AUDIO JUNKIE: Alamat, Katrina Velarde, Wilber Ross, Joshua Feliciano, Arabelle Dela Cruz out with new singles

Published February 20, 2021, 9:19 AM

by Punch Liwanag

OPM is alive and well in the time of Pandemic.

That’s how it looks like as local music label Viva Records released a total of 30 new singles in the space of just three weeks — 18 of them just last week!

This means that despite the pandemic that’s been bugging everybody for a year now, local music acts (with the help of labels like Viva) still find ways to make and new songs and keep OPM going. Won’t go through all 30 of them here but will pick a handful of them that we think are must-listens. Here goes.

There’s a new boyband in town in ALAMAT. While Kpop in appearance and style, ALAMAT is differentiating themselves from the rest of the BTS-inspired boybands out there by embracing their Pinoy roots. All nine-members come from different parts of the Archipelago and it shows on their debut single “K Bye.” This mid-tempo, R&B inflected track is both danceable and ear-tweaking. And while you have your usual Tagalog lyrics, members Jao, Gami, Alas, Valper, Kin, R-Ji, Tomas, Mo and Taneo inject several regional languages into the mix, making Alamat the first boyband to do so. Alamat also saw fit to use indigenous instruments like the kulintang and bandurias into their music. While this isn’t the first time such a thing was done, the effect is nonetheless refreshing in the context of what Alamat is trying to achieve. And that is to bring the cultural elements and the roots of Pinoy and mix it with the prevailing sounds of today’s pop.   Leah Salonga approves!

Joshua Feliciano might not ring any bells yet, but this soulful singer-songwriter might make you do a double-take when you hear his new single “Panaginip.” Chock full of soul that you can hear on the sticky electric rhythm guitars that drive the tune and even more gusto on the singing as Joshua switches from plain to his wicked falsetto singing. The trumpet solo is a nice touch too. Think “Buwan” by JK Labajo but with a bit more soul.

Hashtags member Wilbert Ross makes a surprising break from dancing and actually makes a solid case as a singer on his Viva debut single entitled “‘Di Ko Alam.” This pop and neo-R&B tinged is a surprisingly good track and has that cool and relaxed Arthur Nery vibe. Quite a soulful turn for Wilbert.

Katrina Velarde tackles a modern hit via a cover of The Juans’ “Hindi Tayo Pwede.” It’s as if Katrina took all the good elements from said song and dialled it to 11. The string section is a masterful touch, as do Velarde’s singing on this one as it knocks this song out of the park.  

When it comes to musical journeys Arabelle Dela Cruz has quite the story. She’s gone from being a member of After 5 (before quitting to go solo) to her winning stint at “Tawag Ng Tanghalan.” In between those performance extremes, Arabelle got to solidify a singing style that she can now call her own. A guttural quality to her tone only highlights the power behind it. This serves her well on her debut single entitled “Huwag Ka Nang Umalis.” This emotional ballad is the type that builds to a climax. And Arabelle, with the flair or a soulful singing champ, delivers it with aplomb.