The new pop idols

The Philippine Star - - ENTERTAINMENT - BABY A. GIL

John Roa or JRoa or in real life John Neil Roa, 18 years old. The kid raised quite a ruckus when he upped and de­parted from the hip-hop col­lec­tive Ex Bat­tal­ion. Like why leave the hottest group in town where he is the res­i­dent vo­cal­ist and who had the chart­bust­ing song Hayaan

Mo Sila? The an­swer is sim­ple, John just wanted to go back to what he had al­ways been, a solo artist. And that was what he did.

John was a soloist when he joined the fourth sea­son of Pilip­inas Got Tal­ent (PGT). He was also a soloist when he joined Tawag Ng Tang­ha­lan (TNT) in It’s Show­time. For some strange rea­son and de­spite his very good show­ing, John never won in those con­tests. Maybe he did not need to in order to make it big. And this is what is hap­pen­ing right now.

John’s lat­est Oks Lang is fast be­com­ing the hugot song of the mo­ment. Ren­dered in his sweet ex­pres­sive bari­tone, the song, which he also com­posed, talks about the pain of heart­break. Trite sub­ject. Yes. But not the way John does it. I am sure that most of you are al­ready very fa­mil­iar with the way it goes:

“Yakapin mo ako/ kahit hindi na to­too/ mai­intindi­han na­man kita/ kung sawa ka na/ kung san ka sasaya/ ‘wag kang mag-alala/ Oks lang ako.”

With a song like that com­bines with his aw­shucks cute looks, it is no won­der that John has be­come a true pop heart­throb.

You want more young Pi­noy heart­throbs? There are four of them in IV of Spades. They are so cute, they re­mind me of a very young Jack­son Five given the way they look and their falsetto heavy singing. But mind you, these guys not only look bet­ter, they also def­i­nitely play bet­ter.

Check out their hits, the No. 1 vi­ral tune of the mo­ment, Mundo, their break­through song Ilaw Sa Daan and their ex­cit­ing de­but record­ing Hey Bar­bara. I will not say they sing bet­ter be­cause the Jack­sons had a soloist named Michael, but IV of Spades has this easy sort of in­no­cent sound that young girls like very much.

IV of Spades is made up of Zild Ben­itez, Bad­jao de Cas­tro, Blaster Si­longa and Unique Si­longa. Just in case you have for­got­ten, the broth­ers Blaster and Unique, plus bassist Zild were fi­nal­ists in Eat Bu­laga’s Mu­sic Heroes com­pe­ti­tion. In fact, it was Blaster who went home with the half-a-mil­lion peso prize money. So you can bet that these guys are re­ally good.

Ben & Ben. This is ac­tu­ally a folk/rock band, a big one, with the fol­low­ing as mem­bers: Poch Bar­retto on elec­tric gui­tar; Jam Villanueva on drums; Agnes Reoma on bass; Pa­tri­cia Lasaten on key­boards, Toni Muñoz and An­drew de Pano on per­cus­sion; Keifer Cabugao on vi­o­lin; and the twins Paolo and Miguel Guico on gui­tar and vo­cals. But I will zero in on the twins who have be­come heart­throbs of the in­die mu­sic cir­cuit.

I re­mem­ber them as fi­nal­ists from the Philpop song­writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion of two years ago. Back then they were known as The Ben­jamins, they both have Ben­jamin as their sec­ond name, and their song was the mov­ing folk bal­lad Ti­natangi that they in­ter­preted along with Cooky Chua and Bayang Barrios. The song came in as sec­ond run­ner-up, and also won for Best Video.

Not much was heard about the Ben­jamins af­ter Philpop but it turned out that the twins, the en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ates from La Salle, were con­tin­u­ally writ­ing songs, pro­duc­ing mu­sic and up­load­ing their record­ings on so­cial me­dia. Only two years later they have be­come a big draw in the live mu­sic scene with a horde of groupies mark­ing their ev­ery stop. Along with this, they also have sev­eral hits.

Sa Panaginip, Strange, Maybe The Night, Branches, Kathang Isip and Leaves. Ben & Ben songs are mostly laid-back but with emo­tional un­der­cur­rents. These are al­ways well-writ­ten re­spect­ful of ex­ist­ing rules but dar­ing enough to sound new.

And now here are the Top 20 ti­tles on Spo­tify’s lat­est Vi­ral 50 chart: Mundo by IV of Spades;

Want You Back by 5 Sec­onds Of Sum­mer; Psy­cho by Post Malone fea­tur­ing Ty Dolla $ign; So Far Away by Agust D. Su­ran; Mine by Bazzi; Give

It To Me also by Agust; Nadarang by Shanti Dope; Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae; Rewrite The Stars by Zac Efron and Zen­daya; Com­pletely In Love by Leila Al­casid.

The Last, again by the Korean artist Agust; The Morn­ing Af­ter from the mo­tion pic­ture sound­track by Jem Cu­bil and An­drea Ba­bierri; Moon River by Frank Ocean; FRIENDS by Marsh­mello, An­neMarie; Mau by Shanti Dope; Tony Mon­tana by Agust D. Yankie; Love Lies by Khalid & Nor­mani; Tuso by Hans Di­mayuga; Get­ting Over You by Lauv/; and Not Even Her by Yuk­i­hiro Ru­bio Shiloh.

Paolo and Miguel Guico of Ben & Ben

IV of Spades is made up of Zild Ben­itez, Bad­jao de Cas­tro, Blaster Si­longa and Unique Si­longa

John Roa

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