OPM thrives in 2016

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First of two parts
Who says Original Pilipino Music is dead? Not in 2016.

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Despite the decline in CD sales and the rise of streaming, the local music scene continued to flourish as more artists release original singles and albums. This is good as it encourages composers or artists to pen their own masterpieces rather than relying on covers to sell a single or an album.

Filipino artists were also given more opportunities to showcase their talents via performances and concerts though there was an influx of foreign acts the whole year round. Many discoveries emerged, some made the country proud, original songs were given the spotlight and some established acts returned with brand new releases.

Ely Buendia, Itchyworms collaborate
Rock icon Ely Buendia tweeted on April that band “Itchyworms is the true heir to the Eheads tradition.” So imagine the excitement when they collaborated on a single which debuted in August.

Titled “Pariwara,” Itchyworms said on their official Facebook page that the song “is a product of their first musical interaction together since the early 2000s, when Buendia asked the band to contribute to the Domino debut album Fair Tales.

The song, according to Buendia, “had been in his chest of unfinished ideas since the days of the Eraserheads.” When it premiered, the song got massive airplay on major radio stations. With the rock icon and hit-making pop rock group coming together, it is not surprising they produced a single that spells H-I-T.

Ex-Urbandub vocalist goes solo
Critically-acclaimed rock band Urbandub bade their fans goodbye via their sold-out concert in 2015 titled “Endless” but vocalist Gabby Alipe and guitarist John Dinopol reunited a year after for an acoustic show, “Endless Revisited” in May.

When a band decides to call it quits, the vocalist usually embarks on a solo career. As expected, Alipe did just that and produced a solid EP titled “A New Strain” in October.

He told Music Geek he wanted to come up with a collection of songs “that would best describe my current mindset, highlight my personal preference in music and most important, have a message within the topics I talk about in each song.”

The difference from Urbandub is evident once you listen to his EP. His debut single “Visions” became Number 1 at the Spotify Philippines Viral 50 upon its release.

Indies get signed by major record labels
Popular independent bands Autotelic and MilesExperience got a major record deal this year with international label MCA Music.

Autotelic launched their major label debut album Papunta Pabalik in October where nine of its tracks went on Spotify’s Philippines Viral 50.

MilesExperience’s independent album Again & Against was acquired by MCA Music and released it this month.

The band Sud, with their hit single “Sila” signed a distribution deal with Warner Music and consistent crowd drawer in shows and gigs.

Darren Espanto dominates Myx charts, releases international album
Darren Espanto may have lost the title as The Voice Kids Season 1 Champion but this 15-year-old kid is already a winner as he continues to make waves especially in 2016.

He released his sophomore album Be With Me in May with his four singles—“7 Minutes,” “Starlight,” “Parachute” and “Alam” all made its way to number one on music channel MYX countdowns proving his popularity.

Espanto’s album was also released in CDs in Singapore and Korea and traveled to the Lion City to launch his album. This year, he repeated his winning streak garnering various awards from MYX Music Awards, Push Awards, PEP List Awards, Star Awards for Music and others.

Aside from being a mainstay in the Sunday variety show ASAP, he is still in-demand for shows here and abroad.

Joshua Oliveros named ‘The Voice Kids Season 3’ grand champion
Finally, after victories from Team Sarah (Lyca Gairanod) for Season 1 and Team Bamboo (Elha Nympha) for Season 2, Team Lea had its champion for The Voice Kids Season 3 in the person of Joshua Oliveros.

The kid from Antique was voted by the audience as the grand champion in August beating Antonetthe Tismo from Team Sharon (who debuted as coach this season) and Team Bamboo’s Justin Alva.

Coming from a poor family like the previous winners, Oliveros won a management and recording contract from MCA Music plus other big prizes. In 2017, he will be finally releasing his debut album. Here’s hoping he will be as successful as the other The Voice Kids alumni.

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Next Thursday, Music Geek will wrap up the year that was in OPM in the second part of this column. Until then, Merry Christmas to one and all!

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