Will it be a band, a boyband, or a solo act? Getting a crack at becoming the next Original Pilipino Music (OPM) star are the top six finalists of “Dreams Get Real,” a music talent search organized by McJIM Classic Leather. The six acts will battling it out in the grand finals on June 30 are Archetype, CK Arca, Dream of Pearl, Fifth Dynamics, JBK and Neo Domingo.
On their way to the grand finals, the Top 6 have recorded and released their debut singles in radio stations nationwide. They will also be featured in MTV Pinoy for the month of June. A jury composed of music industry movers led by project head and public relations executive Chris Cahilig and multi-awarded arranger Jonathan Ong of Sonic State Studio will take into consideration radio airplay, radio chart success and Youtube views as well as overall potential in selecting the grand winner.
“McJim Classic Leather initiated the competition to give undiscovered Filipino talents a chance to be heard while expanding the library of OPM with fresh melodies and lyrics that resonate the national sentiment,” says Cahilig. “We applied McJim’s principle of quality and originality in choosing the six singles recorded by the finalists. We are optimistic and confident that these songs will help advance our agenda of enlivening the local music industry,” he adds.
The grand champion of the Dreams Get Real talent search will receive a cash prize worth P50,000 from McJim Classic Leather, a recording and management contract, and a grant to record a single and release a music video. The second placer will win P25,000 in cash and a trophy, while the third place winner will receive P15,000 in cash and a trophy.
“McJim Classic Leather is pulling all the stops in creating a memorable show during the Finals Night,” says Cahilig. “Having gone through an extensive, rigorous search, the Top 6 are poised to have the biggest performance in their budding musical careers. Only one will emerge as winner, but I’m confident that, with the right attitude and motivation, all of them will stake their claims in the music industry.”
Archetype is a band from Tondo, Manila is composed of Alvin Traqueña (rhythm guitar), Ar John Patalay (lead guitar), Nikko Martin Francisco (bass guitar), Tricia May Casauay (vocals) and Zejemiah Gonzaga (drums). The group recorded their own composition “Di Na Biro.” Their musical influences range from Hillsong to Paramore to Up Dharma Down and Kamikazee.
“At first I thought we [joined] this competition just for experience, because honestly, we lack outside exposure,” says bass guitarist Nikko Martin. “But as I think of it deeper, ‘Dreams Get Real’ is a venue for us to showcase our talent, to prove that we can do more.”
CK Arca, otherwise known as Calvin Khaye from Caloocan City, interpreted “Certified Good Vibes,” an inspirational song composed by Raffy Calicdan, a PhilPop finalist and a member of The X-Factor finalist Take Off. CK usually sings and plays pop, R&B, classic rock and standard music. His musical idols include Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Steve Perry and Aerosmith. He joined the competition to “gain more experience as a singer and to work with one of the best management companies here in this industry.”
Amateur band Dream of Pearl from Caloocan City recorded their debut single “Panalo,” a song composed by Oli Agustin of the band Letter Day Story. The band is composed of Alfonso Abrenzosa (vocals), Mark Jayson Dizon (guitar), Von Christian Vizmanos (bass) and Evan Briones (drums). Playing alternative, rock and acoustic music, the band considers Eraserheads, Bamboo, Parokya ni Edgar and Silent Sanctuary as their musical influences.
Making it to the Top 6 has been a big boost for the band’s confidence. They consider the competition as a door opening to a myriad of opportunities. “We believe that ‘Dreams Get Real’ is a big break for us,” says vocalist Alfonso. “This is a chance to show our talent and our own music.”
Another group taking a shot for the grand prize is Fifth Dynamics, from Antipolo City. Their single “Anyare” is their own composition written with the help of Chris Cahilig, the discoverer and manager of boyband 1:43. Composed of Mark Cordovales (vocals), John Peterson Leyva (rhythm guitar), Eljon Nono (lead guitar), Daryl Jay Santos (bass guitar) and Aldrin Condat (drums), the group plays mainly pop rock and alternative rock and lists Rivermaya, Bamboo, Kris Allen and Boyce Avenue as their influences.
Dreaming of one day representing the Philippines in an international competition, Fifth Dynamics hopes to kickstart that goal by becoming a recording artist. For them, the competition has proved to be an eye-opener in more ways than one as they say that their experience so far with “Dreams Get Real” has been beyond their expectations.
JBK, a trio from Mandaluyong City, released the love song “Anong Meron Ka,” composed by Urie Tesorio who is also behind the hits “Hayop sa Ganda” and “Ikaw at Ako” of 1:43. The group is composed of Joshua Bulot, Bryan del Rosario and Kim Ordonio. They have a variety of influences that include The Wanted, One Direction, All4one, Boys2Men, Bruno Mars, Jason Mraz and Emblem3, among others.
It was the competition that prompted the three friends to create a group and show off their musical skills. “The tagline itself, ‘Dreams Get Real,’ prompted us to join the competition,” says Joshua. “We want that dream to get real. And knowing McJIM is there to back us up, we are very lucky to be given an opportunity to represent an undeniably great brand.”
Neo, whose real name is Epifanio Domingo III, lent his vocals to give life to the song “Pagbigyan Mo Na,” also penned by Tesorio. The Quezon City vocalist plays acoustic pop rock and R&B music. He admires John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars and Gary Valenciano. The competition is a way for him to showcase his own composition and hopefully achieve success in the industry and “promote OPM” to a larger audience.