I have always been curious as to why many Filipino artists choose to sing covers of popular American or international songs. With all the talent we have in this country, why are some of our most popular and talented singers “imitating” less talented international singers. You see, I grew up in the United States, and when I hear songs here in the Philippines being covered by an equally talented Filipino artist, it just doesn’t sound good to me anymore. I can say that, almost always, I prefer the original.
I have nothing against the likes of Sarah Geronimo or Christian Bautista when it comes to singing; in fact, I believe that they are very good in their craft. What makes me cringe is when they sing a popular Billboard song, and it sounds like a watered down version of the original. I feel like they haven’t really captured the soul and spirit of the song they are covering. I enjoy it so much more when Filipino artists are singing original songs composed by other Filipinos. Perhaps this is the reason why I enjoy listening more to Filipino bands more than Filipino pop or mainstream singers. At least the bands do compose original music.
I later realized that one of the reasons why talented Filipino singers covered so many popular American and international songs is that they were feeding into the “wants” of the mass. Most Filipinos enjoy music from the American pop charts. In fact, even American oldies are more popular than local Filipino songs. This is sad because I believe that OPM, or original Pilipino music, could be very good and so worth listening to, but since most Filipinos don’t listen to them, there aren’t many good OPM composers around.
On the bright side, I chanced upon a music contest that focused on the Filipino composer along with the song interpreter. What is even more impressive is that this contest has been running for 12 months, and the winner for each month is going on to the grand Finals. That means that the chosen finalists are already the best of the best from different batches. What makes it even more interesting is that, in a world dominated by pop music, this is a contest the focuses on Christian music. We rarely here about a Christian music singing contest, and this is like a breath of fresh air in the Philippine music industry.
Even more impressive, the album from the contest will not be sold. Don’t worry, it will be available to everyone for free. There is no need to pirate it. Why is it free? They wanted to promote Christian music to the rest of the world, especially to the Filipinos. This is simply amazing because in a world where record sales are dwindling due to piracy, here is a group that actually offers free music. I hope that they can find another way to monetize so that they can continue to attract composers who also need to make a living from their skills. Hey, I am a teacher, and I give scholarships away to the school I co-founded, but even I need to make some money to support myself.
On October 13, 2015, 6 p.m. at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, the ASOP Music Festival Year Four will hold its grand finals night. I have never attended a Filipino singing contest, let alone a Christian one, and I am excited to watch it live. Competing for the top prize are:
- Dinggin mo, oh Dios, composed by Cris Bautista and interpreted by Reymond Sajor
- Alabok, composed by Jesmer Marquez and interpreted by Jeffrey Hidalgo
- Sabi sa ‘yo, composed Joseph Bolinas and interpreted by Ney Dimaculangan
- Walang Hanggan, composed by Benedict Sy and interpreted by Maki Ricafort
- Jesus, I Love You, composed by Timothy Joseph Cardnaand interpreted by RJ Buena
- Mahal mo Ako, composed by Maria Loida Estrada, interpreted by Sabrina
- Kung Pag-ibig mo’y Ulan, composed by Christian Malinias and interpreted by Leah Patricio
- Dakila ka Ama, composed by Ella Mae Septimo and interpreted by Ruth Regine Reyno
- Ikaw na lang Mag-drive ng Buhay ko, composed by Rolan Delfin and interpreted by Betong Sumaya
- Pahintulutan mo, composed by Leonardo de Jesus III and interpreted by Philippe Go
- Salamat po, Ama, composed by Dennis Roxas and interpreted by Jojo Alejar
- Pakamamahalin din Kita, compoased by Dennis Avenido and interpreted by Nino Alejandro
- Php 500,000 for “Song of the Year”
- Php 250,000 for 1st runner up
- Php 150,000 for 2nd runner up
- Php 100,000 for 3rd runner up
- Php 50,000 for best interpreter
Some of the respected names in the music and entertainment industry have given their insights and critique for each of the song. They are Celeste Legaspi, Mon del Rosario, Jett Pangan, Jungee Marcelo, Lachmi Baviera, and the notable Ryan Cayabyab.