Another thing I am thankful to PhilPop for is the experience of working with this awesome female trio. It's hard not to become an admirer once you've seen and heard them sing live.
You'll get an idea of just how good they are by just watching their numerous videos on youtube. No fancy microphones or effects, just an ordinary video camera and awesome live performances. You can tell these girls really have a passion for what they do by the number of videos they've uploaded showcasing their growing repertoire. Here's one of my favorites. You'll be impressed at how tight the vocals are, and it also shows their fun and "kuwela" side.
Krina Cayabyab (center) is the group's musical director, vocal arranger and sings Soprano 1. I can't imagine the kind of pressure that may come with being maestro Ryan Cayabyab's daughter, but Krina has definitely showed us that not only has she inherited her father's musical genes, but she's made a name for herself and can definitely hold her own.
Artista-pretty Anna Achacoso-Graham (right) sings Soprano 2, and the group's soulful and sexy Alto is Mel Torre (left). The group recently won Best Jazz Band in the Boy Katindig Jazz Competition held last month. Krina also won Best Instrumentalist in the competition.
Months before this all happened, I was thinking of what kind of entry to submit to PhilPop. I wanted to come up with something very different, and when the idea of writing a song for a big band, Baihana immediately came to mind. Since Krina was disqualified from joining the contest, I didn't have to worry about her submitting her own entry performed by Baihana and having to compete against that, so it was perfect. I was so excited about the idea of an Andrews Sisters-kind of vocals to go with a big band arrangement. I sent Krina a message, telling her what kind of song I wanted to do and to ask if Baihana would record the song for me, and I was thrilled to see they were just as excited, without even having heard the song!
When my composition "Bigtime" was done, I sent both Mel Villena and Krina a copy of my rough demo, in which I decided to sing all 3 parts so that the instrumental arrangement could be built around it. As the recording date was approaching, I told Krina I'd write the notes down so they could already start rehearsing the vocals. Before I could finish the piece, Krina sent me an email with an attached Sibelius file, asking me to check if she had correctly written down the notes. My jaw dropped. I was so amazed not only by her skill but also with her enthusiasm and hard work. She could have just sat back and waited for me to provide them with the piece, as I said I would. Instead, she listened to my pathetic rough demo and wrote down every note she heard. I was slightly embarrassed that she actually went through all the trouble, but at the same time I found it so endearing that she and her group mates were just as excited as I was for the project.
Recording day came and I wasn't sure how to record them, since it was my frist time to work with them. Would they record their individual tracks separately or together? After some deliberation, I told them we'd first do a guide track using just one mic where all three of them would sing so that the feel of the vocals would be there, and then each of them would sing along to this guide track one at a time. That way I could adjust the levels of each voice as needed.
Well, the recording process turned out to be much simpler. They sounded SO good using just one mic that there was no need to record them individually. Their vocals were so tight, it was actually like recording one person who had 3 separate voices. Amazing! They saved me time and money. Yahoo!! I couldn't be happier! The vocals went perfectly with the big band arrangement. I was so happy!
And then I got to see them perform live for the first time at 70s Bistro in Anonas one evening. After having worked with them and seen them perform live in front of an audience, I can't help but be a fan. I watched their concert at the Music Museum last Friday and had a blast.
More power to you, ladies! I do hope I get to work with you again in the future.
TO BE CONTINUED...
My friend and fellow finalist Mike Villegas hit the nail right on the head when he said "I didn't place but boy, did I win!" I feel exactly the same way about PhilPop. So many good things have come out of it despite not coming home with that beautiful Orlina trophy.
I've already named two of them the past couple of days: making new friends and the honor of having a song of mine become part of a great collection of new songs.
Reconnecting with some of my peers has also been one of my many PhilPop blessings. Lord knows there are many of these guys I hardly get to see (except on Facebook!) so it's always great spending time with them when I get the chance.
On the day of the Press Conference, I walked into that resto at Resorts World not knowing who else I would see there. I wondered who else made it to the Top 14. I was engaged in conversation with Karl (if I remember correctly) when I heard a loud voice behind me go "TRINA BELAMIDE!!!" I turned and saw it was my dear friend Mike Villegas. I jumped up from my seat and he and I screamed at each other and hugged and jumped for joy. Boy, this was bigger than our individual reactions finding out we had made it to the Top 14! Mike was with twin brother Angelo, also a great songwriter. So happy to see my favorite twins!
Mike and I first met when we both made it into the Top 12 of Metropop 1996. My song was "Shine" (it won 2nd Prize that year) and his was "Bagong Umaga," which coincidentally was the very first song performed and opened that whole Metropop season, just as his "Negastar" was also the very first song performed for PhilPop. We've been good friends since, and that's what we've been telling the newbies in this contest, that the friends you make at contests like these become not just your business contacts but sometimes, too, your friends for life. We were together again in Metropop 2003. This time Mike's song "Pretend That I Don't Love You" won 2nd Prize and his wife Bayang won the Grand Prize with "Malayo Man, Malapit Din" (what a night for that couple!).
Soc is one such friend, too. We were fellow finalists in Metropop 1997 where he won 3rd Prize with "Delicado, Delicadeza." He's become sort of a family friend because we ended up buying his Starex when he moved to Perth, Australia, which is now where my brother also lives and where I was able to spend a day with Soc and his wife Arleen the first time I went to visit my brother.
Gary Granada was my fellow finalist in Metropop 1998 (wait a minute... sunod-sunod ko palang naging kalaban at kaibigan ang mga ito! Realized it just now!) and he won the Grand Prize with "Mabuti Pa Sila" - a song that was technically overtime, so the organizers actually consulted with all of us finalists one meeting to ask if we would require Gary to shorten his song to fit the time limit, to be fair to everyone. All of us felt his song was too beautiful to touch so we opted for him to leave it the way it was. Ayun, nanalo tuloy. But that gives you an idea of how supportive songwriters can be towards competitors. We have so much respect and empathy for one another, so the friendships formed are at some other level that we don't necessarily have with other people.
People ask us what keeps us contest "veterans" coming back when we've already had our share of the limelight. Well, a P1M prize is certainly attractive, but it's also all the camaraderie and the opportunity for us to connect and reconnect with kindred spirits. PhilPop has given me the opportunity to make new friends and hang out with colleagues with whom I have a shared history.
More on my PhilPop blessings in blog entries to come.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Today I was at LaSalle Greenhills to sing with Mass Appeal for Bro. Rolly Dizon and at the simple reception outside the LSGH Chapel, I was delighted to see Randy Santiago again. I've only "worked" with him once - on a song I wrote for his brother Raymart who had then asked me to write a song for Claudine as a gift to his bride-to-be. And so I took a trip down memory lane today as a result running into Randy...
I spoke to Raymart before writing this song, interviewed him about his relationship, how they met and so on and what message he had for her. It was difficult to draw anything out of him. He was more of the silent type, but I could definitely feel the love he had for his fiancee. He spoke clearly about the day he first saw Claudine and the things he loved about her. But what message did he have for her? That part was left to me.
And so this is the song I came up with. I think it's a song that expresses how a lot of men feel, and I bet this is something they all wish their girlfriends and wives would understand. Well, if you're one of those silent guys challenged in the love expression department, go ahead and play this for your loved one.
Click here to listen to "No Words". Enjoy!
My name is Trina Belamide and I'm a songwriter and record producer.
GreatSongsToSing is my online store and I thank you for dropping by! Do comment on my blog posts. I'd love to hear from you!
Learn more about me on www.trinabelamide.com.