Song Feature: Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan – Jessa Zaragoza

Composer Sarah Jane Gandia may have not written her Himig Handog P-Pop Love songs 2014 entry specifically for Jessa Zaragoza, but it is a Jessa Zaragoza song from the first line to the last. “Bumabalik ang Nagdaan” has absolutely connected with the artist on a spiritual level from the theme, the music and the lyrics. Saying that it is a perfect match would be an understatement.

The song starts, “Bakit kaya, bakit mahal pa rin kita, hanggang ngayo’y iniisip pa rin kita…”, and ends, “Bakit ako’y iniwan na.” A heartbreaking song that anyone who has ever been in love can embrace and make their own, “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” is an emotion-laden old-school OPM ballad worthy of winning the top spot.

Jessa Zaragoza shares her thoughts on Sarah Jane’s “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan”

GM: What was your initial reaction upon hearing the song that you’re interpreting for Himig Handog?

JZ: I got a surprise call from Jonathan Manalo of Star Records, and he told me that they have chosen me to interpret the song “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” for Himig Handog. I felt mixed emotions. First was happiness and the feeling of being honored, and second was anxiousness because this would be the first time that I will be interpreting a song for a very prestigious musical competition. Although Himig Handog is a songwriting contest, I know that much is expected of the interpreter because he/she will give life to the song and will communicate its meaning to the listeners. When I first listened to “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan,” this instantly came to my mind: “Hhmmnn…I can imagine myself singing this song!” After that, I immediately called Jonathan and said, “Yes! Let’s do it!”

GM: Can you tell us more about the Himig Handog selection process or the song-artist matching procedures?

JZ: To be honest with you, I’m not sure about the whole selection process, as I got the call from Star Records when I was already chosen. As far as I know, there’s a panel that nominates and selects the artists who will interpret the respective songs which made it to the finals.

GM: Is this the first time you’re working with Sarah Jane Gandia?  What was your impression of her?

JZ: Yes, this is my first time to sing SJ’s song. She’s also a first-time composer. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and we haven’t seen each other in person, but we communicate through phone and instant messaging. She’s a very nice person, and she seems happy with my interpretation of her song. It always feels great whenever my partner composers are happy with the work I do.

GM: How different or similar is “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” from the other songs you’ve interpreted in the past?

JZ: What I can say is that “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” can be considered as the Classic Jessa song of this generation.

GM: What one line, word or paragraph in the song strikes you as memorable, compelling or you can relate to and why?

JZ: The last chorus until the end is very emotional. Every time I sing this part, tears fall because I get so into the heartache. 🙂 The lyrics are so deep, wounded and heartfelt.

“Bakit ngayong wala ka na, bumabalik ang nagdaan, alaala ka pag nag-iisa, wala na ngang iba

Bakit ngayong wala ka na, ang puso ko’y nagtataka, bakit ako ngayon… bakit ako’y iniwan na”

Aside from taking part in Himig Handog this year, Jessa Zaragoza will also be touring the United States with OPM legends Rico J. Puno, Hajji Alejandro and Marco Sison this coming November. 


Song Feature: If You Don’t Want to Fall – Jed Madela

Composer Jude Gitamondoc delivers yet another powerful ballad that truly embodies a theme that many young Filipinos can relate to in his Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs 2014 entry “If You Don’t Want to Fall.”

Interpreted by one of the country’s greatest balladeers, Jed Madela, the song may be described as a post-courtship song or what we might locally labelled as “kanta ng mga na-basted.”

“If you don’t want to fall for me / You don’t want to feel the need to be with me at all / Then there’s nothing else I could ever do / No words I could say to you to get me through the wall.”

Simple and easy to comprehend, “If You Don’t Want to Fall” is a classic OPM love song that has a two-part stanza and a heart-breaking refrain escalating to an engaging bridge with a couple of lines pleading for reconsideration.

“Nothing’s ever worth in my life no more / No one’s gonna make me feel just like before / Nothing’s gonna work, no one’s ever ever gonna do / Because there’s no one else but you.”

 Jude Gitamondoc started his professional career in Cebu as a songwriter in 2001. He has written a number of songs for well-loved OPM artists like Gary V., Ariel Rivera, Toni Gonzaga, Erik Santos, Nina, Aljur Abrenica, KC Concepcion, Juris, Piolo Pascual, and even the band Tanya Markova.

With more than a decade of songwriting experience, Jude knows what the Filipino heart really wants in a love song. And that makes “If You Don’t Want To Fall’ one of the strongest entries in this year’s ‘Himig Handog songwriting competition.

Also, broken-hearted individuals should not suffer with high-pitched and through-the-roof ‘birit’ songs to sing or listen to during their hour of great need. That’s why balladeer Jed Madela made the song simple enough for all of us to sing-along to.

 Jed Madela shares his thoughts about Jude Gitamondoc’s “If You Don’t Want To Fall”

GM: What was your initial reaction upon hearing the song that you’re interpreting for Himig Handog?

JM: I was supposed to be a judge again this year, but I got special requests to interpret this song. I told them I’d decide after I’ve heard the song. When I heard the demo of “IF YOU DONT WANT TO FALL”, one word… “Tears”.  I felt a tight feeling in my chest and that gave me no second thoughts on saying yes.

GM: Is this the first time you’re interpreting a song by Jude Gitamondoc? What was your impression of him?

JM: Yes. It’s my first time to interpret a song by Jude but I’ve heard many of his works. He is one amazing “mind and heart reader”! He puts whatever everyone feels into the right exact words.


GM: How different or similar is “If You Don’t Want To Fall” from the other songs you’ve interpreted?

JM: I have been tagged by people as the “male biritero” and most of my songs soar up high. This time, we didn’t need high notes for this song. It was plain, simple and straight to the point. Not much vocal calisthenics. Just pure heart and emotion.


GM: What one line, word or paragraph in the song strikes you as memorable, compelling or you can relate to and why?

JM: “If you don’t want to fall for me, You don’t want to feel the need to be with me at all. Then there’s nothing else I could ever do. No words I could say to you to get me through the wall. If you don’t want to fall.” The entire chorus just says it all. The total surrender of giving up what could’ve been.

Jed Madela is currently recording a new album with Star Records. The album is slated for release by the end of the year or early next year. He is also touring and doing concerts all over the country and all over the world.


Song Review: Dito na Lang – Kyla

It was a breath of fresh air when critically-acclaimed Filipino R&B singer-songwriter Kyla released “Dito na Lang” on May 22, 2014. This is her second single from her EP Journey.

Kyla is truly in her element with this release as compared to other songs in the EP which sounded either too groovy (“Kunwa-Kunwari Lang”), too retro (“Atin ang Walang Hanggan”), or too Mariah Carey (“Journey”).

The music video was directed by Treb Monteras II and released July 31 showing Kyla wearing a purple dress in the middle of a barren desert. The treatment was classic, romantic and deeply symbolic of the mood presented by the lyrics of the song.

The lyrics and melody exude a sense of longing and, at the same time, acceptance and toleration — a dramatic and contrasting combination that only true love can bring to life. Composer Kiko Salazar may have been high with Cupid’s inspiration while writing “Dito na Lang.” It is a perfect song for the deeply emotional and love-filled Filipinos. Short, moving and direct to the point. The lyrics hits a soft spot like a sharp arrow and the listener takes it in, pain and all, because it is such a beautifully written song. This is OPM in all its splendour.

This track may be considered as the redeeming element of the whole album. The other pieces were all good, but “Dito Na Lang” highlighted Kyla’s singing voice and exceptional vocal range. She is definitely one of the best female vocalists that this country has ever produced comparable to the likes of Regine Velasquez, Kuh Ledesma and Lani Misalucha.

Song Review: Nasaan Ka – IntroVoys

The Voys are back. Well, technically they never left. The IntroVoys is an alternative band formed in the mid-80s whose biggest break came in 1992 when the band became known for songs like “Line To Heaven,” “Di Na Ako Aasa Pa,” and “Will I Survive.”

Like everything else, the IntroVoys’ fame started to decay over the years but the band members never really left the music scene. Now, original members Jonathan Buencamino, Paco Arespacochaga and 3rd-G Cristobal are joined by bassist JD Dela Paz and Art Pangilinan on keyboards.

Their new single “Nasaan Ka” was released as a digital track last May 12. The track is off their upcoming studio album “Where We Left Off.” The pop ballad was written by Jonathan Buencamino and Paco Arespacochaga. A love song through and through, the track would be a probable candidate for the next teleserye theme song.

The arrangement is very modern, a far cry from their 1992 releases and yet you can still distinguish the distinctive vocals from Jonathan Buencamino. In fact, one can say that this new single is a classic mainstream IntroVoys song. Ending with a beautifully executed guitar and piano solo, the song is simple, straightforward and mushy.

US Billboard Dance Chart Topper Erika Jayne Gearing Up For An Asian Launch

American pop-dance and club music artist Erika Jayne has conducted a series of segments filming in Asia starting May 28 and most recently here in the Philippines for the music video of her new singles “You Make Me Wanna Dance” and “Bringing You Back.” The two singles are scheduled for release later this year.

On both tracks, Erika Jayne collaborated with Ross Valory, bassist of the iconic band Journey, and internationally renowned pianist Eric Levy. These highly anticipated releases were written by the team of multi-award winning Andre Pessis and Eric Martin. Erika said that the songs sounded a bit too “rock” at first but later found its Erika Jayne signature style.

You Make Me Wanna Dance” awaits an Asian release. Fans of Erika are excited to see what her music would be like right now. However, Filipino club music and electronic dance music enthusiasts are even more excited since her music video will feature her dancing in Chinatown in Manila and at the Greenfield District in Pasig City.

Erika also collaborated with other pinoy artists like Manolet “DJ Papi” Santos, Marvin Querido (NeoColors) and the G-Force dancers.

Rene Walter, CEO of Sanre Entertainment, the management company that represents and is affiliated with artists like Arnel Pineda, Orianthi, Ritchie Sambora and many others, said that Erika Jayne will have a tremendous Asian launch and people will have a blast listening to her uniquely fresh and innovative musical style.

More About Erika Jayne

  • Erika was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia but later moved to New York where she began her career in music. She is now based in Los Angeles, California.
  • Erika attended North Atlanta High School for the Performing Arts and toured a lot. So technically, she has been performing already since high school.
  • Her musical influences include Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince.
  • Her first foray into the music industry was in 2007 when she released the electro-hued track “Rollercoaster” which went to number one on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart.
  • “Rollercoaster” was followed by five more consecutive number 1 dance singles namely “Stars” (2008), “Give You Everything” (2009), “Pretty Mess” (2009), “One Hot Pleasure” (2010), and “Party People – Ignite The World” (2011). Having landed six number one slots on the Billboard Dance Chart, Erika Jayne is in the same rank as the Pussycat Dolls and Rihanna for the most number ones from a debut release.
  • Erika’s debut album PRETTY MESS was released in August 2009 and produced by Peter Rafelson (Madonna) and Eric Kupper (Usher, Shakira).
  • Erika Jayne announced the creation of her very own production label Pretty Mess Records in November 2010.