National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab believes that after the renaissance it is going through right now, the Origi­nal Pilipino Music (OPM) industry can only go higher.

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Mr. C poses with the new generation of songwriters
(Philpop Facebook)

“Ang OPM ay buhay na buhay lalo na sa live performances,” he said. “Ang daming banda at singers ang nagta­tanghal ng kanilang uri ng musika at entertainment sa iba’t-ibang dako ng bansa.”

More Filipinos seem to embrace different kinds of music genres, too. A testament to that is the success of Pinoy Playlist Music Festival (PPMF) in 2018, where over 400 homegrown talents – from indie and folk to rock and pop – per­formed during the six-day musical.

“Ang vision ng PPMF ay iangat sa kaisipan ng publikong Pilipino na ang musikang sariling likha ay hindi lamang isang uri ng entertainment, bag­kus ay isang buhay na tradisyon – the binding ‘glue’ that forms, strengthens and positively moves the Filipino community, thus rendering it vital and essential to keep on making and supporting Filipino-made music,” Cayabyab said.

On its second year in 2019, the festival plans to feature as many performers as last year but with more collaboration among the talents.

“Almost a third of the slots are shared or collaborations among various artists. Twelve percent (12%) are new names/discoveries, seventy percent (70%) of slots first time PPMF appearance, and seventeen percent (17%) of that 70% are new names,” he hinted.

The power of the Internet has allowed grassroots artists, such as Autotelic and Jensen and the Flips, to build sizable fan base. Indeed, online has become an equalizer that gives even emerging musicians the opportunity to find their audience at last. You feel that when you watch them live, with fans singing along to their songs even if these weren’t played on radio, the traditional kingmaker of hit songs.

Aside from bands and singers, the time of the Pinoy songwriter is fast approaching. To ensure this momentum continues, the Philpop Musicfest Foundation established the Philpop Bootcamp to discover and hone promising Filipino song­writers.

“I strongly believe that we who have been here for some time now must do our part to make the next generation better than us. The bootcamp is here because we want the next generation of songwriters to continue producing music that tells our story as a people and as a nation. And we want them to be good in doing that – better than how our batch did it in the past – because this is the only way for OPM to evolve and make an impact here and abroad.”

What does OPM say about our culture, our identity as a people?

“Kahit na sabihin nating napakabata ng ating kultura kumpara sa ibang mga bansang malalapit sa atin (Thailand, In­donesia, China, Korea, Japan), sinasabi nito na ang ating kultura ay ‘vibrant,’ maunlad at exciting dahil we are all a work in progress. Marami tayong pwedeng patun­guhan, at nasasa-atin ang susi ng mga pintong nais nating buksan,” Cayabyab said.

He has always said OPM has great potential of going global, but with the support not only of the lo­cal music industry but the govern­ment and the Filipinos, as well.

“Kailangan ng masusing re­search at mapusok na follow-through para magtagumpay sa pag-export ng ating musika. Maraming magagaling sa laran­gan ng business na makakatulong dito, ngunit hindi pa natin nadi-diskubre ang tamang modelo na unique sa atin. I think we can do it, if everyone will work towards that goal.”

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