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Saturday, March 3, 2012

1st Philippine Popular Music Festival Opens Its Doors to All Filipino Songwriters


First there was Metropop.  Then Himig Handog followed.  And then there was silence (for original creations).  Covers or revivals somehow dominated the local music scene.  But don't get me wrong, the covers / revivals fill me up, stave off my hunger, but as an avid admirer of Original Pilipino Music (OPM), I crave for new compositions.

That's why I was happy to witness when Metropop was revived and Himig Handog was created several years ago.  But for reasons I am not aware of, they both went off the air.  And as they bid goodbye to their fans, reality competitions emerged.  There are competitions for aspiring singers, dancers, actors, models, bands, chefs, even children wanting to be chefs but what happened with the search for songwriters?

With a local music scene widely dominated by imported music, the Filipino songwriter has become a stranger in his own land.

But once again, am happy to hear that a new search has been launched!  Prominent names from various industries have come together to spearhead the creation of the Philippine Popular Music Festival or PhilPOP!
PhilPOP is a songwriting competition open to all amateur and professional Filipino composers. By March 1, 2012, interested composers can start submitting their entries online at PhilPOP.com.ph. The deadline of submission is on May 10, 2012. Song entries must be in MP3 format and can be in any popular music genre or a fusion of known genres, in any form or structure. Each entry must not exceed four minutes. Contestants can submit a maximum of two songs, either as a sole composer or as a collaborator. Song lyrics may be in Filipino, English, any Filipino dialect or a combination thereof.

There will be three levels of screenings and during the semi-finals, the judges will choose the top 14 finalists. The final performance and competition night will be held on July 14, 2012 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). The grand prize winner will receive P1 million in cash and a trophy. The second and third runners up will each receive a trophy and P500,000 and P250,000 in cash respectively. All non-winning finalists will receive P50,000. A People’s Choice award will also be given to the entry with the most number of online and text votes. The winner will receive P200,000 and a trophy.

The competition hopes to provide a channel through which Filipino songwriters can create new songs and discover new expressions or genres in popular music. The organizers of PhilPOP also hope to start spark renewed enthusiasm and pride in Filipino music by starting a brand new collection of freshly produced Original Pilipino Music (OPM).

“Filipinos, in general, are musically gifted,” music maestro and PhilPOP executive director Ryan Cayabyab said. “We are well-known the world over simply because of our immense talent. But we are not just a country of talented singers, dancers and actors. With PhilPOP, I also want to shine the spotlight on our world-class composers and songwriters,” he added. The renowned musician also noted that this songwriting event is not a “revival” of another popular songwriting competition in the past decade.

Maynilad president and chief executive Ricky Vargas, who is also the event’s organizing committee chairman, further noted the significance of PhilPOP. “It’s high time we celebrate the artistry of the Filipino songwriter. What better way to do that than by giving them an avenue to showcase home grown talent and shine on a stage of their own.”

Meanwhile, business icon and PhilPOP chairman, Manny Pangilinan, also shared his motivation for lending support to the competition. “There are two reasons why I'm back in the Philippines after living in Hong Kong for so many years. I miss our religion and our music. You hear God’s voice in music,” he said.

The Philippine Popular Music Festival is jointly presented by Maynilad, Meralco, PLDT, Smart Communications, Sun Cellular, PICC, TV5, DDB Philippines and official press launch food provider, Via Mare.

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