Monday, 25 May 2015

The B-Side of Pinas

by Ariani Adam

From 20th to 23rd May, four Filipino prides took on Music Matters Live 2015 and wowed the crowd with another side of Filipino music – from electronic music production to acoustic and even pop rock.

Not the Norm: Soul singer Abby Asistio is an Alopecia Awareness Ambassador who gained mainstream recognition after auditioning for the first season of The Voice of the Philippines where she performed bald, proving that her condition was by no means a limitation for her to pursue her dreams. PHOTO BY: Ariani Adam

Belting notes, high power performance and power house vocals. These are the typical stereotype of a Filipino singer. Belting notes, however, is not the only way a Filipino vocalist can show off their talents. Artistes like BP Valenzuela and Abby Asistio are the epitome that it is not necessary to have vocal chords like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey to be named “a good singer”. Indie and rock bands Farewell Fair Weather and Save Me Hollywood also showcased the zest of Filipino music throughout the four nights of music.

With the opportunity to perform at several venues in Clarke Quay, the four artistes had the chance to not only reach out to new fans but also other musicians from all over the world; exchanging experiences and knowledge. Because of the conferences put in place during the festival, Music Matters differs from other music festivals happening in Singapore, giving budding artistes a platform to learn more about the scene.

Abby Asistio, a Filipino pop soul singer/songwriter, knew about Music Matters Live from a friend who participated last year. She said, “It’s really great to be exposed to what’s happening in the scene, and with this whole experience, it’s not only about performing but also the conferences that we learn from.”

19 and Thriving: 19-year-old electronic music producer/songwriter BP Valenzuela wowed the crowd with her amazing set of laid back electronic music, different from your usual dub step music. PHOTO BY: Ariani Adam

BP Valenzuela, whose electronic music was inspired by her life and Manila city itself, shared the same thought. She said, “It’s not just a festival. With the conferences I’ve been attending there’s a lot going on. It’s surreal because I’m here and I get to connect with other artistes globally.”

With the varied music scenes in Philippines, independent artistes like them would always be posed with challenges but that never stopped them from excelling in their crafts. BP Valenzuela had the opportunity to share the same stage with international artiste, Kimbra – and Abby Asistio gained mainstream recognition after her audition at the very first season of The Voice Philippines.

Indie Flavour: Farewell Fair Weather showcased the other side of Filipino music at Crazy Elephant in Clarke Quay. PHOTO BY: Ariani Adam

Farewell Fair Weather, an indie band, serenaded the crowd throughout the festival with their laidback music – of which is not common in the Philippines. Mic Mic Manalo, the vocalist of the 5-piece band said, “This whole experience has been an eye opener for us and it really helps independent musicians arrange and organise themselves to understand more about marketing, branding and advertising the brand.”

“As a Filipino artiste, it’s really great that we’re encouraged to step out of our little box in terms of what music we’re supposed to create and how we’re supposed to present ourselves. It’s really a huge platform for us to be unique and show our talents without any boundaries or limitations of what an artiste is supposed to be or look like,” Abby Asistio commented.

Despite the limitations, the Filipino music industry is making the efforts to support independent artistes like the four who participated in Music Matters Live this year. Even in Singapore and any other countries, the beginning of the road is always tough.
Mic Mic Manalo offered advice to budding musicians just like them. She said, “Be really patient and truthful. Be passionate about what you do even though it’s really hard to get to where you want to be.”

Passion is certainly an inspiration. Budding musicians, you know what to do! Strive on and we’ll see you on the flipside.

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