EAT Bulaga!‘s resident pop band Music Hero is set to conquer the local music scene with its debut single “Walang Papalit“.
Recently launched in the longest-running noontime variety program in the country, the song speaks about love, heartbreak and finding happiness again.
“This is a relatable song because, one way or another, we all experienced love and heartbreak. Through this song, we want them to feel that there’s always a second chance at love,” said vocalist Manly Ocampo.
Manly leads the nine-piece band that originated from the program’s music competition with the same title. He was hailed the ultimate vocal hero after participating in a rigorous nine-month vocal battle last year.
He said “Walang Papalit” is a full collaboration between him and band mates Radlee Laquian (acoustic guitar), Fender Dimalanta (electric guitar), Joaquin Rodrigo (drums), Jim Tan and RD Benavides (keyboards), JayR Corre (bass), Brian Feliciano (saxophone) and Dominique Casacop (violin), who all featured in the competition’s instrument edition which kicked-off in August 2016.
Speaking about their first single, Manly said it took them about a month to record the whole thing.
“Because we came from different places and we have different backgrounds, we had to go back and forth on what kind of music we want to produce and offer the audience,” he said.
Guitarist Fender Dimalanta added, “We had full control of the song, especially on its arrangement and style. We were initially given individual time to study it then we had to brainstorm as a group. We tried to give it a different flavor and take advantage of the full band. It’s a challenge but we like collaborating with each other.”
Dubbed by the program as an “elite revolutionary band” because of the variety of musical instruments each member plays, they want to follow the success of 90’s Filipino pop and R&B group South Border. In fact, during their recent live guest appearance in “The Roadshow” on Wish FM 107.5, the group performed “Ikaw Nga,” one of South Border’s popular songs.
Keyboardist RD Benavides said the veteran group has big influence on them as they grew up listening to the band. “They play timeless music that we want to produce also. We want to sound like them but at the same time, we also want to have our own flavor in every song we play. We also want to connect not just to the youth, the Generation Z, but across all ages because music knows no boundary.”
Aside from focusing on their music, the band is also keen to influence the younger generation to embrace music in the digital age.
“We encourage everyone, especially the youth, to try and play instruments or hone their vocal skills. We want them to find their own voices and have that confidence in owning their talents,” bassist JayR Corre said.
As for violinist Dominique Casacop, the only female member of the band, she’s just grateful to be in the company of talented individuals. “Among the hundreds who auditioned, it’s already a blessing that we are all chosen to be part of this group. I’m used to playing with an orchestra and it’s a big adjustment to be part of a pop band, but I like that we are all challenged to think outside the box and make full use of our own instruments.”
The band also sends its heartfelt gratitude to “Eat, Bulaga!” for creating a competition that highlighted the Filipino talents.
“It’s not every day that we are given this opportunity to create our own music, to form our own band and to perform on national television. We know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we take it as a big responsibility because we have a venue to influence others,” Fender said.
The group also revealed they are currently working on their second single and it’s going to be totally different from their debut song.
Manly said they are looking forward to exciting times ahead. “We will make the most of this experience. We know it’s not going to be an easy journey but we’re sure it’s going to be an unforgettable and fulfilling one.”
Asked for advice for aspiring young musicians, the group agreed that it takes hard work, dedication, long hours of practice, belief in oneself and love for craft to fulfill one’s dreams.
“Music is for everyone. It has no age limit and does not discriminate. You have to set a goal and never lose sight of that. It also pays to stay humble, to be grateful always and to remember where you came from and who helped you along the way,” Manly ended.
At press time, “Walang Papalit” tops Spotify Philippines’ Viral playlist and also earned spots on the music-streaming site’s local Top 200 Pop and All Genre tracts. The song also ranked second by the end of June in World Music Awards’ Top 10 Digital Tracks in the country.
Don’t forget to listen and download “Walang Papalit” on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and other digital platforms.