When it comes to discovering new music, Spotify is a big black hole to be sucked into. Which is perfect because if you’ve been feeling bored with your Discover Weekly recommendations lately, it’s nice to sit down and actually dive into the indie or new artists side of the music realm. After months of listening to the same music over and over again, I finally found emerging singers I couldn’t stop listening to. And by the way, they’re OPM (Original Pilipino Music) artists.
There’s so much OPM to discover, but sadly, we don’t look hard enough. With mainstream international pop overshadowing the music scene, it can be easy to forget our very own local artists. But let me tell you, these emerging singer-songwriters are going to be hard to ignore. Relatively new to the music scene, these female artists on the rise are writing passionate lyrics that are driven by love, Filipino culture, and advocacies.
Alicia Litonjua, better known by her stage name Lesha, is an electropop artist known for her original compositions and song covers (which have both gained international recognition). Her first, “Bite,” was inspired by a feeling that she experienced during the fallout phase of her relationship wherein she experienced much anger, self-doubt, and numbness.
Joslin is a part-time singer-songwriter and college student studying in UP Manila. She became an official signed artist under Viva Records before she even finished high school, and has released a ton of music in the last two years —all on Spotify. Her most-streamed single “Sayo” is about heartbreak, moving on, and finding herself again.
“I work hard to give sad gays the music they deserve,” says Pixie Labrador. She is an openly lesbian singer-songwriter who sings about the under-representation of lesbians in the music industry–something that’s unfortunate because she believes that music can help mainstream discussion of LGBTQIA issues. Her single “What It’s Like” narrates how she loves a girl from afar.
Raw songwriting, dreamy melodies, and soulful vocals come together in Niki Colet’s folk-inspired indie-pop music. Drawing comparisons to Lana Del Ray, Joni Mitchel, and Jeff Buckley, the singer-songwriter wrote her first song at the age of 10 and has been making music since then. Her top single “I Wish” talks about the euphoria of romance and longing for love.
ena mori is a half Japanese, half Filipino indie-pop artist and a singer-songwriter that fuses musicality and personal experience to create her own sophisticated pop sound. She cites Lorde, Sigrid, Queen, and Prince as some of her musical influences. Signed with Offshore Music Philippines, her single “Break” tackles forgiveness in love and life.
Known for her intricate folk-pop song aesthetics and seductive vocals, 17-year-old Syd Hartha is where it’s at when it comes to original Pilipino music. Her most popular song covers include “Young Dumb & Broke” by Khalid, and Titibo-Tibo by Moira Dela Torre. She recently released her new song “Ayaw,” which addresses sexual harassment and abuse.
Art by Tricia Guevara
For the latest in culture, fashion, beauty, and celebrities, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here