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Students by Day, Musicians by Night


Photo by: Mico Go; Edit by: Gaby Silao

It’s finally February and you know what that means- UP Fair! UP Fair Week is probably one of the most exciting times of the year for the University; thousands of fans flock to the Sunken Garden to watch their favorite OPM bands play the most anthemic songs live. High-energy events like this show just how much the local music scene has made an impact on Filipino music fans.

OPM music has recently been revitalized by young, emerging artists who have taken advantage of social media and music streaming platforms to get their music out there. In UP JMA, some of its members are part of this talented group. They’ve made hits, won contests, performed in theatre and produced for other artists among other things. Let’s learn some of their insights on what it’s like to be a young OPM artist.


Pio Dumayas

Lead singer of Lola Amour


How did you start out?

My high school, De La Salle Zobel, has always been buzzing scene for music. It just so happened that the members of my high school barkada all played instruments so we made a band from there.

Which artist had the greatest influence on your work?

John Mayer. His lyrics and the way he structured them is really what stuck to me the most, even more than his instrumentation.


What is your favorite part about making music? On the other hand, what are the challenges you face?

I can never write a song that I don’t feel strongly about. Even if our song Pwede Ba was inspired by something so whimsical, I had strong feelings about inevitable separation when I fleshed out the lyrics. What I love about making music is how I get to immortalize my feelings through the song. For me, it’s like taking a photo of how I feel at the moment.

I do face some challenges though. As our schedules get busier and busier, I find myself having less time to write and stay in touch with my creative side, which ultimately is the paradox of a budding artist.


What would you say is your greatest accomplishment as an artist?

I’d like to think that my greatest accomplishment is making a song that fans relate to. There’s something so gratifying about being able to articulate listeners’ feelings for them.


How do you see OPM in the present? How about in the future?

OPM is going nowhere but up right now. This digital age has made music accessible to anyone.

In the future, I see a bigger demand for OPM. Maybe even internationally, the same way Japanese indies have a decent following here.


Follow Pio and Lola Amour on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook: @lolaamourph

Listen to them on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/29zSTMejPhY0m7kwNQ9SPI


Catch Lola Amour on February 15 in Cosmos: UP Fair Friday! Follow facebook.com/upfaircosmos for more information!



Joseph Marasigan

Music producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with young artists such as Fern, Kiana Valenciano, and Tala


How did you start out?

I started playing the piano, guitar, bass, drums, cello, harmonica, and a bunch of other stuff when I was very young. I downloaded FL Studio, a beatmaking software, when I was about 14, doing mixes & beats and stuff. When I was 16, I started to really take my music seriously by releasing it on Soundcloud and Spotify, as well as writing scores for short films.

Which artist had the greatest influence on your work?

Parliament-Funkadelic, Michael Jackson, FKJ, Mura Masa, Pink Floyd, Brockhampton, and anything I’m listening to right now. I’m all over the place.


What is your favorite part about making music? On the other hand, what are the challenges you face?

I love surprising myself and hearing my ideas actually work when I listen to it! It’s always an awesome feeling when you try out something crazy and listen to it, finding out that it actually works. I have a really hard time discerning when something I do is done because I often get carried away.


What would you say is your greatest accomplishment as an artist?

I think people value my music more than I do. Seeing the impact it has on other people—just knowing that someone listens to my stuff in a car ride or puts it in a playlist—feels pretty surreal.


How do you see OPM in the present? How about in the future?

OPM is so groundbreaking right now—bands like Brisom, Ben&Ben, and Silent Sanctuary don’t only sound good; they’re not afraid to innovate. And the world is honestly ready for it, diversity-wise. I think it’s just gonna keep getting better and better.


Listen to Joseph on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5ijWl8UUStJQBnHDsuN1VA?si=N9lTYbgRQRKOpPKtK4iFtA

Soundcloud: https://www.soundcloud.com/josephgregorymusic

He’s also got an EP coming this Mid-April!



Joaqui Madamba

aka “MadMadamba”, member of BTC Sounds


How did you start out?

I spent the summer after fourth grade learning how to play all the instruments in a band and eventually formed one in the fifth grade. After familiarizing myself with all the elements of a band, I decided to teach myself how to mix and produce sounds by myself. I’ve been performing in gigs ever since High School.

Which artist had the greatest influence on your work?

I wanted to start a band after listening to a lot of Fall Out Boy. I also grew up listening to OPM bands such as Eraserheads, Parokya ni Edgar, Sandwich, Spongecola, and Kamikazee- bands that have influenced the musical style of my band, BTC. I learned about “live-looping” from Ed Sheeran, a playing style made famous by him.


What is your favorite part about making music? On the other hand, what are the challenges you face?

Music to me is the language of expressing emotions. One of the challenges I face when making music is whenever I’m not able to deliver a message to my listeners properly. But on the other hand, my favorite part about making music is being able to share and communicate a certain type of feeling with a community of people who understand the message of my music.


What would you say is your greatest accomplishment as an artist?

My greatest accomplishment as an artist would have to be the “underdog” championship that my band BTC won back in 2015 for the San Miguel Oktoberfest. As freshmen in college, we had to compete with veterans with sophisticated gear and record labels!


How do you see OPM in the present? How about in the future?

Filipino music has made its way to the international market thanks to the internet. I’m glad to hear the local sound in foreign radio stations and music festivals and I’m looking forward to see the OPM music culture grow even further in the future.


Check out Joaqui’s band on twitter/instagram/facebook @BTCsounds!

Check out bit.ly/joaquisgigs for some of Joaqui’s solo-looping gigs and BTC’s as well!



Kiara Dario

“Ang Huling El Bimbo” actress and singer


How did you start out?

I started singing when I was 3 years old, but I started taking a real interest in performing once my parents enrolled me in Repertory Philippines Summer Workshop at 5 years old, and then began performing in school plays and high school events. I began my professional career at 15 with Repertory Philippines’ Camp Rock and since then I’ve never stopped!

Which artist had the greatest influence on your work?

As a vocalist and performer, it’s kind of cliché, but Beyoncé has to be one of the people I look up to most. Just being at her concert was such an amazing experience, and more than her skill, her star power is just insane. When it comes to making music, I am really influenced by the young women in pop right now – NIKI, Lorde, Kehlani. I like that they’re very clever and unapologetic when it comes to their lyrics and I think that is something very relevant and prevalent in our generation.


What is your favorite part about making music? On the other hand, what are the challenges you face?

My favourite part about making music is being able to share it with other people. It’s the best thing in the world when other people can relate to what you’re saying and you get to express yourself authentically and honestly. One really big challenge I face is writer’s block; as a perfectionist, it’s hard for me to finish (or sometimes even start) writing a song because I have a tendency to feel like it’s not good enough. I really envy the creative freedom a lot of other artists have.


What would you say is your greatest accomplishment as an artist?

I think one of my proudest accomplishment so far was originating a lead role in this original musical I had just closed last January, Flashcard Tangle. It was almost literally a race of our lives; we hadn’t really finished creating the musical until we opened. I was exhausted, but I take a lot of pride in that feat because the whole production was proof that a bunch of young artists could get together, do something different and honest, and people would enjoy it. Sometimes I feel so small and powerless in show business, but that experience taught me that art can be enjoyed and made by anyone, no matter where you are in life.


How do you see OPM in the present? How about in the future?

I really am grateful for the emergence of internet music streaming platforms because artists are now given endless opportunities to get their music out there. I think one of the biggest challenges in the music industry was the rampant internet piracy, but with apps like Spotify, people are opting for legit, legal ways of accessing music that the artists actually earn from. I hope OPM continues in the direction it’s going where people are starting to realise the importance of supporting local artists, especially among the younger generation.


Catch Kiara in the rerun of the original musical based on Eraserheads songs, Ang Huling El Bimbo, opening on March 1 at Resorts World Manila!

SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/kiaramiren

YouTube: youtube.com/kiaramiren



Can’t get enough of OPM?


Feeling the OPM fever?


This February 15, Cosmos: UP Fair Friday is going to bring the best that OPM has to offer with local acts like: Silent Sanctuary, Hale, Itchyworms, Lola Amour, Ben&Ben and many more. Watch them grace the stage and play their greatest hits in the Sunken Garden!


Follow Cosmos at facebook.com/upfaircosmos for more information!


Listen to the Cosmos Spotify Playlist to get your OPM fix right here:

https://open.spotify.com/user/upfaircosmos?si=u_F8SJqWQ02pzKVrLdD2yA

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