The rise of OPM in 2017 (Part 1)


In every month of the year 2017, there is a foreign artist who visits Manila to do a show. International songs likewise continue to dominate the charts (with Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” as the Top Track for 2017 for Spotify Philippines). But Original Pinoy Music (OPM) continued to thrive, with the rise of streaming. Many Filipino singers made the country proud with their achievements abroad. Some artists celebrated milestones in the industry via an album or a concert, new discoveries were found, new names emerged either on indie and mainstream scene and local compositions still took centerstage.

Morissette Amon with Michael Bolton

All in all, despite the foreign artists invasion, some producers still gambled on local acts. It should also be noted, however, that some controversies, the alleged sexual misconduct in the indie scene, also emerged.

The following artists brought pride to the Philippines this year with their achievements abroad:

“The Voice Kids Season 2” Grand Champion Elha Nympha surprised everyone when she appeared at US TV show “Little Big Shots” in March. Produced and hosted by Steve Harvey and co-produced by Ellen DeGeneres, the show features “the world’s most talented and extraordinary kids.” She performed her version of “Chandelier” that had the original singer Sia share the video with a caption “Incredible!” Nympha also appeared on the local version of the show whose rights was acquired by ABS-CBN. Likewise, she flew to Paris, France this year where she was invited by Little Big Shots France to perform. Nympha also trended on YouTube with her and Noel Comia Jr.’s cover “Beauty And The Beast” by Ariana Grande and John Legend which is now at 4.2 million views.

Elha Nympha

Another “The Voice of the Philippines” alumnus, Season 2 winner Jason Dy flew to Malaysia to perform with Malaysian superstar Fazura their single “Nothing Like Pag-ibig” at the 2017 Asean International Film Festival and Awards Gala Night in Kuching, Malaysia. He was the only Filipino performer invited at the event attended by the region’s biggest stars and filmmakers. Dy also did a promo tour for the single in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur where he was a guest on popular TV and radio shows and was interviewed by the Malaysian press.

Meanwhile, his runner-up Alisah Bonaobra penetrated the “X Factor UK” as one of the finalists. Her journey though was a roller-coaster ride. After impressing the judges with her audition, being rejected in the later round of auditions, then given another chance to enter the second bootcamp, almost got booted out of the six chair challenge but survived through a sing-off then failed to reach the finals in the judges home. She eventually came back and was voted as a wildcard for Sharon Osbourne’s team. Unfortunately, she was eliminated on the third week.

“The Voice Kids Season 1” runner-up Darren Espanto also had a collaboration with Malaysian teen singer Nik Qistina this year with “Young Hearts” (Qistina’s single) and “My Baby and Me” (his own single). He toured Malaysia to promote his sophomore album “Be With Me” after making waves in Singapore last year. Like Nympha, he also had a video that trended—his take on “Despacito Remix feat. Justin Bieber” of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee now at more than 3 million views. Recently, he was awarded with his YouTube Silverlay Button Award for reaching more than 100,000 subscribers on his official VEVO channel—DarrenEs­pantoVEVO.

Sarah Geronimo

On the other hand, “The Voice of the Philippines Season 1” finalist and one of ASAP’s Birit Queens Morissette represented the Philippines in the Asia Song Festival in Busan after Asia’s Acousitc Sweetheart Sabrina wowed the Korean audiences in 2015. (There was no Philippine representative in 2016). She was also chosen to co-host Michael Bolton’s talent show “Bolt of Talent” on its Philippine leg which was broadcasted all over Asia via the Fox Network.

Speaking of Bolt of Talent, a Pinoy emerged as a winner—Lance Busa, a 22-year old singer from Butuan City. Seven of the former contestant at GMA 7’s “To The Top” bested seven other contestants from the region. Busa joins Michael Bolton in his world tour that included Manila last November and wins a record deal.

Actor-singer James Reid was voted as winner of this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards Best Southeast Asia Act beating The Sam Willows from Singapore, Faizal Tahir from Malaysia, Dam Vinh Hung from Vietnam, Isyana Sarasvati from Indonesia, Slot Machine of Thailand and wildcard Palitchoke Ayanaputra.

“Pinoy Big Brother Teens” alumnus Bailey May was chosen as part of the global pop group Now United formed by Simon Fuller (the man behind American Idol and managed the career of the Spice Girls). According to its teaser, Now United is a “new interactive pop group for new generation composed of incredible young performers from all over the world.

Teen singer-heartthrob Iñigo Pascual was likewise picked to sing and appear in the local music video of “Remember Me”, the lead song from Disney-Pixar’s new animated feature “Coco”. “Remember Me” was composed by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the Oscar-winning team behind Walt Disney animation studios’ 2013 feature “Frozen”.

Indie band The Ransom Collective became MTV Asia’s Spotlight for the month of November. They were also invited to perform at Laneway Festival in Singapore next year. Likewise, two other indie bands Pedicab and Cheats represented the Philippines in Hong Kong’s Clockenflap Festival bannered by acts such as Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Kaiser Chiefs and Feist while Ben & Ben, Kiana Valenciano, and Ree­se Lansangan became part of the 2017 artist line up for Music Matters Live in Singapore last September.

Local rock act Franco have, meanwhile, signed a record deal with international label Warner Music Singapore after being signed for years by MCA Music in the Philippines.

Of course, Sarah Geronimo was named as Best Filipino Act at this year’s Daf BAMA Music Awards. According to its official website the Daf BAMA Music Awards is “an international multicultural music award show presented by Daf Entertainment based in Hamburg, Germany.”

To top it all off, just this month, a capella group Pinopela bagged the top prize in the Hong Kong International A Capella Championships. The group also took home the Best Presentation Award. Pinopela is a group of 7 singers from all over the Philippines formed in Baguio in 2013.

Spotify Philippines’ top 5 OPM tracks for 2017

1. “Malaya” (from Camp Sawi OST) by Moira dela Torre
2. “Dahil Sa ‘Yo” by Inigo Pascual
3. “Sila” by Sud
4. “Tadhana” by Up Dharma Down
5. “Pasensya Ka Na” by Silent Sanctuary

(To be continued)


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