Every month of the year in 2017, there was a foreign artist who visited Manila to do a show. International songs likewise continued 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 via 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.
All in all, despite foreign artists invasion, some producers still gambled on local acts. It should be noted, however, that some controversies, the alleged sexual misconduct in the indie scene also emerged.
The following artists celebrated their years in the industry via a concert/show: Rico J Puno – 40 years, Martin Nievera – 35 years, Jamie Rivera – 30 years, Dingdong Avanzado – 30 years, Jessa Zaragoza – 20 years, Greyhoundz – 20 years and Mayonnaise – 15 years.
Meanwhile, Ogie Alcasid and Arnel Pineda celebrated their 50th birthday via a show (and an album for Alcasid). Gloc-9 and Slapshock marked their 20th year in the music biz via albums “Rotonda” and “Atake” respectively. But the biggest one this year was Regine Velasquez-Alcasid’s two-night 30th Anniversary Concert titled “R3.0” held in October at the Mall of Asia Arena which was followed by an album of the same title.
‘The Voice Teens’
Jona Soquite, from Team Sarah, was named as the first winner of “The Voice Teens Philippines” beating Team Bamboo’s Isabella Vinzon, Team Lea’s Mica Becerro and Team Sharon’s Jeremy Glinoga garnering 44.78 percent of the votes. The 13-year-old belter from Davao won a record and management contract with MCA Music among other prizes.
The indie scene
“The Filipino indie artist is worth paying for,” said Mike Constantino, the lead vocalist of the jazz band Conscious and the Goodness, summing up the battlecry of Pinoy indie music artists. MCA Music gambled to produce a concert for indie acts titled “GetMusic: Indie Go” this year at Mall of Asia Arena which included Conscious and the Goodness, NINNO, She’s Only Sixteen, rock fusion band MilesExperience, R&B band Sud, dance rock band Autotelic, rock icon Gabby Alipe, 9-piece band Jensen and the Flips, Malaysian pop rock band An Honest Mistake, electronic musician Somedaydream and singer-songwriter Reese Lansangan.
Though not much people attended, it was “Step 1 from having people pay for local acts’ concerts,” Kai Honasan of Autotelic said. Even if they didn’t get the Arena support, the indie scene was very much alive in bar gigs and in festivals here and abroad. Their numbers on streaming platforms like Spotify were not bad either proving that their music can be heard even if you are independent.
Aside from the names mentioned, bands and names such as Up Dharma Down, Banna Harbera, The Ransom Collective, BP Valenzuela, Oh Flamingo, Ben&Ben, Apartel, Tom’s Story, Ang Bandang Shirley, Cheats, Leanne and Naara were some of the most anticipated during their gigs and their single/ album releases.
But just like the current wave of sexual allegations which started with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, it also hit the indie scene with bands like Jensen & The Flips, Sud, MilesExperience and Ang Bandang Shirley being alleged with sexual misconduct. Jensen & The Flips and Sud released a statement but suffered the consequence of getting dropped out of important gigs and sponsorships.
Himig Handog 2017
“Titibo-tibo,” a song about a girl who lets go of her boyish ways after falling in love with a guy, ended up as the winner of Himig Handog 2017 announced at ABS-CBN Sunday show “ASAP.”
The track was composed by Libertine Amistoso and interpreted by Moira dela Torre. Placing second was “Sampu” composed by Raizo Chabeldin and Biv de Vera and interpreted by Jona while “Extensyon” composed by Michael Aplacador and interpreted by Iñigo Pascual featuring Aikee garnered third place.
These songs as well as some other finalists’ tracks are now penetrating the charts of Spotify, iTunes and Myx proving that original music still has a place in the industry.
Local awards and achievements
The Myx Music Awards in March saw Gloc-9 taking home the coveted top trophy for Best Music Video Award for “Hoy” and Favorite Urban Video while Sarah Geronimo was voted Favorite Music Video and Favorite Song (both for “Tala”) by Myx viewers.
Darren Espanto also bagged two awards – Favorite Artist and Favorite Male Artist. Meanwhile, the major awards at Awit Awards last November went to Quest’s “Life of A Champion” which took home Album of the Year as well as Best Inspirational Recording for “Higher.” The Song of the Year went to Iñigo Pascual’s “Dahil Sa ‘Yo.” But Darren Espanto, aside from taking home the Best Selling Album Award, dominated the People’s Voice Awards of Awit, bringing with him a total of five – Favorite Collaboration (“I’ll Be There” with Jed Madela), Favorite Song (“Alam”), Favorite Record/ Single, Favorite Album and Favorite Male Artist.
Celeste Legaspi copped this year’s top trophy for Aliw Awards as Entertainer of the Year aside from taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Coke Studio Philippines
An innovative show on TV5 and YouTube launched this year where OPM icons and rising stars collaborate to create new sounds.
According to the primer, it is “a brand new musical program that brings artists of different backgrounds and genres together to fuse their music into unique new Pinoy sounds.”
Episodes include Noel Cabangon and rising rapper Curtismith, Gab and John of Urbandub X The Ransom Collective, Sandwich X BP Valenzuela, Abra X Gracenote, Ebe Dancel X Autotelic and Franco X Reese Lansangan.
Finally, a show that truly supported OPM artists, Coke Studio likewise helped bring music back to the people of Marawi City by bringing in Franco and The Ransom Collective to help uplift 5,000 refugees.
From Charice to Jake Zyrus
Charice, the former power belter discovered by Oprah and gained international recognition, reintroduced herself as Jake Zyrus. Becoming a he, Zyrus held a concert titled “I Am Jake Zyrus” in October.
Label movements and signings
Regine Velasquez-Alcasid went back to Viva Records while husband Ogie got signed by Star Music after their stint with Universal Records.
Gloc-9 returned to Universal Records after a one project album with Star Music. GMA Records’ prized artist Julie Ann San Jose transferred and signed up with Universal Records.
MCA Music signed up The Voice Teens runner-up Isabella Vinzon and fourth placer Jeremy Glinoga along with former contestants Franz Dacanay and Mike Escutin.
Former CEO and president of Fintechnology and Mariya’s Mistress bassist Ian Monsod was appointed managing director of Warner Music Philippines in October where it continued to sign artists for digital distribution.
Ex-Warner Music Philippines A&R head Jinno Mina was appointed as country head by US-based independent record label Ditto Music.
Billboard Philippines National Charts launched
Since its debut in 2016, Billboard Philippines finally premiered in June the country’s first rankings reflecting local music consumption. It uses localized on-streaming data from platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube plus download tracks from iTunes. Inigo Pascual’s “Dahil Sa ‘Yo” was the first No. 1 of the Billboard Philippine Top 20.
Kaye Cal, Shanti Dope, MilesExperience, Edray, Noel Comia Jr, Donny Pangilinan, Mark Carpio, Moira dela Torre, Moophs and Karencitta among others were some of the new names in the industry which had been dominating the Spotify and iTunes charts in 2017.
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Hope you will continue to support OPM by streaming, downloading, buying CDs or coming to their concerts.
Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2018. Stay healthy and keep the music playing!