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...
I bought mine the day it came out, which was the day of our technical rehearsals at PICC, one day before Finals Night. I couldn't wait to hear what songs I was up against. I'll admit I felt my chances of winning slipping away. LOL! All the songs were well written and well produced. I was so impressed with my competition! 14 good songs and only 3 winners. Having had the experience of screening songs and judging in other contests, I can be really objective and not be influenced by knowing who wrote the songs. And there were at least 6 songs other than mine that I would pick out to fill those 3 winning slots. Not a good feeling to have the day before the competition! But boy did I feel proud to be part of such a collection of new songs.
Let me say a little something about each song in the album.
3am by Keiko Necesario. 1 of only 2 English songs in the album, written by the only other female composer in the competition. Fresh, radio-friendly, current, easy on the ears and very honest.
Bawa't Hakbang by Karl Villuga. Beautiful message coming from a sincere place, simple but effective arrangement by Arnold Buena, it soared at the right moment. Early on I told Karl "Afraid ako sa kanta mo." I thought it could win and I was right.
Bigtime by me! Mel Villena did a fabulous job arranging this for me and I had the best vocalists (Baihana) and cream of the crop jazz musicians from the AMP Big Band record for me. A dream come true to have this under my belt now.
Brown by James Leyte. Loved that it had a story/scenario that was painted clearly. Great vocals by the composer himself and wonderful reggae performance by Brownman Revival.
Dulo Ng Dila by Noah Zuñiga. Well-written song that I love singing along to, and vocalists Jay R and Deejay Poblete sang so well without oversinging, I loved the stylizing they did. Clear message, great lines, one of my faves in the album.
Himig Ng Panahon by Thyro Alfaro. Thyro's the youngest contestant at age 20. I thought the lyrics were very skillfully written, lots of internal rhyming, which is hard to do. Catchy melody too, great singing and harmonies. This was another song I thought could win.
Kesa by Edwin Marollano. Definitely a favorite of mine from the collection. Loved the feel and groove of the song, and this Daniel Gorospe guy can really sing and put in all sorts of emotions. I love the song's positive message (and I find myself singing it to myself when having a bad day), love the production, love it, love it! If I had been one of the judges, this would have been one of my winners.
Kontrabida by Soc Villanueva. Listening to the first couple of minutes of the song for the first time, I thought the song was nice at best. Well crafted, as Soc's songs always are, but so-so in appeal because I couldn't see yet where the song was going. And then I heard the bridge. "Ako ang dating bida sa puso mo/ Dahil sa pesteng bagong bida, ako ngayon ang kontrabida." Oh. My. God. "Walanghiya ka, Soc!" I told him shortly before the announcement of winners. Brilliant twist there. He deserved to win.
Minsa'y Isang Bansa by Gary Granada. Well, it's Gary Granada so how can you go wrong? The guy is a genius! I must say there are other Gary G works I like better ("Saranggola Sa Ulan" is my favorite), but I love the chord progression of this song and of course the words were well-written - another Gary G masterpiece.
Negastar by Mike Villegas. The first time I heard the song in full was at band rehearsals and I just had to applaud. Loved Cathy Go's raspy vocals and told Mike I loved the song's modulation. "Huwag kang Negastar" - definitely a line we'd all find ourselves telling certain people we know. Right?
Piso by Krist Melecio. One of the songs with the strongest hooks. I was already singing the chorus after our Press Conference in June! I love the heavy world music drums. Joey Ayala was perfect for the song - you would think he might have written it himself.
Slowdancing by Kennard Faraon. Perhaps rather simple sounding to a not-so-trained ear but I actually loved the chord progression used. It's not the usual 4 chords people pick out to loop for a song like this.
Takusa by Byron Ricamara. First time I heard just the chorus at the presscon it made me laugh. And then I listened to the song in full for the first time when I bought the CD and found myself laughing again.
Tayo-Tayo Lang by Toto Sorioso. I first met Toto about 12 years ago. He was a fellow finalist for Himig Handog Sa Bayaning Pilipino in 2000. Toto was a newbie then, but since that time he's won the Grand Prize in the FILSCAP songwriting contest and now 2nd Prize for PhilPop. Don't let his shy and can't-hurt-a-fly demeanor fool you. He's a force to reckon with! A great performer too! And what a song. Inspired by his experience of lonely gigs where practically everyone has already left. Beautiful song, heartfelt singing by Ebe Dancel, wonderful arrangement and production.
Listen to a sampler of the whole album here: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4044938434233
The album is available in Odyssey and Astro stores. You can also purchase online here: http://www.mymusicstore.com.ph/album/baihana/1019833/Philippine_Popular_Music_Festival_2012:_The_Fourteen_Finalists.html
Buy a copy now and please help support OPM. This album's worth your money, I promise.
Today, a month and one day after the Philippine Popular Music Festival Finals Night, my new friend Karl Villuga, who has so far won the biggest prize in Filipino songwriting contest history, flies to Singapore to start a new life there. This has long been his plan, even before joining Philpop, so not even this victory, which has given his group the Akafellas a welcome boost, can keep him from leaving.
I had met Karl before Philpop but never got to know him or spend time with him before. It was my friend Jhett Baroma, also a member of Akafellas, who told me Karl had also made it to the Finals. Jhett had pestered Karl to submit his song, which Karl reluctantly did on the deadline of submission. I guess Karl had suffered so many rejections before and didn't really believe his song had much of a chance.
So he was just beside himself at the Press Conference to present the Top 14 selected out of almost 3,000. Which is not to say he was the only one who was excited. All of us were and very much so. But a big part of my excitement was for Karl. I'd turn to him every so often with wide eyes and smile and go "Eeeeee!!!" and he would close his eyes and have this silently giddy oh-my-god look. He would shake his head often in disbelief. You could tell he meant it when he said this was it for him, being chosen for once as one of the country's best, and that anything else good that would happen would be a bonus. Sobra akong natuwa sa kanya.
Karl had performed a cover version of my song "You've Made Me Stronger" a couple of years ago and posted on YouTube. I was glad to see that in spite of this kind of admiration for my work, he was comfortable enough around me to not call me "Ma'am Trina" or say "po" - thank God!
His humility, humor and comfort around an "old-timer" like me (parang ang tanda!) made us instant besties. Backstage, I asked him to keep my cellphone and pressed powder in his pocket (ginawang alalay, LOL!) Minutes before the announcement of winners, we sat together. Aware that this could be the last time we were hanging out, he made the most of the moment by "interviewing" me and asking for songwriting tips, comparing notes when it came to working on songs. When we talked about the problem of writing songs on the piano and I saw that he could relate to the problem of having one's hands fall into the same chord progressions, I told him "Eh alam mo na 'to eh!" In other words, who was I to be giving him tips? This guy already knew how to write songs! He had the talent and just needed a break.
Minutes later, he got the biggest break any Filipino songwriter could ask for.
Driving to Cavite the next day and listening to the PhilPop album in my car, I found myself crying when "Bawa't Hakbang" came on - and I do mean crying to the point where I had to remove my shades, dab my eyes with tissue and blow my nose. Knowing about Karl's struggles to succeed in music, his frustrations in life that inspired him to write this wonderful song that now, by some twist of fate and by God's will, made him win the Grand Prize, all the happiness I felt for him and the sadness of knowing he would be leaving for Singapore for good...wow, I'm getting teary-eyed again just thinking of it all.
PhilPop could not have picked a more deserving winner. We'll miss you, Karl! Keep those good songs coming, okay?
Times like these bring out the best in the Red Cross and in anyone who's got the Red Cross spirit in them. I am blessed to be part of this organization's history by way of having written this song in 1999. They launched a songwriting contest whose theme was Red Cross: The Power of Humanity. I thought about what the phrase meant, came up with a song called "Life Power" and won the Grand Prize. The best part of it all is seeing various videos of the song on youtube highlighting photos and clips of volunteers in action. It's heartwarming to see how people have made the song their own and found ways to express how they feel about what they do through these videos. This one's my favorite so far. (You can play the video or click HERE to watch it on youtube.)
For those who'd like to donate to the red cross, you can click HERE to find out the different ways you can help. Donations go a long way, as we can see in this photo. I didn't realize we had these. Pretty awesome!
I've actually written 2 songs for the Red Cross. The second one was a collaboration with Chairman Dick Gordon himself. This one's more "traditional" sounding, which is what he wanted. If I had to describe this guy in one word, it would be PASSIONATE. You can hear it in the way he talks about the Red Cross. Click HERE to listen to "Always First, Always Ready, Always There."
I hope these songs continue to be a source of inspiration for Red Cross volunteers and to everyone else to give of themselves in times of need.
I don't know how long Jungee Marcelo has been my friend. Definitely more than a decade. We've competed against each other in songwriting contests and helped each other through them; we've played the role of judges in singing and songwriting contests, too; I sought his advice when it was my turn to represent the country in the Asia Song Festival a year after he did; I've seen him dance and he's seen me try (LOL!)...and I've told him - as I'm sure many others have - that someone like him who's made my belly ache from laughter countless times could be a great TV show host.
I'm so happy to see his dream has come true. This Is My Story, This Is My Song is a 30 minute show that airs on Light TV 33 every Wednesday evening at 8pm. It's a show about songwriters, hosted by a songwriter. What a wonderful concept! Needless to say, it's something all of us songwriters are excited about. When he told me about plans for the show and for me to appear, of course I said yes!
I hope a lot of people get to watch this show week after week. I think even for non-songwriters, it provides an interesting look into what goes into songwriting and stories behind songs we already know. Do watch whenever you can. (This Is My Story, This Is My Song has its own Facebook page, search for it and clilck on 'like'.)
Jungee, my friend, I wish you all the best for the show. Sana tumuloy-tuloy. Alam mong andito lang ako sa tabi-tabi (literally) for you. Congratulations!
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!
Since tomorrow is the first day of December, I'd like to share one of my Christmas songs with you. I originally wrote "This Little Child" for Joey Albert (and it got an Awit nomination for Best Christmas Song back then). This one is the Ateneo Chamber Singers' a capella version of it, recorded and released last year. My friends Jay and Aui Tamayo have told me that the song sends them into the "ugly cry" mode. Precious! =) I hope you guys enjoy it, too. You can listen to it and view the lyrics HERE. Season's Greetings to all!
"Ang Ating Pasko" is a short song I wrote last year. It's so short that it doesn't even reach the 1.5 minute mark. And so it's been a pleasant surprise to me that some choristers have been asking if they could get hold of its sheet music so they could sing it.
The song opens the album of the same title, a Chrismtas CD by the Ateneo Chamber Singers released last year. I remember how we were working on the album and realized we didn't have an album title yet. We tried choosing among the songs we had, but none of them really summed up what the album was about. "Ang Ating Pasko" seemed the most appropriate title because it was a collection of Filipino Christmas songs but more specifically, songs written and arranged by people in the Ateneo community. My friend Niner De Pano, the album's overall producer, told me to come up with a short song that would serve as the album's opening or prelude (much like the cuts in The Carpenters' Christmas Portrait album) and this is the song I came up with. Fellow-Atenean Marvin Querido did the instrumental arrangement and I did the vocal arrangement, and I must say I'm happy with how it came out.
Since I don't own the rights to the recording, I can't sell it nor its accompaniment track but if any of you would like to get hold of the sheet music, you can download it from here: http://www.greatsongstosing.com/ang-ating-pasko.html - and you can listen to the song as well by clicking on the video link or watching it here:
Enjoy and an early Christmas greeting to you all!
I use my iPad for mainly 2 things: as a sheet music browser (particularly for choral singing) using the ForScore app, and as a tablet to scribble on, a replacement for my various notebooks (my datebook, scratch paper for minutes, writing lyrics, even sketching) using such apps as Penultimate, Noteshelf and Adobe Ideas. For this latter function (which has been life changing and a source of joy to me), a stylus has been a necessity. I had purchased the Pogo Sketch Stylus in San Francisco (even before I bought my iPad!) upon recommendation by my good friend Denise who said it was the best stylus available and I could see why she thought it was: I've seen other styli and some or most of them (including one I regret purchasing for my dad because it was the cheapest I could find) have a tip that feels like a pencil eraser which doesn't glide on the iPad surface as smoothly as that of the Pogo, whose tip feels more like mesh or a piece of foam. It's also very slim and lightweight...
...and so, although I haven't really used any other brand, I do think this is the best stylus brand.
I had gone to the Apple store in Megamall a couple or so times and found other stylus brands for sale but none of them had this foam-like tip, and I was surprised at how expensive these styli were (they cost about PhP800 or more!) I told myself I'd better take extra care not to lose my stylus.
And so I semi-freaked out when I couldn't find my one and only stylus a few days ago. I've looked in the only 2 bags they could have possibly been in and couldn't find it. =( Must have dropped it somewhere after ACS rehearsals.
I rushed to Google and kept my fingers crossed as I typed in the words "pogo sketch stylus sale philippines"... these words did not yield results months ago when I wanted to buy for my dad but maybe, just maybe, this time I'd get lucky. And I did! Someone from Cebu sells them for just P400 a piece! I ordered 3 pieces (2 for me, one for my dad), paid through my Paypal account and they arrived today via Air21 just 2 days after I ordered them. I can now breathe a sigh of relief. My iPad life goes on. ;-P
So if any of you are iPad users and want a good stylus, I recommend the Pogo Sketch Stylus and if you'd like to purchase it for about half the price of styli sold in malls, click HERE.
I've always been resisting. When I was invited to Friendster many years ago, it took me a while to agree to open my own account. Then Multiply came along and I said no, I already have Friendster. But then all my friends started going on Multiply and putting their photos there so okay, I opened my own Multiply account. And then came Facebook and I was like no, no, no... we're all on Multiply already, why do we need a new social networking site? Well, I didn't want to get left out and again, plus I wanted to see these photos I had been tagged in so okay I opened Facebook. I said enough already, no need for Twitter. Because isn't it like Facebook anyway? But there's no denying Twitter's vast reach and with this online store and everybody taking to the net and a need to promote my products and services in every way possible, I guess I have to take advantage of all means available to promote so..... hello, Twitter!
It's kind of overwhelming to have Facebook, a blog, a couple of websites, YouTube, and now Twitter - all at the same time. So many things to keep track of! But hopefully I'll get that hang of this soon. All in the spirit of self-promotion. LOL! Wow, I used to think my works would speak for themselves but I guess they could always use a little push. Or a lot. ;-P
So here we go with self-promotion: dear friends, please follow me on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/trinabelamide. Thanks and I truly appreciate each one of you who follows me. Maraming salamat!
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.