By Mariel Abanes
These days, it's easy to discover a new artist to listen to (thanks, Spotify, for your Discover Weekly and Your Daily Mix playlists!) or a new song that will give you a new LSS for the days to come. When it comes to local music, there's also no shortage of new sounds to explore—from veterans coming out with fresh, modern spins to their music to emerging artists with the latest offerings in different genres.
Speaking of these emerging artists, MCA Music found a way to discover some of these musicians who deserve a to be in the spotlight. During last summer’s GetMusic Indie-Go Fest, four promising acts from different universities were chosen to join a great lineup of musical artists to play at the Mall of Asia Arena. Here, get to know The Cohens, Papapeta, STLO, and Matty Juniosa, the next game-changers of the local music scene.
The Cohens, Ateneo de Manila University
Members: Paolo Lim on vocals/rhythm guitar/keys, Ian Invencion on lead guitar, Karl Valdez on bass guitar, and Joe Puyat on drums/percussion
Beginnings: “Back in our second year of high school, Karl and I were assigned to perform a song for our class, and we planned to play "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen. That’s how we got the name. It just stuck,” explains Paolo.
Fun facts: Their original sound is largely influenced by The Beatles. A few years and two guitarist changes later, they evolved from rock to indie pop-rock. They’re also slated to release their first Filipino song called “Please, Please” this year.
Best thing about being in The Cohens: For these boys, it’s the friendship they have formed along the way. From practice to actual gigs, being with each other feels like home—they’re a family.
Papapeta, University of Sto. Tomas
Members: Paulo dela Cruz on vocals, Sam Deuda on lead guitar, Lawrence Luna on rhythm guitar, Ace Gonzales on bass guitar, Daryl Mantaring on keys, Exzel Zoleta on drums
Beginnings: Paulo shares, “Nagsimula lang siya sa yabangan. We were classmates tapos nagturuan lang. 'Uy, ikaw na lang, ‘tol, kunin kitang keyboardist. Tapos ikaw na sa vocals.' Parang ganu'n.”
Fun Facts: They describe their music as “makata rock” because “may istorya ‘yung music namin,” adds Paulo. Watch out for their next single called “Panaginip.”
Best thing about being in Papapeta: Ace puts it simply: “Siguro, marami kaming pagkakaiba individually pero dahil sa pagkakaibang ‘yun, nagiging 'as one' kami.”
STLO, University of the Philippines
Members: Geli Cruz on vocals, Daniel Paringit on vocals/guitar, Jonathan Placido on drums, Eric Verdolaga on guitar, Nico Cincua on bass guitar
Beginnings: The band was formed when Daniel and Jonathan’s common friend had a debut party, which turned out to be their first-ever gig. The vocalist recalls, “Magkalaban talaga kami sa taekwondo. Tapos nakita ko sa YouTube nag-da-drum cover siya, kaya in-invite ko, ‘'Uy, bro, gusto mo mag-drums?’ Eventually, they found the other members until STLO became the five-piece band they are today.
Fun Facts: STLO’s name means, “Shoulder To Lean On.” They have a very dynamic sound, but the group agrees on one thing: their energy is their defining factor. One of their biggest dreams? “Makakatugtog sa iba’t-ibang schools, lalo na sa universities. At 'yung makapagpatawa kami, makapagsaya kami ng tao. 'Pag nakita namin na, ‘Uy, nag-e-enjoy sila,’ kahit isang tao lang talaga, okay na.”
Best thing about being with STLO: Guitarist Eric sums up their answer. “Napalawak namin ang mundo ng bawat isa. There’s growth kasi we have different genres and influences. Na-te-test kami as people and ‘yung skills namin as musicians.”
Matty Juniosa, De La Salle University
Beginnings: It runs through his blood—his father is a singer. He knew he could sing at age 6, but it wasn't until a few years later when he actually went out and joined singing contests where he eventually won.
Fun Facts: “Beyoncé is my inspiration talaga. That’s what I grew up with. I’m a screamer,” Matty shares.
Best thing about being a musician: “I think this is the beginning of Matty Juniosa because before, I was a nobody. Nobody knew who I was. Nobody knew I could sing. Dati kasi I’m a ‘cover girl’, puro cover-cover lang. Then, my passion really ignited to actually write my own songs and find my own sound—and I think this is what new artists should do. Nothing special just yet, but who knows?”
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Banner photograph by Chad Kirchoff via Unsplash.