoms that make the acronymed A-D-H-D cycle are: Attention, Depression, Hit, and Dip. These were the formulaic-four that spun the cycle led headfirst by intoxication and party highs. All jaye could yearn for at the end was escape from its cyclical gravity. The genre-fluid single was recently released on 31 July – but that was just the shallows. Today, jaye drafts audiences into a rip-tide of immersive experiences with a powerful interactive Music Video.

Inspired by Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” jaye starts off at the deep end experimenting with the deconstruction of song and video structure to come up with the time-space defying Music Video (MV). The free-form MV is fitted much like Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch which gives users an illusion of control. Audiences get to choose their own adventure from four options (Attention – Depression – Hit – Dip) whilst vicariously living through experiences adapted from jaye’s own memories. The first chapter ends in two options (Ascend and Descend) and from there the viewer controls the narrative, or at least that’s what they think.

The postmodern video is a hands-on representation of the true viciousness of the ADHD cycle. Viewers will feel the same burden that jaye did as he realized that partying did not empower him; rather, it proved a great hindrance to his mental health and life.

jaye’s MV is a psychedelic cyberpunk microcosm with nostalgic video game elements and hair-raising horror features. Parts of the MV are also interwoven with the MVs from his former future-past releases via meta space-time warps.

With command of the concept, “the game of life”, jaye will release an 8-bit 2D Instagram filter game called HIT which will allow users to continue to engage with his Super Mario-esque hellscape (as seen in the MV). Fans will have to blink to shoot oncoming enemies with lasers in a side-scrolling virtual landscape, soundtracked by the ‘Hit’ section of the ADHD track. Prizes will be given away to those with high scores.

This track comes after the stratospheric success of previous singles ‘TOMORROW’ and ‘DEJAVU’. Both Music Videos received over half a million Youtube views after just one month, no doubt owing to their conceptual depth and edge.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

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.

Singapore nu-jazz outfit The Steve McQueens drop soulful new single ‘Firefly’

Singapore nu-jazz band The Steve McQueens have released their long-awaited brand new single ‘Firefly’ via Singapore based indie label Umami Records, exactly 143 weeks after their last release, full length album ‘TERRAЯIUM’ in 2017. The release comes fresh off the band’s ‘Nerd Lounge’ tour at the start of the year where they played shows at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, Tokyo Big Romantic Jazz Festival and the Esplanade Singapore.

The Steve McQueens have provided the following statement announcing the new song:

“Firefly generates its own light
Firefly generates its own beauty
Passion flies like fire
Passion dies with no desire
Passion is beauty
– The Steve McQueens”

‘Firefly’ is the lead single of The Steve McQueen’s new EP ‘Nerve Endings’, scheduled for release on 7 August 2020, featuring music from the band’s ‘TAPE’ tour in 2018. The band is currently writing and recording new material for their fifth album, ‘The Observer’, to be released in 2021. The band provides some insight into the thinking behind the project: “The Observer stands apart, an indifferent spectator at the ongoing culture clash between the jazz traditionalists and the new guard, smiles quietly to himself and just makes music.”

‘Firefly’ by The Steve McQueens is available everywhere at this link.

About The Steve McQueens

The Steve McQueens refuse to be pedestrian; they don’t live in the transient, or the touch-and-go. Swerving between cool seduction and gripping magnetism, they are ambitious to light the world up with their progressive brand of self- titled neo- vintage soul- funk. They have played to growing attention at festivals like the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Summersonic (Japan), Java Jazz (Indonesia), SingJazz (Singapore), Melbourne International Jazz Fest (Australia) and Jarasum International Jazz Festival (Korea). The quartet formed in 2013 as a forging of four mercurial talents in Singapore, a small country punching above its weight in Southeast Asia’s music scene. Critically acclaimed, The Steve McQueens will leave an indomitable mark on any listener with their music.

About Umami Records

Umami Records is a Singapore-based indie record label founded in 2013. Much like the “5th taste” reputation of its namesake, the label strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster thus far has included releases from Linying, The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime, CampFire, Martin Baltser, Phoria, Oriental Cravings, and more.

UE Jam Sessions pay tribute to the frontliners with original song, “Lalaban Tayo”

UE Jam Sessions (UEJS), the premiere music organization in University of the East, released a tribute music video dedicated to the medical practitioners and frontliners of the country, who are risking their lives amidst the pandemic crisis.

“Lalaban Tayo” was written by Jenny Legapi, arranged by Choi Felipe, and executive produced by Tommy Tanchanco. Featuring 34 singers and musicians from UEJS Manila and UE Caloocan, the collaborative effort was recorded and filmed during the lockdown period in the confines of their own homes.

Despite the limited resources and massive challenges that the students have to go through in the recording process, they were able to improvise and produce a studio-recording quality of the uplifting pop-rock anthem that champions the daring and uncompromised sacrifices of our modern day heroes. It’s their contribution for all the hard work that our medical, security and essential frontliners had to endure during these uncertain times.

“As we move forward in these trying times, we put our hopes in one another,” 12 Stone Records CEO Tommy Tanchanco shares. “Reshaping our lives this quarantine can never be easy for all of us, but still, let us not forget those people who risk their own lives on the front line and go beyond their call of duty.”

Its accompanying music video, which was edited by Cher Manulit, interspersed individual recordings from the participating student-musicians with inspiring clips showcasing the acts of kindness and compassion of our frontliners, particularly those in the medical field.

“Lalaban Tayo (A Special Tribute To Frontliners)” is now released via 12 Stone Records.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

Singapore electronic producer Xinister teams up with Asian-American rapper Blahza on new single “Break”

Singapore electronic producer Xinister collaborates with Los Angeles based Asian-American rapper Blahza on ‘Break,’ released via Singapore based indie label Umami Records.

The lo-fi rap tune emphasizes the importance of staying humble while grinding and hustling for that big break. Blahza shares, “Rappers nowadays feel like they have to be loud and obnoxious to get on. This song has a similar message, but approaches it in an opposite style. Plus, with the whole COVID-19 thing going on now, I feel hating is at an all-time high. People seem to be so quick to point fingers.”

Known for his intense, high-energy trap/dubstep tracks which have already been featured on Spotify’s Bass Arcade, Beast Mode, Dubstep Don, and Trap Mojito, ‘Break’ is Xinister’s first hip-hop production. “I want to be more versatile and to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone”, shares Xinister. “With ‘Break’, I was going for a chill COVID-19 stay home vibe. Blahza definitely killed it.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, from their homes on opposite sides of the world in Singapore and Los Angeles, both artists went back and forth to write and produce ‘Break’ without ever having met each other in person. Xinister says, “it’s just two guys from different countries, only talking to each other online, yet we connected with each other instantly.”

“It was pure musical chemistry”, adds Blahza.

Xinister has 3 more singles planned for release in 2020, and Blahza will be releasing his LP, Sad Songs For Happy People over the next 12 months.

Listen to ‘Break’ by Xinister and Blahza everywhere at this link.

About Blahza

Los-Angeles based Asian-American hip hop artist and producer Blahza’s makes music with a larger than life sound about his afflictions, aspirations, and accomplishments, inspired by the American counterculture of the late 1960s and music from the early 2000s.

Blahza recorded, mixed and mastered Blueface’s record ‘Next Big Thing’ in 2018. In 2019, Blahza opened for Members Only at the first stop of their album tour, and released his EP ‘Bloom’.

Born and raised in Van Nuys, of Puerto Rican and Chinese parents, Blahza grew up surrounded by music and diversity. He fell in love with rap music and especially how it bridged different cultures.

Blahza is currently working on his full-length debut album ‘Sad Songs For Happy People’ slated for release later this year.

About Xinister

Singapore electronic producer Xinister is known for his intense, high energy trap/dubstep tracks which have already been featured on Spotify’s Bass Arcade, Beast Mode, Dubstep Don, and Trap Mojito.

With more than a million Spotify streams, Xinister’s music has also been featured on Russian football club FC Zenit Saint Petersburg’s YouTube channel totalling more than 4 million views.

‘Break’ is Xinister’s first hip hop track and will not be his last as he continues to develop his versatility with several more releases planned across genres the rest of this year.

About Umami Records

Umami Records is a Singapore-based indie record label founded in 2013. Much like the “5th taste” reputation of its namesake, the label strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster thus far has included releases from Linying, The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime, CampFire, Martin Baltser, Phoria, Oriental Cravings, and more.

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

 

Listen to Twenty-Nine Eleven’s take on 6cyclemind’s “I”

Filipino pop-rock outfit Twenty-Nine Eleven has finally released their remake of 6cyclemind’s “I,” off the upcoming Sige I-Cover Mo Lang Project.

The song serves as the second single of the online compilation, produced by 6cyclemind and their management Soupstar Music, and released by Sony Music Philippines.

The aforementioned tribute record aims to introduce the band’s legacy as reliable hitmakers that continue to define an entire generation’s collective consciousness.

A captivating take

Twenty-Nine Eleven’s version of the alt-rock classic was handpicked as one of the three winners of the Sige I-Cover Mo Lang Project—an initiative that encouraged fans to submit covers of their favorite songs from 6cyclemind’s catalog.

Their captivating take stands out with its earnest simplicity and delicate arrangements, giving the song a refreshing spin while maintaining the original’s timelessness and emotional appeal.

According to Fony Alfonso, the lead vocalist of the five-piece band, the song is already great on its own. “However, in order to make it sound like us, we wanted to rearrange the song and add more of our personality to it. As with all of the songs that we’ve done before, we experimented with it until we got the right ‘feel’ that we wanted to express as a band.”

An inspiration to young musicians

The independent band considers 6cyclemind as one of their inspirations. “After spending time with the members of 6cyclemind, we were able to understand that it wasn’t only their music style that made them successful, but also their perseverance in pursuing their career and passion,” guitarist Alexandre Abesamis shares. “As they’ve told us back then, there were a lot of other better and more skilled bands than them, but what made them stand out is that they never stopped playing.”

Currently, Twenty-Nine Eleven is working on new material and experimenting with various sounds and techniques culled from their individual music influences. Drummer Jerell Co adds, “Ever since high school, we were subjected to various styles and genres of music from the most dramatic love songs to the heaviest rock songs. That alone has developed the kind of music we could make now.”

Twenty-Nine Eleven’s rendition of “I” is now available on various music streaming and download platforms worldwide.

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

 

Danzz releases fifth single “Blurred Visions (Acoustic)”

Amid these turbulent times, Danzz is back with the release of her fifth single, Blurred Visions (Acoustic) on 5 June 2020. The single was produced and recorded by dMCreative from Singapore.

Blurred Visions tells the story of someone who has hit rock bottom. Paralyzed. Unable to move and see clearly. With no way forward in sight. Someone who has lost in the game of love. Many of us have gone through extremely painful heartbreaks and Blurred Visions is a reflection of that experience. “Voices in my head, telling me to stop and look to the mirror, is this what I want,” she laments.

This acoustic rendition to Blurred Visions by Danzz, recorded during a live studio session, is her way of thanking her fans for all their support in pushing her hit single, Moonlight onto the Top Hits Philippines Spotify Editorial Playlist and hitting over 1 million streams. She delivers this heartfelt melancholic story, mixing metaphorical lyricism with honest singing, while showing a different side to her. Stripped down. Vulnerable. No beats. No noise. Raw. Just Danzz.

“Blurred Visions” is her first acoustic release. Danzz has a number of songs under production with a number of other producers as well as some collab songs with other artists, due for release later in 2020. We look forward to more from Danzz!

Image and details provided by dMCreative in a recent press release.

Shopee partners with CJ ENM to bring KCON online, featuring Kpop icons

Shopee Live Kpop Fest kicks off on June 10, with an exclusive free screening of KCON:TACT 2020 Summer featuring GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, Stray Kids, and more from June 20-26

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, partners with Asia’s leading entertainment and lifestyle company CJ ENM to bring KCON, the world’s largest Korean culture festival, online for the first time.

KCON is a highly-anticipated annual event for Kpop fans across the globe, entering its ninth year of bringing the ultimate Korean culture fan experience worldwide including the US, Japan, and Thailand. It will go online for the first time in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, with Shopee as the official live stream partner for the KCON:TACT 2020 Summer concert. This partnership will see Shopee air live performances, concerts, and more from KCON:TACT 2020 Summer for free to users on Shopee Live.

KCON:TACT 2020 Summer will be the highlight of Shopee Live Kpop Fest, which will kick off on June 10. Launched in collaboration with CJ ENM, the festival aims to meet the growing demand for online entertainment amid social distancing measures in the region. Popular Kpop groups including GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, and Stray Kids will also make special appearances on Shopee Live, while Shopee users can enjoy daily Kpop themed streams and challenges.

Agatha Soh, Head of Regional Marketing at Shopee said, “Shopee is proud to be the exclusive partner of CJ ENM to stream KCON:TACT 2020 Summer to fans in Southeast Asia and Taiwan for the first time, as part of Shopee Live Kpop Fest. This partnership builds on our efforts to connect people through entertainment and shared experiences, and comes after a series of successful collaborations with Kpop stars. Shopee Live Kpop Fest and KCON:TACT 2020 Summer reflect our commitment to meet evolving needs, as people around the world stay home and turn to online entertainment. We look forward to more exciting collaborations with CJ ENM in the future.”

Don Kim, General Manager of Global Festival at CJ ENM said, “KCON is the largest festival of Korean culture in the world. Bringing the festival online, we have lined up an amazing experience for KCON:TACT 2020 Summer including interactive events with state-of-the-art technology, a star-studded concert lineup, and more. We are excited to go above and beyond what fans have experienced so far, and we are excited to partner with Shopee for fans in Southeast Asia and Taiwan to join the festival.”

From June 10 to 26, avid Kpop fans can look forward to a wide range of live streams and challenges daily at Shopee Live Kpop Fest, including:

  • Exclusive appearances by popular Kpop idols, WJSN and Weki Meki on Shopee Live at 8PM (GMT +8) on June 10 and 15 respectively. Users can enjoy first-hand access to the groups with exciting performances, interviews, games, and more in each stream.
  • Daily Kpop themed challenges for fans to show off their knowledge, recreate iconic Kpop looks, and more. The best fans stand to win attractive prizes such as vouchers and signed merchandise from their favorite idols.

Shopee will mark the finale of Shopee Live Kpop Fest by screening KCON:TACT 2020 Summer on Shopee Live from 20 to 26 June. Shopee users and Kpop fans can look forward to seven consecutive days of non-stop entertainment, including live concerts and interviews by some of the biggest Kpop stars in the world, including GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, and Stray Kids.

Stay tuned for more updates on KCON:TACT 2020 Summer and Shopee Live Kpop Fest at http://shopee.ph/m/live-kpop-fest

Download the Shopee app for free via the App Store or Google Play.

About Shopee

Shopee is the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It was launched in 7 markets in 2015 to connect consumers, sellers, and businesses in the region.

Shopee offers an easy, secure, and engaging experience that is enjoyed by millions of people daily. It offers a wide product assortment, supported by integrated payments and logistics, as well as popular entertainment features tailored for each market. Shopee is also a key contributor to the region’s digital economy with a firm commitment to helping brands and entrepreneurs succeed in e-commerce.

Shopee is a part of Sea Limited (NYSE:SE), a leading global consumer internet company. In addition to Shopee, Sea’s other core businesses include its digital entertainment arm, Garena, and digital financial services arm, SeaMoney. Sea’s mission is to better the lives of consumers and small businesses with technology.

 

LAY debuts at No. 1 on iTunes Philippines with new EP, LIT

International phenomenon and China’s top idol LAY (Lay Zhang) heads straight to No. 1 on iTunes Top Albums Philippines with the release of his latest EP, LIT.
A two-part release featuring six songs each, LIT also peaked at the summit of the iTunes Top Albums chart in 14 countries.

Stream Lit, Yixing (his Chinese name), and Zhang (his surname), immediately became trending topics on Twitter Philippines following its release on digital and streaming platforms worldwide.

All the tracks in the EP are co-written by LAY himself, ensuring his message and story is clearly instilled in each song. He has worked with producer heavyweight Murda Beatz (Travis Scott, Gucci Mane, Drake) on the latest release, which strongly holds a backbone in modern hip-hop with an enjoyable sound, never done before.

For this first part of the album, the hit-making team integrated familiar Chinese instruments and cultural metaphors with the soul of “Western music” and top-notch modern production techniques, mixing English and Mandarin lyrics in every song. The EP instantly grabs your attention from beginning to end. Each song has a rhythmic flow, entrancing vocals, and bass-heavy beats delving into the new “pop meets urban” sound.

Through the tunes, LAY explores the concepts of solitude, arrogance, self-confidence, loyalty, resolution and courage. These six songs blend very ancient musical elements and concepts with the modernity of contemporary pop. From the lyrics, to the production, be prepared for an emotional and auditory journey. The focus track for the EP is the booming anthem and title song “LIT” and the already released hit song, “Jade,” showcases a combination of traditional “peking opera” and Chinese instruments. The cutting-edge production for songs like “Eagle,” “H20,” “Fly,” and “Soul” will give you an extremely refreshing journey through passionate lyrics showing a whole new blend of music.

On the same day that LIT was released, LAY also dropped the cinematic music video that bears the same title via Zhang Yixing Studio. The world-class visuals amassed more than 1.5 million views and counting, and peaked on YouTube trending videos in the Philippines at No. 14.

About the Artist

LAY received tremendous success this year garnering international attention after joining forces with Steve Aoki and will.i.am for the hit cross-cultural collaboration Love You More, reaching #1 on the QQ Music China chart.
LAY first debuted in the music industry as a member of EXO. He became a household name in Asia and one of the most beloved stars in the region with a loyal 49 million followers on Weibo and over 11.8 million followers on Instagram. As a solo artist, LAY’s career has skyrocketed to becoming the highest-ranked Mandopop star on Billboard 200 chart and the first Chinese artist to enter the iTunes Top 60 in the US with his third album NAMANANA.

Outside of music, he is a powerhouse in the acting world of TV and film and hosted multiple top-rated reality shows in Asia. Last year, LAY released the digital EP titled Honey and its title track of the same name. The EP reached over 1.87 million digital sales in just three minutes after its release on QQ Music in China. The pre-order for Lay Zhang’s new digital album LIT went live on China’s QQ Music platform, and 9 certification records were instantly broken as it went live. The digital album surpassed 1.5 million pre-orders within 7 minutes and 19 seconds of launch, locking in the #1 position on QQ Music’s daily and weekly album sales chart.

LAY’s new EP, LIT is now available on all streaming and digital platforms worldwide.

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

Gentle Bones and Joie Tan capture hearts with dreamy duet “Shouldn’t Have to Run”

Riding the wave of two notable collaborations this year, Gentle Bones is back with another captivating duet, Shouldn’t Have To Run, sung alongside Singapore’s melodic sweetheart, Joie Tan. Written by Gentle Bones and Fulses, one-third of R&B band, brb., Shouldn’t Have To Run explores the wistful relationship of two lovers whose stars are struggling to align.

“When Joie came on board to finish the song up with us, it became this beautiful duet that we knew we had to get out to the world.,” says Gentle Bones. “Joel and Fulses are both amazing artists I was thrilled to work with and I’m so happy with how the song turned out,” Joie adds.

Having discovered each other in the YouTube stratosphere almost a decade ago, this collaboration makes perfect sense when listening to the track. Gentle Bones and Joie Tan’s dulcet tones combined with the beat’s futuristic vibes transports listeners into a fantastic and curious dimension; whilst detailing the efforts of someone trying to reach out to his lover, but to no avail.

Enveloped in a mellow but brilliant harpsichord, Shouldn’t Have To Run imbues a vision of lilac skies and space-age aesthetic. Each chorus is preceded by the signature rising ‘boop’ of a message sent, drawing parallels with the current situation in the world right now, where many people are unable to physically meet their loved ones and have to rely even more now on virtual platforms. The song’s electronic influences intersperse nicely with a lush, vintage sound, which Bones elaborates further saying, “We intended for it to be a jazz-pop piece that was reminiscent of and influenced by a time in pop music where Corrine Bailey Rae and Norah Jones were favourites of the audiences.”

“It’s definitely one of my favourite collaborations to date,” says Joie. Shouldn’t Have To Run encapsulates a polarity of foreboding and longing captured in an intimate but all too familiar distant setting (the expressing of emotions through the phone) with its hopeful dream-pop synths.

About Gentle Bones

Born and raised in sunny Singapore, Joel Tan, who goes by his stage name Gentle Bones, is one of the city-state’s top English artists who has made waves across the globe. Since his #1 self-titled debut EP “Gentle Bones” in 2014, the 25-year-old now has three albums under his belt and has taken his music to fans across Asia with live performances, selling out solo concerts and playing festivals across South Korea, London, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Gentle Bones was the first Singaporean music act to be signed by Universal Music Group and was also the first youngest English music recording artist to achieve two sold-out concerts. In 2016, he earned himself a spot in the inaugural Forbes ‘30 under 30’ list for entertainment personalities.

Gentle Bones also boasts a range of notable songs that topped the charts, including Until We Die, Settle Down and Geniuses & Thieves. His latest EP Michelle, released in October of 2018, is his most streamed EP to date featuring its title track, I Wouldn’t Know Any Better Than You, which has amassed more than 20 million streams on Spotify alone a year after its release.

I Wouldn’t Know Any Better Than You earned him a spot in Spotify’s Top 5 Most Streamed Singapore artists in 2019, amongst his peers, namely JJ Lin, Jasmine Sokko, Tanya Chua & Stephanie Sun. Now, fully independent from 2019 and managed by The Linch Agency, the plan for 2020 is to tour his releases to the Asia Pacific region.

About Joie Tan

Joie’s foray into the scene started in 2008 with her covers on YouTube. Her vocal-heavy takes on popular songs were met with tremendously positive reception, and her audience started to swell.

From bedroom to live shows in Singapore, New York, London and Australia, the songstress dreams of sharing her stories through songs all over the World. She has crafted an iconic signature style and honeyed coo that uniquely intertwines with her personality, one that has been endorsed by chart-topping producers Avicii in his podcast and Kygo in billboard playlists & his Tomorrowland set in 2014.

Her debut album (released 2018), Joie features 10 self-written tracks and is available for streaming on all major platforms.

Details, images and links provided by Yung Lee Records in a recent press release.