With Nadine Lustre dropping a massive virtual showcase on her debut album and talks of Ylona Garcia collaborating with Asian American music collective 88rising, we can’t help but feel proud of the Filipina musicians making waves in the industry. Since 2020 took away the thrill and bliss of jamming to our faves in intimate bars and festivals, we had to make do with the virtual scene of gigging. Though we may not be able to meet the artists and fellow gig-goers after the show, we still do get to enjoy the performances with a cold bottle (or bottles) of beer from the comforts of our homes.
While we’re highkey manifesting the safe return of live gigs soon, here’s a list of bands and solo acts to look out for. Who knows? They might be dropping new music sooner than you think.
Liana is a Manila-based R&B singer-songwriter who credits songwriting as a huge part of how she makes sense of life. She debuted her first single “Ghost” in 2017 and you may have caught one of her performances in venues like Mow’s Matalino and Route 196 (RIP, we miss you terribly). She recently started an online challenge that invites fellow musicians to collaborate with her on her latest single. Named after the song “Uncertainties,” the #UncertaintiesChallenge has been inspiring several budding artists to jam along even through virtual means. You can check them out on Liana’s Instagram story highlight.
“Thank you so much for taking time to listen to my music; you can expect me to release more heartfelt, honest and raw songs this year,” the R&B artist told us.
Idk about you, but nothing’s more calming than the sounds of an African kalimba on a slow afternoon and this musician’s creatively incorporating that vibe into her soulful vocals and emotional lyrics. Bea Lorenzo launched her debut single “Ili (Hush)” in 2018 and has been experimenting with organic and electronic elements in her music. From falling in love with her sultry covers of OPM classics like the Eraserheads’ “With A Smile” and the Hotdogs’ “Langit Na Naman,” to catching her catchy lo-fi single “Kapalaran” on the radio, we can definitely say that her tracks are part of our fave 2020 releases. We can’t wait to see how she’ll mix things up this year.
Any Name’s Okay
Like a lot of bands in the local gigging scene, Any Name’s Okay got their groove thanks to the application process of a student-led music organization in college. Known for its upbeat catchy tunes, the band quickly grew an audience who’d dance with them at every gig. The five-piece alternative group recently dropped a music video for “Vivid,” and while vocalist Sofia Abrogar told us that the band is gearing up for something new this year, the group can’t spill anything yet. Stay tuned, y’all.
For those all up in their feelings, Joslin’s confessional lyrics and mellow tunes may soothe your soul. The indie synth-pop musician’s single “Kalawakan” made it to not one, but two original movie soundtracks—“Kahit Ayaw Mo Na” starring Andrea Brilliantes and Kristen Fulgar, and “My Bakit List” starring Louise de los Reyes and Germaine De Leon. With a sound that reminds us of a cross between Taylor Swift and Beabadoobee, Joslin’s music could be just what you need to make sense of those hard-to-figure-out feelings. Last year, she released a music video for her song “Sayo” and dropped her latest single “Strawberry Milkshakes” on Spotify. With a YouTube channel full of vlogs about her college life in quarantine, you can look forward to more things aside from music from this young content creator.
Japanese-Filipino artist Ena Mori is taking indie pop to a whole new level. The young singer-songwriter launched her self-titled EP in February last year and we just can’t get enough of it. Featuring IV of Spades’ Zild Benitez on the bass, her single “Fall In Love!” will make anyone get on their feet and groove to the catchy electro pop beat. Plus, she also released a sultry reimagined version of the song. We love versatility in this house.
We’ve noticed that the music scene needs a lot more women guitarists, and Bowling Night is here to make that happen. Lead vocalist and guitarist Jea Gaviña calls the up-and-coming group “a four-piece band of clueless friends trying to make girly rock music.” While they only have one original song up on their soundcloud, Bowling Night has been active in the pre-pandemic gigging scene and even opened for American folk-pop artist Lucy & La Mer last year. Asked about their plans for this year, Jea was happy to share that the band is coming up with new music soon.
“With the absence of live gigs, we’ve been trying to figure out how we can still make music together. So we’re learning a bit more about recording from home, and we plan to release a few songs this year. We don’t really know what we’re doing, but it’s been fun,” Jea said.
For the lovers of funk and soul, here’s a local act you need to check out. Inspired by artists like Hiatus Kayote, Tom Misch and Jorja Smith, Granny Lee raises the roof in any gig they perform with their groovy beats and electrifying vocals. If you can’t get enough of the group’s catchy singles “Stockholm” and “Don’t Wanna Be Alone On Weekends,” you have to check out their covers on their Facebook page, too. Granny Lee recently took on Jacob Collier’s #AllINeedChallenge and shot a socially-distant music video that we bet Collier himself would be proud of. As for more original music, the soul rock band said it’s working on another recording. Exciting times indeed.
Known for speaking up about her advocacies through music, Stef gave us our 2020 Pride anthem “Live for Love” and our quarantine rage track “Unrest” under the duo Stef & Euge. For her solo projects, she released a mysterious music video for her radio-hit single “Trust” that we can’t stop thinking about. More of our favorites are her recent singles with Euge—the ‘80s Japanese city pop-themed “On The Run” and the electrifying “Eyes” (which also has a second synth-heavy version). If you’re looking for more catchy and socially relevant R&B tunes, Stef sure is an artist you don’t want to be sleeping on.
To help you out, we created a Spotify playlist with some of our fave tracks from these artists. Happy listening, besties!