The showbiz spotlight is bigger for Gigi de Lana

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PUTTING singer Gigi de Lana into one song category would be difficult. She first gained the showbiz spotlight when she joined Tawag ng Tanghalan singing torchlight songs, but unfortunately she didn’t win the big title. And then she started a YouTube channel where she and her band (Gigi Vibes consisting of Jon Cruz, Jake Manalo, LA Arquero and Romeo Marquez) would perform covers of pop songs. Back then, Gigi would be happy if there were around 30 viewers for her livestream.

Then the pandemic happened, and she and her band broadcast their performances live and little by little, their numbers grew. She went viral when she performed “Bakit Nga Ba Kita Mahal Kita? A sappy love song originally in the 1990s by Roselle Nava, where she used harmonic modulation to sing the chorus to the heys rising higher and higher. Because of this, his followers and views now total in the millions.

So when news broke that this groundbreaking singer was releasing an album, it was safe to say that her debut single would likely be a love song. After all, with its powerful pipes, a soul song à la Mariah or Whitney would have been appropriate.

But I was surprised when her first single, released by Star Music and titled “Sakalam” (it’s now on Spotify Philippines’ Fresh Finds playlist), was a pop rock ballad. According to the press release, the song addresses a person’s struggle to let go of a broken relationship despite their partner’s detachment. The term is the reverse of the Tagalog word malakas, with more emphasis on the emotional heartbreak caused by the separation, as shown in the song.

Habang kinakanta ko ‘yung ‘Sakalam’, nasasaktan ako. Nilalagay ko ‘yung sarili ko sa song kasi gusto kong kantahin na punong-puno ng soul. Sobrang nakaka-report kasi sa mga pinagdaanan ko rin sa buhay“Gigi shared.

Produced by creative ABS-CBN Music director Jonathan Manalo, “Sakalam” was written by Gigi Vibes members Romeo Marquez and Erwin Lacsa, and arranged by Jon Cruz.

It’s painful, as the song opens with heavy guitars like an Aerosmith song on the B side, her voice is soft and desperate describing how she is lost after a breakup.

The song is a successful blend of the angst of Alanis, the attitude of Courtney Love (post Live Through This) and the pinoy rock sensibility of Aegis. It’s a strange formula, but with the current musical landscape leaning towards hip-hop, R&B and electronic influences, this song is a welcome respite in the hope of filling the void with pop melodies and a punk attitude. . Gigi’s producers quickly land on this equation – clean, thorny but sparkling guitar riffs, punchy live drums – which may seem pretentious to others because it’s still chewing gum compared to genuine rock – but, hey, we should all welcome diversity, right?

Gigi will perform “Sakalam” and a number of his songs at upcoming concerts such as the Philippine Music Festival “1MX Dubai” and the staging of her own digital concert “YouTube Music Night”, both in December.

“Sakalam” is now available on various digital music platforms, and you can watch his music video on ABS-CBN Star Music’s YouTube channel.

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