Manila X on its third year has evolved and rebranded to Manila NeXt this 2018, with a much more compact and concise yet fully charged lineup. Bringing the same intoxicating mix of fashion and music that the brand has been known for, the more finely tuned showcase last April 14 at the Cove Manila in Okada, can be considered as this franchise’s best ever, yet, as it just gets better every year. But let’s focus on the musical part of its presentation with a lineup featuring none other that Manila’s next generation of musical artists!
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Velvety vocals? Check. Slick moves? Check. Opening the show, Kiana Valenciano performed her biggest hit to date, "Does She Know." And that’s how you open Manila Next, what a truly impressive performance it was! Her dad, none other than Mr. Pure Energy, Mr. Gary Valenciano was such a proud parent capturing her daughter's performance on Instagram Live. But she has definitely grown into her own artist 'cause no one else sounds and moves just like her. She truly headlines this next generation of music artists!
Donny Pangilinan follows suit as he also brings his own brand of swag with his own original music. Not bad at all. He makes up for the bad first impression of a performance I saw of him, way back on live TV, and brings it on to show that he is worthy of being one of Manila’s "next." His track "Did You" is indeed representative of this current generation’s sound.
Claudia Barretto and Gabbi Garcia also performed their own music to show everyone at Manila Next that they are more than just pretty faces. Though both gorgeuos gals were still raw and rough on the edges, it is evident that these artists are brimming with so much potential.
Poor Taste went all out, first with his guitar riffs, and then with his wicked rhymes. Another very distinct and imaginative artist that we should definitely look out for aside from being a producer for other acts like James Reid. He may not have a towering build, but his presence was astounding enough to fill the stage. His repartee with Brett Jackson a.k.a. KingwAw was a plus, too, as they were the only artists to jump on the water as they performed. Definitely, one of the highlights of the event!
And then we have Fern. This music whiz teenager was actually who I was most excited to see onstage. I have been a fan of his music since I first heard his debut track "Into You," maybe 'cause he sounds and looks a bit like one of my favorite artist nowadays—Troye Sivan. He does move a bit like him, too, but there’s no denying that this kid’s pure talent and he’s just freakin’ 17! Aside from his originals, he also performed a cover of Dua Lipa’s "New Rules," and it was nothing short of awesome. He was my favorite act of the night, hands down.
The powerhouse finale featured of course, Nadine Lustre, who recently just launched her own makeup line Lustrous under event co-presentor BYS Philippines. Though her portion was only short but sweet as she performed her hit and lit single "St4y Up," it was definitely worth the wait as she closed the show!
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Photographs by Vyn Radovan