Right track

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GMA is on the right track reviving a musical show — and one that airs on a Sunday night!
Last Sunday, Studio 7 premiered right before consistent top-rater Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.

It was a week of nerves for the network which had just lost a stalwart from its stable. After decades of being with the GMA Network, singer-actress Regine Velasquez said her goodbyes.

Word has it that she is joining rival station ABS-CBN, especially after the announcement that she is joining the ASAP Sydney show later this month. There is yet no official announcement as of this writing, but we are expecting the news to break out today.

DJ Markus Schulz.

Almost all of the great singing talents of GMA have since jumped ship. People actually joke about reviving SOP or Party Pilipinas in ABS-CBN since they already have Ogie, Jaya, Jay-R, Kyla, Jona and now, most probably Regine.

Admit it or not, it must hurt a lot since the exodus of these talents might give an unfavorable impression relating to opportunities given and management style.

Studio 7 must have been a knee-jerk reaction, but fortunately for the station, it was welcomed like a breath of fresh air by viewers and netizens alike.

In fact, it trended on the night it premiered, topping Twitter’s top list and beating constant number one Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.

It literally is a breath of fresh air because the show is headlined by young artists Christian Bautista, Mark Bautista, Julie Anne San Jose and newly transferred talent Rayver Cruz, to name a few. The rest of the cast is made up of up-and-coming names in acting, singing and dancing.

The show is helmed by Paolo Valenciano as creative director, with Miggy Tanchanco as director.

These two are only in their early mid-30s. Valenciano has been doing concerts for the past few years while Tanchanco has been around as he is the son of choreographer Geleen Eugenio.

Netizens were quick to share their thoughts. Most were wishing for a longer air time. The premiere only ran for almost an hour. They liked it that the stars got to showcase their other talents besides acting. There were dance showdowns backed by the most popular pop songs rendered in remixes.

The common critiques though were the too-bright, inconsistent lighting, the hosting and humor of comedy duo Donita Nose and Tekla and the rap battle portion with audience participation. The latter was much panned because it made the show somewhat an extension of a game show littered with slapstick humor replete with cash prizes that is a staple in noontime variety shows.

What most netizens requested was a purely musical showcase where stars get to show their skills at dancing. They were happy to be treated with performances that did not shortchange viewers’ expectations. The singing was as real as it could get, with no love teams mouthing pre-recorded tracks. The dancing, too, was as kinetically pleasing though there were comments about the dated choreography.

Perhaps GMA should listen to these comments. Now, more than ever, the network needs to be in the good graces of netizens. It’s good that they started on a high note. Just heeding one or two comments and they have a good show ahead.

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Another initiative is definitely on the right track. Ryan Cayabyab, Noel Ferrer and Moy Ortiz have joined forces with the patronage of the BGC Arts Center to uplift Original Pilipino Music (OPM).

Last weekend saw the first three days of the six-day weekend fest Pinoy Playlist.

The trio curated the music festival that put a spotlight on the variety of Pinoy music.

Ortiz, who is a member of the respected vocal group The Company, shared that it was a dream to provide a music festival that does not discriminate against age and genre. It took four years since his conversation with Ferrer where they observed the lack of a festival for lovers of OPM. They noted how film has Cinemalaya and theater has Virgin Labfest. OPM has a smattering of festivals, but none had been as inclusive as they hope to create.

It was fortuitous for Moy to have caught up with his Ateneo friend and current head of content for the BGC Arts Center Maria Isabel Garcia who was asking him for advice on what content she could pitch to be held at the events hub in Taguig.

After some time, the first Pinoy Playlist was born.

This coming weekend, expect another musical extravaganza with artists such as the Ryan Cayabyab Singers, Jake Zyrus, Katrina Velarde, Bullet Dumas and Abra to grace the three venues inside the Arts Center.

As Moy put it, concertgoers will have bang for their buck at P375 for students and seniors for a day-pass.

“We wanted to come up with a music festival that is inclusive regardless of age, genre, A-lister or upstart. We just wanted it to be a showcase of different types of music,” Moy said.
“This is something you do for the soul,” Ferrer aptly described.

Come to think of it, it is certainly time to have that definitive music festival that unites music-loving Filipinos, more so a festival that highlights our own brand of music.

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Still on the same subject, electronic dance music (EDM) is this generation’s music — the de facto mainstream music as the boybands and rock bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Manila recently welcomed one of the purveyors of EDM in town.

Markus Schulz had partyphiles trooping to the gorgeous happening place, Cove Manila in Okada, in the early part of October.

He is known to produce trance tracks, a sub-genre of EDM.

Just what is trance? “I think it’s the closest thing in modern music to classical than any other style. We’re always looking for those chord changes that evoke emotion with the chord changes. There’s so much thought put into the melodies and I think that’s what the definition of trance is, and translated into modern times,” he tells me.

EDM is the type of music that generally has an upbeat, danceable melody, which is why it’s often performed in hip bars, but Schulz injects his own style. He prefers piano, which he taught himself to play. That’s why he believes his music can be listened to by older people, just like his father.

The EDM master is known as the unicorn slayer, a nickname tweeted by a fan because of his uncommon preference of melody. While other EDM artists use light, upbeat melodies or unicorn melodies, Schulz bends his pitch.

Rapper and songwriter Gloc 9 recently signed a contract with Synergy88 Digital, the creator and producer of the upcoming and first Pinoy TV anime series Barangay 143. Gloc-9 was tapped to do one of the theme songs of the said show because of his millennial reach, “pang-masa” way and appeal of composing shows. Shown in photo are Jackie Chua (managing director, Synergy88) and Gloc-9 himself.

“Follow your heart. There’s a lot of people who tried to follow a trend. If you follow a trend and you’re not happy, you’re going to burn out. But if you follow your heart and you become famous, then every day you wake up with a smile and you’re excited to do music,” was Schulz’s advice to aspiring EDM artists.

This is also the reason he isn’t burned out yet from touring around and getting his own brand of music on the right track.

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