Philippine Popular Music Festival (PhilPOP) Kicks Off

There are competitions for aspiring singers, dancers, actors, models, bands, chefs, even children wanting to be chefs but what about for songwriters?

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

With this in mind, prominent names from various industries have come together to spearhead the creation of the Philippine Popular Music Festival.

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 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.

So what can our well-known composers say about the upcoming Philippine Popular Music Festival?

“The Philippine Popular Music Festival should offer what we all have been missing – a worthy venue to showcase the best and the brightest in OPM,” – Ely Buendia, songwriter/ musician

“Sobrang nakaka-excite ‘tong Philippine Popular Music Festival! More than a performer, a musician or anything else, I consider myself as a songwriter, and this makes it exciting for me…an event which will showcase the talent of my fellow Filipino songwriters. I honestly believe that this is what the music industry needs now: more original material. We have a deep bench of talented singers and musicians and we have to have a bigger pool of fresh new original songs to give them something new to sing. Revivals are okay but we need to come up with new songs to add to our piggy bank of classic Pinoy pop songs…and this Philippine Popular Music Festival will surely help our local music scene. Mabuhay ang original Pinoy music!,” – Chito Miranda, songwriter/performing and recording artist, Parokya ni Edgar

“It’s more fun in the Philippines! The 1st Philippine Popular Music Festival is an awaited competition that will draw the creativity of Filipino composers, old and new. This competition is a welcome endeavor to propel original Pilipino music to be known and recognized globally,” – Noel Cabangon, songwriter

“I’m so happy that a prestigious songwriting competition such as the Philippine Popular Music Festival is being launched! We in the OPM are supporting this show 100%! Mabuhay ang musikang Pilipino!,” – Ogie Alcasid, songwriter/multi-media artist/president of OPM

“Finally a song writing festival where both young and old songwriters can share their creation. This will truly inspire everyone and give a new, fresh and dynamic meaning to OPM,” – Louie Ocampo, songwriter/producer/music director

“I’m glad we’re bringing back the SONG FESTIVAL. We need to encourage the young songwriters to write original music to express our own sentiments, tell our own story and re-awaken our natural gift for MELODY,” – Jose Mari Chan, songwriter/businessman

“A free people must sing and dance to its own songs. Let our soul be expressed through its original musical expressions. Mabuhay ang Philippine Popular Music Festival!,” – Jim Paredes, songwriter/artist/teacher

“Ang mga awit ay mahalaga dahil ito ang mga palatandaan ng ating buhay. (Songs are the markers of our lives),” – Raimund Marasigan, songwriter/producer/musician

“We talk about the Golden Age of Philippine popular music like it’s a thing of the past. With the Philippine Popular Music Festival, we can encourage, reward and sustain the creation of high-level Pinoy pop. Let us support thr true creative genius of the Filipino songwriter,” – Gerard Salonga, orchestra conductor/music director/arranger/composer

“Such is the power of songs. Hindi kailangang magtibag ng bundok o mag-ahit ng gubat para makagawa ng bagay na kapakipakinabang. A good song can very well enrich everyone without having to make anyone poorer. By all means let’s have more of them!” – Gary Granada, songwriter/teacher

“Everytime I listen to OPM, I marvel at how good Pinoy songwriters are. i’m glad there’s a competition like this that acknowledges that. At the end of the day, it’s really about heart and good songwriting. Mabuhay ang OPM,” – Ebe Dancel, songwriter/musician/recording artist

“It’s great to know that a truly prestigious competition will soon emerge. This will be a great venue to bring back the very best of OPM,” – Homer Flores, music director/musician/songwriter

“It’s been almost a decade since the last Metropop Song Festival. About time another prestigious songwriting contest was held. This will be very exciting,” – Trina Belamide, songwriter/past president of KATHA

“This year will be a great time for Filipino composers to showcase some of their best compositions inthe 1st Philippine Popular Music Festival…now I’m turning on my competition mode and pressuring myself to write my “career best” composition,” – Jonathan Manalo, songwriter/producer

“This is the one very important event that’s been missing in our local music industry for a long time now. You have my support! Mabuhay and God bless!,” – Mel Villena, music director/arranger/musician/composer

“This is exactly what the music community needs at this time – a grand festival that would put focus back on the Filipino songwriter,” – Debbie Gaite, General Manager, FILSCAP

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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