The Filipino music scene has grown into a vibrant kaleidoscope of sounds and diversity as years have gone by. The days when Filipinos only seemed to listen to foreign musicians for their contemporary ear candy fix have passed, and at the forefront of this growth of Filipino music are a good number of quality indie musicians. We rounded up the most promising women in the local music scene, as well as the reasons why you should follow their exploits (and their social media channels).
Hailing from Cebu, Cattski Espina is a one-person band herself, not just being able to sing, but also writing her own songs, and playing the guitar, some harmonica, piano, as well as mouth trumpet. Cattski has already seen a decade in the music biz, and has fronted a band. The singer has been known for making pop-rock tunes that allows for introspection, among other themes. Check her out at her official website, www.cattski.com, or follow her via Facebook and Twitter.
2. Jewel Villaflores
Another female singer from the Queen City of the South, Jewel Villaflores is a multi-awarded singer and songwriter. Aside from her original tracks, Villaflores also does covers of popular songs, such as those from Gotye and Sarah McLachlan. Her songs in Visayan, such as “Ayaw, g Buhi” and “Duyog,” may not be understood by all, but still captivate with the beautiful melody and her singing prowess. Learn more about this talented artist via her Facebook fan page, or follow her on Twitter @jvmusikero.
3. Lui Castillo
Lui Castillo began as a solo singer when she was 19, and she would perform in Manila’s main gimik places, such as Eastwood and the Fort. She then relocated to Cebu in 2005, where she became the frontwoman of a band. Castillo has reggae influences in her music, and their themes can also revolve around positivity and never losing hope.
4. Ella Melendez
Cebu is really famous for producing women in the local indie music industry, as Ella Melendez is another Cebuana rocking the stage. Melendez is known for having a modern, folksy quality to her songs. Her album has songs that are dark folk ballads, as well as the blues. Love and fear are some of the themes in her tracks, and you might be reminded of the Indigo Girls and Tracy Chapman when you listen to her, since they are her influences. Check out the catchy first song off her album, titled When We’re Not Looking and also featuring Cattski, and learn more about this artist via her Facebook fan page or blog.
5. Martina San Diego
This pretty crooner, who also writes her own songs, has her specialty in folk music. While her hometown is in Virginia, she also studies in New York City. When in the Philippines, San Diego is another Pinay singer who can also be seen and heard performing in Cebu. Her album titled Blank Walls, has mostly feel-good tunes. Learn more about Martina and her music via her Facebook fan page or her website, www.martinasandiego.com.
6. Cilee Kuizon of Undercover Grasshoppers
Seasoned performer Cilee Kuizon has performed with the likes of Cynthia Alexander and the other ladies on this list. Also based in Cebu, she is the frontwoman of indie band, the Undercover Grasshoppers. Her feisty vocals also match the band’s songs with strong messages. Like the Undercover Grasshoppers Facebook fan page to learn more about Cilee and her band.
7. Marri Grace Remo
Marri Grace also specializes in folk music, and has a subdued, more feminine sound to her. This young musician can also play the ukulele, E-flute, guitar, and keyboard. Some of her tracks are about love and the passion that lovers experience. “Sometimes musicians can be the best or worst lovers. In this song, I wanted and wished to experience a love that these people have,” said Marri in one of her song descriptions. Check out her Facebook fan page for updates.
8. Lourdes Maglinte
Another songstress who can be emo, since regret, fear, and sadness are some of her songs’ themes, Lourdes Maglinte is a talented musician who also plays the guitar well. Maglinte is quite passionate about her music and doesn’t just do it, just because. “I don’t write and make music to please others. I do it for myself. I do it for the love of music,” she said. Her life experiences can be heard in her songs, bringing the feels. Listen to Maglinte’s song, “Laylay,” which won second place in the Visayan Pop Music Festival last 2013:
9. Jessica McYorker
Don’t be fooled by the foreign-sounding name. Jessica McYorker is another talented female singer from Cebu, reminiscent of Tori Amos, with her mean rendition of “Sleeps with Butterflies.” McYorker has also performed with more veteran indie singers like Cattski herself. This multitalented gal can also write, take photographs, and even dreams of starring in a musical herself.
10. Cynthia Alexander
Undoubtedly the most famous lady on this list, Alexander has carved quite a niche for herself in the Pinoy indie music scene, and is probably the “mother” of it, so to speak. Sadly, the very talented singer-songwriter and guitarist is now based in the United States due to lack of support. Alexander is known for her songs that originally are poems, given pop melodies. The multi-instrumentalist is also an expert at arranging songs. Even if she is no longer around in the country to perform her gigs, you can still catch her online via her website, CynthiaAlexander.com.
Have more indie musikeras to recommend? Leave a comment to tell us all about them!
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Dark chocolate, dogs, and adventure are just some of Mel's passions. Aside from doing her best to live life to the full, she plans on writing her own fiction one day.