Alessandra “Alex” de Rossi is not a musician, but she knows good music by Filipino artists when she hears one.
“I think Filipinos really stand a chance in changing how the world looks and sounds. All we need is to offer something pure, peculiar and distinct,” said the award-winning actor and film and music producer on why she formed AWOOO Records.
AWOOO — acronym for A World Of Our Own — is an independent record label De Rossi described on its website as “dedicated to women empowerment in music, determined to produce world-class Filipino releases.”
For starters, AWOOO has launched two artists — Filipino-German singer Hya, and Southern California (SoCal)-based singer-songwriter Alfa.
Hya, born Lee’Anna Weber Layumas, grew up in San Carlos, Negros Occidental, and joined reality singing competitions including Rising Stars Philippines and Just Duet.
Her stint in Bangon Talentadong Pinoy caught the attention of De Rossi who happened to be a judge in the show.
“She sounded like an angel, and my world just stopped. I knew in my heart that this girl, given a chance, could be someone new singers can look up to. Her voice is different. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone like her,” De Rossi said.
The AWOOO website described Alfa: “Born in Mindanao, raised in New York and New Jersey, now living in sunny SoCal, the singer-songwriter creates music inspired by her life’s constant shifts.
“With a light, signature rasp in her voice and a love for hooky melodies, Alfa has been called ‘an artist who has a spectrum of colors in her palette’ by Music Connection, and ‘everything you want in a singer-songwriter’ by Eric Gnezda of PBS’ nationally-aired TV show Songs at the Center, where Alfa was featured in 2020.
“The same year, her Bisaya-English song, “Alindahaw,” was a grand prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, World category, and was recently nominated as Best Global Recording in the 34th Awit Awards. The song is an ode to her grandparents’ farm in Northern Mindanao.”
Alfa studied piano with Dr. Raul Sunico and violin with the Children’s Orchestra Society in New York City.
She taught herself to play the guitar at age 13.
Alfa has previously released three albums, one EP, and several singles — some of which have been featured on film and TV.
She’s also a music teacher and elementary school educator.
“As long as you make me feel something, or if you make me feel like I’m not alone — when your music can be my best friend — it really becomes AWOOO,” said De Rossi.
AWOOO released Hya’s debut single, “Raindrops,” on 24 September.