MANILA, Philippines – Noel Cabangon is not bothered by the influx of new batch of singers especially in this day and age when music gems are discovered either through reality talent searches or social media sites. Never mind if they are late bloomers or budding talents who aspire for a spot in the music arena.
“The talent searches are good (for aspiring singers) to be able to become popular instantly,” Noel told The STAR after the presscon to drumbeat the release of his latest album Byahe Pa Rin under Universal Records. “Dahil mahirap ngayon magpasikat ng bagong kanta, mahirap sumikat despite the platform trends where one can easily upload a song or simply use the tool to watch one’s self (on video) or listen to by the public.”
Apart from talent, the folk singer believes exposure also matters for wannabe singing stars and what better way to have an easy recall is to flaunt whatever talent one has through talent searches “because that five minutes of fame really means a lot especially to budding artists or celebrities.” That said, Noel doesn’t see new singers as a threat to his stature as one of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) icons.
Besides, his style is different from what it is today. If by any chance, you get to listen to the music man crooning OPM songs on the radio, online or on physical format, then you’ll know that his sound is soothing to the ears and relaxing to the mind.
Asked if he is open to collaborating with young singers, Noel nodded in excitement and said that collaboration is one way of taking in fresh ideas from new talents. “I also really want to learn from young artists.”
If given the chance, Noel looks forward to collaborating with artists who really create music like Davey Langit and Yeng Constantino. Noel shared his recent stint in Coke Studio gave him the chance to collaborate with 22-year-old rapper Curtismith who impressed philanthropist Richard Branson with his performance during the latter’s visit in Manila. “It was a very unique collaboration since he is a rapper and I am a folk singer and if you notice the combination is unique and I’m happy with the outcome.” Curtismith, Noel related, sang the chorus of his original composition Kanlungan before he proceeded to rap. “Ako naman, I interpreted his song Jus Chillin’ and add melody to it.”
These days, Noel is busy promoting Byahe Pa Rin, the third installment in his Byahe album series. It features his version of well-loved OPM modern classics like Tadhana by Up Dharma Down, Hari ng Sablay of Sugarfree and Kahit Kailan popularized by South Border.
“The album is called Byahe Pa Rin because it is composed of songs that became hits of the ‘80s, ‘90s and, of course, there are songs included for the present (generation),” explained Noel who admitted that OPM is very much in a challenging position given the new platforms that exist nowadays.
“And even if your songs are on social media and you have YouTube and everything, you are also competing with foreign artists. Even our fellow Pinoy, di naman laging nakikinig ng OPM, sometimes, there’s this need of encouraging them (to listen to OPM).”
Still, Noel believes it is every artist’s advantage to have his songs uploaded on different platforms. “That’s a good chance to sell and it’s also an advantage to people to have a lot of choices.”
And while streaming of music has become a norm, Noel believes that there are still many who prefer to invest in a physical copy. No wonder, he included in his album two original compositions which he deemed to be a hit to millennials. They are Missing You and Umiibig.
Other songs included in the line-up are Sa Kanya, Ikaw, Kung Okey Lang sa ‘Yo, Ako’y sa ‘Yo Ika’y Akin Lamang, With A Smile and I Will Always Stay This Way In Love With You.
Apart from the release of his new album, the singer-songwriter will join Christian Bautista, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Bituin Escalante on Aug. 30 in a concert titled Kaya Natin ‘To at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre of Resorts World Manila.
(Byahe Pa Rin is now available in all record stores nationwide. It is also available for digital downloading.)
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