For singer-songwriter Johnoy Danao, joining the Philpop Musicfest is not just about sharing his music and competing with some of the best artists in the country; it is also a personal crusade to reignite the Filipinos’ interest in “harana.”
“‘Uso pa ba ang harana?’ asks one particular song from Parokya ni Edgar, and I think it’s always been there, wala lang sigurong nagsusulat ng totoong harana,” Johnoy told The Manila Times in an interview.
Johnoy further noted, “Ang daming sumisikat na kanta na puro ‘I love you’ ang sinasabi, pero wala iyong talagang nagsusumamo or nakikiusap na ikaw ang piliin niya—and hindi ba iyon ang essence and reason kung bakit mo siya kinakantahan o hinaharana?”
A couple of lines in his Philpop entry entitled “Kung Di Man” reads “Kung hindi ako ang iyong pipiliin, aanhin ko pa ang hangin?” Johnoy said he wants his songs to be lyrical even without the melody. “It would be better if people could appreciate and feel the song just by reading the lyrics.”
Johnoy first gained fame through the Good Times: Acoustic podcast, which branded him as the “Philippines best kept secret,” as he did unique cover versions of popular songs.
Among his most popular compositions are “Ulan,” “Dapithapon” and “Ikaw at Ako.” “Ikaw at Ako” was part of the soundtrack of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo’s TV series A Beautiful Affair and has become a favorite song amongst couples.
It is, however, his first time to join a competition. “I think all the 12 finalists have equal chances of winning. Each song is unique and almost all kinds of genres are represented, so it would be hard to compare, let’s say a rock song from a folk song.”
It will also be the first time someone else will be interpreting his song. “Very personal sa akin ang mga kanta ko kaya it was a different experience, Ney Dimaculangan brought his own style and I am quite happy with how he sang it.
Aside from Ney, the other singers and finalists include Christian Bautista (“Araw Ulap Langit” by Marlon Barnuevo), Karylle (“Sa’yo Na Lang Ako” by Lara Maigue), and comedy duo Jose and Wally (“Askal” by Ganny Brown).
Sam Concepcion and Tippy Dos Santos will interpret “Dati,” composed by Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana; Bossa Nova Queen Sitti and Julianne Tarroja will collaborate on Jungee Marcelo’s “Pansamantagal;” while Joey Ayala will perform with Gloc-9 and Denise Barbacena to interpret his composition “Papel.”
Internet sensation Kimpoy Feliciano takes on “Sana Pinatay Mo Na Lang Ako” by Myrus Apacible, while Sponge Cola’s vocalist Yael Yuzon will perform Paul Armesin’s “Segundo.”
Completing the finalists are Ace Libre of the band Never the Strangers who will sing “Sometimes That Happens,” by Adrienne Sarmiento-Buenaventura; Callalily vocalist Kean Cipriano who will perform with Banda ni Kleggy to interpret “Space,” by Raffy Calicdan; and Six Part Invention, which will interpret the song “Time Machine” by Kennard Faraon.
Music icon and Philpop executive director Ryan Cayabyab emphasized the importance of choosing the right interpreters to turn this year’s finalists into big hits.
“A song starts with a seed idea like most creative works. How a song blooms into a potential hit or classic in itself a most interesting process,” he eloquently said.
The 2013 Philpop album will be released under Universal Records and will also have their own music videos, which will be shot by director Pepe Diokno.
The 12 finalists were chosen from more than 3,000 entries submitted from Filipinos both here and abroad. The grand finals will be held on July 20 at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City with the champion bringing home P1 million and a trophy.
For more information about Johnoy Danao visit www.johnoydanao.com and check out www.philpop.com.ph to learn how to vote for your favorite Philpop song.