I am bloody thirsty for Original Pilipino Music (OPM). Because for a looong time since the millennium, cover songs have become the trend. How did it happen? What happened after the ‘90s? From high school to my college years, everywhere I went, I only hear original songs playing on the radio side by side with the music from foreign artists. The music industry was very competitive. We could compete with the rest of the world!
Though I remember there were still brave ones releasing their own songs, particularly the group artists or rock bands, cover songs continued to dominate the local charts. I remember many solo artists were happy that time. Because for a long time during the ‘90s—what was considered to be the second golden age of Philippine music (the first was during the ‘70s)—because of the many radical bands that sprouted and the very unique music they contributed that paid requiem to the soul of every tired and weary listener, solo artists were set aside in getting projects. I remember it even became news that solo artists were losing business because of these group artists that produce their own brand of music—unlike the solos who depend on another party called the composer and/or lyricist and the singer gets all the credit.
Cover songs made easy money to recording companies. It lessened their expenses and effort and like an avalanche, it instantly killed the vibrancy of the music industry. Group artists/bands that I have come to love disbanded due to zero projects/offers, the number of bands greatly diminished and the survivors are now can be called an endangered species. Talented singers who can compose their own songs have been discouraged by their record producers to release original songs and were ordered to capitalize on hit songs performed by foreign and other local artists. Their obedience to this order indeed ensure the brisk sales of their albums. What these people didn’t know—yes, both the talent and the recording companies—was that they were digging their own grave without realizing it. Because you know what happened next? Some recording companies closed down for some strange reasons. Piracy became worse. Nobody buys CDs anymore and opted for downloadable tunes from the Internet. The music industry went into a coma. And somewhere around the corner, a girl (that’s me) who’s been a supporter of OPM since she was a student was gripped with sadness. So for a long time since that day, she chose to enjoy listening to silence rather than hear foreign songs sung by Filipino artists who even have the nerve to put it in their album or worse of all, call it an album.
Then came one day, when I got to read this review by Rito P. Asilo about KZ Tandingan’s self-titled album.
“Her 10-track collection gathers KZ’s romantic musings about falling in love (the sunny, self-penned ‘Love, Love, Love’ and Toto Sorioso’s jazzy ‘Umiibig’), yearning to be loved back (Francis Salazar’s ‘Puro Laro’), getting her heart broken (Domingo Rosco Jr.’s Himig Handog entry, ‘Scared to Death’), and moving on (Jonathan Manalo’s ‘Un-Love You’)—a veritable pastiche of sophisticated tunes that drip with raw emotions,” writes Asilo.
KZ Tandingan is new in the music industry. A product of a reality talent search called X-Factor Philippines, I am not really so fond of her. She just doesn’t fit my standards when it comes to an artist that I’d like to admire. I admire people who are talented yet oozing with humility, and not oozing with so much confidence, if you know what I mean. I was surprised that she was the winner although I hardly watched X-Factor so who am I to judge? But because I was, I am bloody thirsty for something original, I bought her album.
If you ask me, after listening to it, to her album, I would have to say that she captured my soul. Her voice, it was like ice. So calming. I am saying these based on the first time I immersed myself with her music. The songs, they’re perfect to heal a tired spirit. They’re beautiful, too. Wonderful melodies and profound lyrics. I just wanna sit back and relax. And think. As of the moment, my favorite track from her album is “Bakit Lumuluha” (a straightforward ditty about being human).
In celebration of her tenth anniversary in the entertainment industry and her 25th birthday last July, Sarah Geronimo released a new album entitled “Expressions.” The artist that has captured not just my soul but my heart (because I’m a fan!), her album is 80% original tracks. So far, my favorites are “Ikot-ikot” (about the trials and hardships of a longtime relationship–I just love its classy tune!) and “Tayo” (an upbeat song about rejections, heartbreak when loving someone). I know when I’m in a different stage of my life, I would be able to relate to other songs there which are also beautiful.
These offerings to music listeners from artists KZ Tandingan and Sarah Geronimo are truly just like a breath of fresh air. And I just wanna relish this moment.