Sponge Cola releases “Siguro Nga,” a song inspired by K-drama series, Start-Up

Sponge Cola is no stranger to writing music inspired by their love for cinema and pop culture. In fact, the four-piece alternative rock outfit named their debut full-length album, Palabas to acknowledge the compelling impact of shows—be it a theatrical play, a dramatic film, or an episode in a television series—in making us understand our own lives, the lives of those around us, and the lives of people whose contributions to humanity deserve to be celebrated at all cost.

With this creative pursuit comes a tribute to the blockbuster K-drama series, Start-Up, which is currently heaping praises all around the world for its gripping story on young entrepreneurs aspiring to make it big in the competitive world of Korean high-tech industry. Sponge Cola released “Siguro Nga” as a song born out of vocalist and guitarist Yael Yuzon’s love for Han Ji-Pyeong, a prominent character whose unconventional upbringing and misfortunes in life enabled him to become a principled, self-made man with a tough exterior and unbeknownst to everyone—a tender heart.

“Immediately after the shock of episode 9, I literally picked up a guitar and began writing the song,” Yuzon shares in a statement. “I didn’t know how the story was going to unfold, but at that point, I felt like it wasn’t going to work out for Han Ji Pyeong’s character. And while heartbreak wouldn’t ravage him, it leaves him with an undulating kind of pain.”

“Siguro Nga” builds on this nuanced character study of a man realizing that he’s lost the love of his life, after spending a great deal of time living a lie to protect the person he’s pining for, from emotional harm and trauma. It’s a soaring acoustic number that is propelled by a genuine reverence for empathy and romantic yearning, but never quite reaches a climatic run arrangements-wise, as it ends on a miserable note, with the subject of the song stuck in a rut, hoping to relive his past to undo his mistakes.

According to Yuzon, the song arrived in the middle of recording phase for their forthcoming album to be released next year. “The process was a bit more theatrical than what we’re accustomed to,” he admits. “As a singer, I had to be in character, which made the recording process a bit grueling.” In order to capture the very essence of the song, Yuzon had to experience some of Han Ji Pyeong’s crucial scenes in the series, including having to bask in the rain for minutes and reliving the memories of standing next to a corn dog stall. “I also had to face someone looking at me with ‘those eyes’ while pretending to be fine. Couple that with the idea of multiple takes, it was tiring but ultimately fulfilling.”

Armo Armovit, the band’s lead guitarist explains how the arrangements for “Siguro Nga” came to play. “Like most of our songs from the previous albums, we started by recording a very basic acoustic guitar as a foundation. Yael himself played the rhythm to make it consistent with how he initially wrote the song and his melody. Everything else on top of that are layers of sound to decorate and enhance the song’s emotional content.” Bassist Gosh Dilay adds, “We tried some experimentation in terms of overall sound– but we reserved a version specifically for future live performances of the song.”

“Siguro Nga” was recorded at Love One Another studios, and was mixed and mastered by Joey Santos. Armovit, who praised Santos for doing an excellent job in designing sounds and layering them to tell a story, was very much happy with the final product. “His familiarity with a wide range of music, and ability to create the appropriate textures for the song was a very welcome and refreshing addition to the production process. Everything you hear that isn’t the usual drums, bass, vocals, and guitar are all him.”

Sponge Cola’s “Siguro Nga” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

The Itchyworms brings festive cheer with “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko”

The Itchyworms keeps the holiday cheer going with the simultaneous release of two Christmas songs “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko.” In honoring the time-tested tradition of writing Yuletide-themed originals that are meant to bring people closer to home in feeling and essence, the pop-rock quartet is keen on uplifting our spirits during the pandemic.  

Drummer and lead vocalist Jazz Nicolas points out the important of Christmas songs in a very crucial time like this. “We need to be reminded of the joy and hope and the spirit of giving. It’s the time of year when the world falls in love, so it’s important to listen to Christmas songs all year round.” 

Kelvin Yu, the band’s bassist, echoes Nicolas’ sentiments. According to him, Christmas songs are those anchors in our lives that we can always expect to be there for us no matter what the situation is. “There will always be Christmas songs: during good times, it further uplifts us; and during not so good times, it can provide us with that warm hug that everyone needs come December,” Yu shares.

Have A Merry Christmas: A Modern Holiday Standard

According to lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jugs Jugueta, “Have A Merry Christmas” is inspired by a meme featuring Jose Mari Chan, inarguably one of the most popular holiday tunesmiths ever. “When the Jose Mari Chan meme first came out, it was funny,” says Jugueta. “But then, people just do it every year and it becomes not as funny anymore. Anyway, one time I posted a challenge to my Facebook friends: instead of posting about Jose Mari Chan, why don’t you write your own Christmas song? ‘Have A Merry Christmas’ is an attempt to do so.”

Intricately arranged with Beatlesque pop harmonies, swoony string arrangements, and catchy, sing-along moments, “Have A Merry Christmas” fills the air with comforting message of joy and positivity. In describing the musical process behind the Christmas bop, Chino Singson, The Itchyworms’ guitarist, envisions a lush template in mind: “The melodies are definitely Britpop, and our classic shuffle a la Akin Ka Na Lang and Chocophotoland completes the aesthetic vibe.”

Written by Jugs Jugueta, “Have A Merry Christmas” is a “smorgasbord of Christmas tropes or cliches all rolled into one song.” Nicolas adds, “When you mix them all together, you get a song that pretty much says, Merry Christmas!”

Maligayang Pasko: A jazzy, tropical-infused jingle

Helmed and produced by Jazz Nicolas, “Maligayang Pasko” takes you back to the ‘70s and early ‘80s era: a laid-back, groovy tune that winks toward Manila Sound and city pop. It’s a nostalgic Hallmark anthem whose groove, to quote Nicolas, “is partly based on a latin or bossa nova beat, mixed with funky guitars.” 

The multi-instrumentalist member of The Itchyworms also add a little bit of camp experimentation in the mix in an attempt to highlight the band’s sense of musical adventurousness. Nicolas recalls, “I was very excited to use a combination of a vocoder, which is sort of a voice synthesizer and a text-to-speech type program to sing the chorus harmonies with us. I programmed three tracks of text-to-speech saying ‘mah lee guy young pass koh’ and tuned each them to sing in harmony.”

This organized chaos resulted into a Christmas song dipped in Tropicália and jazzy elements, and serves as an exploration into an unfamiliar sonic territory.

Both “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko” exude the timelessness of holiday songs, and its significance in bringing festive cheer to everyone, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. As Kelvin Yu puts it, “I feel that Christmas should still be celebrated this year, especially with the important people in your lives. This year has been tough on everyone, and has made us all appreciate our loved ones, and we can keep them close and celebrate life with them every day, and not only on Christmas.”

The Itchyworms’ “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko” are now available on all streaming platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

Ben&Ben hopes to empower listeners with massive new anthem “Di Ka Sayang”

Filipino folk-pop outfit Ben&Ben marks a definitive new era in music with the release of their new single, “Di Ka Sayang,” now out via Sony Music. 

Now more confident than ever with their newfound direction, the nine-piece collective drops an empowering anthem that respects individuality without prejudice.

Empowerment in the face of adversity

According to guitarist and vocalist Paolo Benjamin, “Di Ka Sayang” was inspired by a conversation with his brother Miguel Benjamin in a hotel room last year during one of their out of town shows. “Migs and I were having a conversation on our career choices and how hard it was to fight for who we really are and what we want to do in life, amidst societal and family expectations,” Paolo explains. “A year later, we decided to release it, at a time where we feel it is most timely, with everything tough going on, and with many of our dreams being crushed by the pandemic and other circumstances.”

Inspiring confidence and fearlessness in the face of adversity, the MTV Europe Music Awards-nominated band confronts everyday challenges of life with light and motivation. But instead of perpetuating the erasure of our collective struggles, their song “Di Ka Sayang” encourages listeners to get out of the rut and be in charge of their own decision matters, no matter the costs.

A massive statement

Written by Paolo and Miguel Benjamin and produced by Jean Paul Verona along with lead guitarist Poch Barretto, percussionist Toni Muñoz, keyboardist Patricia Lasaten, and violinist Keifer Cabugao, the anthemic rocker arrives with a massive statement: tribal beats and esoteric details that evolve into a soaring, pop-rock production, but whose unrelenting energy and sonic ambition feel like a natural progression from their past releases. 

Pat Lasaten recalls how the arrangement and production of “Di Ka Sayang” challenged the team to have fun and explore an entire new world of possibilities in terms of lyrics and musicality. “Our goal from the start is to create a vibe and sound like no other song of ours before: one that would immerse the listener into the message of the song, and into a mood that we wanted the message to be experienced in.”

This creative mindset allows Ben&Ben to hone their trademark sound without rethreading into past themes and venture into ideas outside of their comfort zones, especially now that the band has all the time to make new music under one roof. 

Vocalist and guitarist Miguel Benjamin shares in a statement, “We’ve also been exploring new soundscapes and writing about themes other than love and heartbreak, and we’ve been having a lot of fun in the process. Liwanag, and everyone who listens to us can expect more of these things to be shared to anyone who is willing to listen.”

Kintsugi-inspired music video

It also continues to spread its winsome streak as it dropped the official music video on Youtube. Helmed by Jorel Lising, the band’s frequent collaborator and the director behind their hits “Pagtingin” and “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin,” the visual accompaniment of the song follows the band performing in random intimate spaces with ‘Kintsugi’ artform as the backdrop.

According to vocalist and guitarist Paolo Benjamin, the inspiration behind the pottery repair method as the binding theme came from their production designer, Ms. Dianne Khu. “During the planning of the video, things came together in a very organic kind of way and we thought it fit the concept perfectly,” Paolo said in a statement. “Kintsugi is the Japanese art of piecing together broken parts of pottery with gold glue. By doing this, brokenness is made whole in a way that is much better than it previously was. Our percussionist Andrew even has a tattoo of ‘wabi-sabi,’ which is the Japanese philosophy of accepting and finding meaning in the imperfections in life and nature. We really saw Kintsugi as a powerful way to represent self-acceptance.”

Honoring the importance of embracing one’s flaws and accepting brokenness as something that you need to display with pride and not hide, the song sends a vital message to listeners who are going through difficult challenges in life, especially with the pandemic crisis taking a toll on everyone’s mental health. Vocalist and guitarist Miguel Benjamin points out, “This year has been the toughest year for many people from our generation, and a lot of us are in this state wherein a lot of plans, dreams, hopes, and goals were compromised, cancelled or rather ‘sayang.’ Even for us personally as a band, we had a hard time dealing with these same struggles. What we wanted to share however, is that we are never alone in our hardships, and that there is still hope in a better tomorrow.”

Ben&Ben’s “Di Ka Sayang” is now available on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

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

Alex Bruce drops infectious new jam “Yakap”

It’s been a very challenging year for the music industry in general, but not for Filipina rapper Alex Bruce, who continues to enjoy commercial and critical plaudits—thanks to her slickly produced, empowering anthems.

Her Wish 107.5 Bus performances of “Mind As A Weapon” and “Pull It Off” have garnered more than a million hits respectively, while the latter earned the young prodigy a record for the youngest female artist to have scored a top 3 on Wave 89.1’s weekly chart. To top it off, the 13-year-old rapper/songwriter has recently teamed up with global hitmaker August Rigo, whose songwriting and production credits include BTS’ “Black Swan” and Justin Bieber’s multi-platinum album, My World 2.0, for the trap banger “Go Crazy.”

With barely two months left for 2020, the feisty newcomer isn’t showing any signs of slowing down with the release of “Yakap,” an endearing love song in hip-hop/R&B form.

Intricately laced with dreamy atmospherics and infectious beats, “Yakap” finds Alex Bruce dealing with her first-hand experience on puppy love and infatuation. Her latest single plays out like a simp-worthy jam: thematically appropriate for Alex Bruce’s age, but charismatic enough to sweep listeners off their feet.

“Yakap is all about my crush,” the bubbly newcomer fondly shares the inspiration behind the urban jam. “Well, if you guys didn’t know, I’m 13 turning 14 this Christmas, and like a normal teenager, I started to experience weird things like puppy love. So for me to express my feelings, I wrote a song about this person.”

The song was a three-way collaboration with Alex Bruce, her dad, who is currently in Australia, and music producer Cursebox. The songwriting, recording, and production were done in a span of two weeks, with the involved heads brainstorming and working together though Zoom meetings to discuss matters related to the new track. Alex adds, “Sometimes it’s hard because I have online class and it’s still very different from homeschooling that I’m used to. I’m still adapting to this kind of set up, all of us are.”

For what it’s worth, “Yakap” truly has the makings of another game-changing hit. It’s another testament to Alex Bruce’s incredibly compelling talent as a rapper, singer, and lyricist—a triple-threat that will surely go to places in the many years to come. 

Yakap” is now available on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

“Sige, I-cover Mo Lang! Project” attests to 6cyclemind’s enduring appeal

As an initiative to introduce the younger listeners to the generation-defining anthems that conquered the airwaves for almost two decades, Sony Music Philippines and 6cyclemind are finally releasing the special compilation, Sige, I-cover Mo Lang! Project on Spotify and other streaming platforms worldwide.

More importantly, it brings a great opportunity for new artists to breakout in the music scene.
The covers record, which features shortlisted entries from music fans remaking select hits from 6cyclemind’s acclaimed pop-rock catalog, contains three tracks that were rearranged and given a fresh new spin to contrast or complement with the band’s distinct sound.

Released as digital singles a few months earlier, Bianca’s “Biglaan” and Twenty-Nine Eleven’s “I” took creative liberties in terms of arrangement and interpretation, but retained the original’s melodic sensibilities as a way to preserve and recognize its timeless appeal.

To date, Bianca’s version of “Biglaan” has racked up 1.6 million streams on Spotify, while Twenty-Nine Eleven’s version of “I” has amassed more than 3 million streams on the same platform.

Payapa Project, composed of Dan Billano (Vocals), JepoyAlmario (Percussion), Tatit Escolano (Guitars), Choi Gonzales (Bass) and Raf Gonzales (drums), completes the trifecta of releases from the Sige, I-cover Mo Lang! Project. The alternative rock outfit, through their vocalist’s powerful voice, was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to render their own version of “Kasalanan,” a chart-topping song from the album, Project 6cyclemind. Their infectious take officially drops today as the third and final single of the tribute compilation.

These songs are now re-released into a music video format helmed by the band’s manager and sixth memberDarwin Hernandez. The final versions of the cover tunes were recorded at Backdoor Recording Studio, and were produced by 6cyclemind and Soupstar Music.

Sige, I-cover Mo Lang! Project is now out on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Ben&Ben to hold online benefit concert for ‘Balik Eskwela’ project

Ben&Ben continues to support vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19 through Balik Eskwela: PuhonPart 2. The nine-piece collective is slated to perform their massive hits for a one-hour live show on October 4, 2020, Sunday at 5pm onwards via simultaneous streams on their official Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.

Following the unprecedented success of Puhon: A Ben&Ben FB Live Event for the COVID-19 Efforts and YouTube Live “Doors” Single Launch + Fundraiser, BalikEskwela: Puhon Part 2 aims to support students and teachers who are “left with limited to no ability to adapt to the changes” implemented in the Philippine education system during the pandemic.

“Ever since the end of the first Puhon, we’ve been aching to help out even more in our own little way,” Ben&Ben lead vocalist and guitarist Miguel Benjamin said. ”And so, when we were figuring out where to help with the myriad of problems in today’s landscape, we eventually zeroed in on helping out a sector that is very close to our hearts: education.”

While the first Puhon gig focuses on COVID-19 response relief efforts, Puhon part 2 prioritizes assistance to the education sector. As Ben&Ben lead vocalist and guitarist Paolo Benjamin puts it, “We have concluded upon analysis that this is one of the areas wherein most help is needed in these times. School in the time of the pandemic is something that none of us expected, and so we will do our best to help out in this major challenge.”

As part of the growing community of artists with a platform of hope and love, Ben&Ben is committed to holding a free online concert to rally support for their fellow countrymen and come up with response efforts specifically for those who are in need.

According to Miguel, this is the first time that Ben&Ben will self-produce a full-length online show during the pandemic, live from the BBTV house. “Expect a very intimate, premium live concert experience straight from our home to yours,” the singer-songwriter said.

The Balik Eskwela: Puhon Part 2 project is the second fundraising initiative of Ben&Ben through their community-driven website, www.puhon.ph, which aims to inspire, uplift and boost the collective morale of all the key stakeholders of the COVID-19 response through uplifting stories, music, art, and more.

The goal of the Balik Eswela Project is to gather funds for:• E-learning and physical supplies that will be distributed to public schools.• Care packages (PPEs and vitamins) for teachers and personnel assigned for distribution of said supplies.• Distribution efforts with localized transport systems that will be coordinated with LGUs.

To know more on how you can be part of Ben&Ben’sfundraising campaign, visit www.puhon.ph or check out the band’s official social media pages.

This event is brought to you by Ben&Ben, Sony Music Philippines, Y4WU Philippines, Planet Drugstore, Limitless Lab, The Spark Project and Brand On Demand.

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

syd hartha reflects on her self-awakening with new single “hiwaga”

In less than two years of being signed under Sony Music Philippines, syd hartha quickly rose to prominence with compelling pop/folk anthems that expertly balance lyrical depth with relatability and social relevance. From taking a pro-woman stand on “ayaw” to documenting the importance of self-restraint on “paru-paro,” the young singer-songwriter marks a clear step forward in terms of exploring outsider themes that even her contemporaries would seem to avoid. 

Having that same grasp of writerly elegance without resorting to repeating herself, syd hartha takes a moment to reflect on her personal actions through her latest single, “hiwaga”—a stunningly produced, stripped-down tune that deals with self-awakening and healing in preparation to becoming “the best version of herself”—to reference a line from the coming-of-age film, Lady Bird

Writing from a place of newfound perspective and riveting wisdom, syd wrote “hiwaga” as a reminder that no matter who you are and what you may be going through, you are still capable of being part of a better change. “Basically, the love you have for yourself reflects to everyone and everything around you,” the critically acclaimed musician explains. “There was a time in my life where I felt so stuck and started to question my existence and the reason for everything. What inspired me to write this song is my awakening to the fact that I was given this life for a reason. I want to heal so I can be the best version of myself for everyone around me and I want to inspire people to do the same.”

Quite a diversion from her usual sound, “hiwaga” is produced by Johnoy Danao, and performed with her backing band consisting of Bea Fabros, Raisa Racelis and Pat Sarabia. According to syd hartha, the track was recorded at the confines of the musicians’ homes under the guidance of Johnoy Danao. “Initially, we thought of a big production incorporating more instruments like horns, but we decided we wanted to give the song a lot of room to breathe and let the lyrics shine.” syd adds, “recording ‘hiwaga,’ was definitely challenging because it was our first time producing a single without seeing each other.”

The song also features a rap verse from syd herself, who admits that hip-hop has greatly influenced her songwriting. “As someone who’s so fond of several hip-hop artists’ writing and delivery, I noticed how stronger and more effective it is when the message is somehow spoken instead of sung. Also, when I wrote ‘hiwaga,’ it all started with just words; it was me having a conversation with myself. I decided then that I wanted the feel to be more conversational and more focused on the message of the lyrics.” 

syd hartha’s “hiwaga” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

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

Maris Racal shows her introspective side on new single “Not For Me”

Aside from making a name for herself as one of the breakout young actresses of her generation, Maris Racal has successfully dabbled in writing her own songs and challenging industry expectations with her intimate and refreshing take on pop music. From penning the chart-topping confessional “Ikaw Lang Sapat Na” to collaborating with Rico Blanco on the city pop-influenced ditty “Abot Langit,” Racal is surprisingly an effective chronicler of love anthems for the modern age—a guitar-toting songstress known for balancing commercial appeal with artistic integrity.

Bursting with youthful fervor and charismatic edge, Maris Racal’s latest single “Not For Me” stretches her introspective side of music-making to interesting places, while retaining the accessibility of her recent crossover hits. Her resounding confidence translates perfectly into the musical output, but it’s her conversational and matter-of-fact songwriting style that earns the stripes, revealing a degree of self-assuredness that comes with experience.

Inspired by Britpop acts such as Aqualung and folk-pop chanteuses like Lily Allen and Regina Spektor, Racal wrote “Not For Me” not so much for intriguing unconventionality, but as an outlet to express herself in a way that feels truthful and inherently raw. The driving piano chords and the soaring arrangements give her storytelling a more authentic spin, lending it an effortless breeziness while making sure it doesn’t lessen the emotional impact of the song.

With “Not For Me” putting a spotlight on her songwriting strengths, Maris Racal explores the complexities of romantic uncertainty with a surprisingly nuanced approach—unfiltered, no longer afraid of possibilities, and ready to own the moment.  

Not For Me” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Ben&Ben launches official fandom “Liwanag”

Fresh off the success of their BBTV episodes, Ben&Ben have launched their official fan club “Liwanag” as an initiative to help spread the band’s message of faith, hope and love. The initiative also celebrates the community’s unwavering bayanihan spirit and optimism to advocate for meaningful change and unity through music, despite the challenges that the nation is currently facing.

Presented with the opportunity to instill a deeper purpose in building a community that inspires people and connecting with fans on a more meaningful and intimate level, and after considering the suggestions of their music fans and conducting a careful deliberation process with their management team, the award-winning band decided to rename their fan base “Liwanag.”

“”Liwanag” is the new, official fandom name of Ben&Ben! We have heard your suggestions. We want to honor our Filipino heritage, at higit sa lahat, kayo ang Liwanag namin. #BenAndBenLiwanagFandom,” says Ben&Ben in an official statement.

Ben&Ben recently broke the Internet with their second batch of K-Pop covers featuring songs by BTS, GOT7, EXO and more.

#BBTVkpoptwo trended on Twitter Philippines at #1 again, similar to the previous BBTV episodes.

Join the Ben&Ben House here.

Details and image provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Rico Blanco releases fun, upbeat single “Happy Feelin”

Alternative rock icon Rico Blanco spreads love and positivity amidst difficult times on his new single, “Happy Feelin”—now out on all digital platforms worldwide.

On his second release this year under Sony Music, the award-winning producer and singer-songwriter delivers a bright, upbeat number that soars with an inescapable chorus and a rockabilly vibe.

For someone who has spent a career pushing pop music to exciting new places, Rico Blanco succeeds in releasing a diverse selection of tunes that blends crossover appeal with an adventurous edge. Count “Happy Feelin” as the latest addition to his winning streak: a finger-snapping, retro-leaning bop that finds Blanco dialing down his sonic ambition for something that resembles a big ball of sunshine.

“Happy Feelin” is the second song written and produced by Blanco in his home studio during the lockdown period. It’s the follow-up single to “This Too Shall Pass,” which was released on the first week of May 2020.

Stream Rico Blanco’s latest single here.

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.

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.

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.