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Ben&Ben talks about writing songs while on lockdown; set to drop new single, Lifetime on June 4

Recently, Ben&Ben has been busy working on their songs while we're under community lockdown. In the private online listening party last Monday, they shared on how they dealt with creating music while at home.


The award-winning nine-piece collected wrote the song as a response to a fan's YouTube comment on their hit song, Pagtingin. 

Netizen "Anne Jou" shared her story of regretting not being able to express her feelings to her best friend. Afraid of her friendship, “…instead of telling him what I actually felt, I hid and buried my feelings. And you know what happens to feelings that are buried? They grow. The like I felt for him became love. I wrote poems, songs. After 8 years, I attended his wedding [last] January. And guess what? The world is really overly-cruel. Before his wedding, he thanked me for being his best friend and told me that before he met the girl he got married to, he loved me first. For 5 years. But he was also scared of losing me so he just decided to keep it. I was shocked and I slightly had anger towards the world. We didn't know that if only one of us dared to make a move, a lifetime was waiting for us. So people, while you can, please express how you really feel so that in the end you won't regret anything.”

This is the proof of how powerful and moving words can be when shared from a place of earnestness and raw honesty.

“Lifetime” was mixed by veteran sound engineer JP Verona, and mastered by Grammy Award-winning Leon Zervos (Pink, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Beastie Boys, and Willie Nelson). It was written by Miguel Benjamin and Paolo Benjamin, and recorded and produced by Ben&Ben.

What's up with the band while we're in the state of quarantine? Miguel said, "Madami. One of which narelease namin at kinanta namin ni Paolo.  Ang title nya is "Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin". Aside from the said song, there are also some other songs na we're working on. Madaming na nakapila. It's a good problem to ask. Kumbaga whatever we feel like na gusto namin to work on at least madami kaming pagpipilian na unfinishing songs." Watch out for this, BBs!

Ben&Ben’s “Lifetime” will be released on all digital platforms worldwide on June 4, (12 midnight, Thursday).

 

Singer-songwriter Kurei Drops new single, Sunset



After the release of her rendition of FrancisM's Cold Summer Nights (with Elmo Magalona), singer-songwriter Kurei returns with a relaxing original track suited for the hot summer days spent at home. 

 
In 'Sunset,' the young musician lends her soothing vocals in a track about young love that seeks no bounds. Written by Darwin Hernandez, the tracks exudes a vibe that is "longing, fearful yet hopeful," that which is reminiscent of a roadtrip during a long summer's day. The alt-pop track gives a relaxing and melancholic feel, bouncing off of the easy-listening songs that Kurei has been putting out. The track is released ahead of her debut EP later this year.
 


Sunset is now available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, Amazon Music, and all streaming platforms. 

An In-Depth Connection with Alexander 23

In case the pandemic has made you bored at home and out of ideas on what to do to make your time more useful, the music of Alexander 23 might just save your time. Raised in Chicago, Alexander Glantz, the man behind Alexander 23, is just getting started on becoming the next thing you immediately save on your Spotify playlists once a new release is posted. With his debut song “Dirty AF1s” receiving a daily Spotify stream average of 380k, we’re sure we are not the only ones digging the music.
In a recent online roundtable session with the singer-producer, he revealed that music for him is a way of connecting with people. He finds that his “goals” are always achieved when he realizes or notices the international success of his music.

Alexander 23’s debut EP “I’m Sorry I Love You” already achieved more than 40M streams worldwide, across different streaming platforms. He took these songs on tour with Alec Benjamin, Omar Apollo, to name a few. Slowly but surely, this singer is making sure he gets heard with the music he produces on his own.
According to We Are: The Guard, he has all the ingredients necessary for success. And we agree. This singer is not only mainly writing his songs alone, but he also does production for them. He is also hands-on with creating visuals for the music he puts out to the world…which not a lot of artists, even in the mainstream scene is capable of.

Supposedly, the rising singer is supposed to tour with Lauv, the hitmaker behind “I Like Me Better” and “I’m So Tired”. He still hopes to be able to continue the tour when the pandemic has hopefully subsided. And we know for sure he will be able to go on his headlining tour soon with his consistent effort on his craft.
In the music industry today, music usually is done through collaborations. Through co-writer and co-producers, we get to enjoy quality music. Impact is something we can expect from the rising singer Alexander 23. With capabilities similar to Taylor Swift, Ryan Tedder, or Charli XCX, this self-producing performer will make your time worth it listening to his music, mostly created 100% by him. And that makes our connection to him more in-depth.

The Itchyworms released two new singles, Armageddon Blues and The Silence under Sony Music

While live shows on a temporary standstill amidst of the Coronavirus outbreak, the global music landscape currently at odds with challenges that come with the complete shift to a digital realm, a lot of artists are making records that represent the specificity of the times. 

Never mind the logistical restrictions on the music-making process: What’s important is that they’re channeling their personal experiences during forced and self-imposed quarantine through songs that function like the pep talk the world needs right now—most of the time, comforting and hopeful, but sometimes a complete validation of our collective rage, loneliness, and frustration inside.  

Now returning with two new singles that capture the universal sentiments of grappling with an invisible peril, The Itchyworms drops back to back releases under Sony Music Philippines—their first under a major label since 2008’s Self-Titled.



Two new singles
“Armageddon Blues” and “The Silence” are two new songs inspired by the band’s response to the ongoing social, mental, and emotional crisis that people from around the globe are facing in the midst of a pandemic.

“Armageddon Blues,” in particular, is an update of an old demo recorded by Jazz Nicolas (lead vocals, drums, piano, keyboards, keytar) and Chino Singson (lead guitarist and backing vocals). With crunching guitar riffs, Beatlesque pop melodies, and raw but in-your-face production, the latest track from the band exhibits both ends of the emotional spectrum, as filtered through the lens of happy-sappy music geeks. As Chino recalls. “I remember it being a fun song to record. If you listen to the lyrics, you'll see it's very tongue-in-cheek, but very heartfelt.”

Written in 2005, the song was supposed to be included on the quartet’s critically acclaimed album, Noontime Show and the follow-up record, Self-Titled, but The Itchyworms felt that it was thematically different and completely ahead of its time. “Time jump to more than 15 years later, I was the only one who had a copy of the demo,” Jugs Jugueta (co-lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, keyboards) narrates. “Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) happened, and I sent them the demo of ‘Armageddon Blues,’ telling The Itchyworms to release the song, because it captures the somewhat end-of-the-world vibe of our present situation. A couple of weeks into the ECQ, we realized that we’re in this for the long haul, and that we had to do something creative. We decided to write and record a few songs inspired by our experiences during COVID-19.”

The songwriting sessions birthed another single, which already made its rounds on Facebook a week earlier. Following the official release of “Armageddon Blues” on all streaming and digital platforms worldwide a day late, “The Silence” was written by Jugs Jugueta and Jazz Nicolas, and recorded and produced by The Itchyworms entirely during the Enhanced Community Quarantine imposed over Metro Manila due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s what we think everyone is going through right now. Nobody could’ve foreseen 2020 to be like this,” Jugs shares the underlying theme behind the song. Musically, it’s a mish-mash of influences that put Depeche Mode, Radiohead, The Beatles, and The Walking Dead in a blender: The production seethes with soaring builds and nuanced sonic details, but ends abruptly in faded noise—as if the transmission is suddenly lost in the background, its silence “killing us” infinitely and metaphorically.

A “Quarantine” Album

Both songs are part of their upcoming album, Waiting For The End To Start, which was conceptualized and recorded while the members of The Itchyworms were confined in their homes, connected digitally by their resounding “shared” experiences. “Expect it to be unpolished and imperfect,” Jazz describes the new album. “Maybe a little lo-fi. It’s not necessarily all about COVID-19, but this is the result of what we feel during this time. So there’s restlessness, loneliness, boredom, delirium, fear, uncertainty, and all that jazz.”


Chino puts into perspective the concept behind the 8-track release, which will most likely drop sometime in July 2020. “Like any collection of music, it is a record of its time: A snapshot of the artist's reaction to his or her circumstances. But it's a concept album in that our aim was to create art in the midst of a pandemic, to capture our emotions in the music we record, even with the limited recording gear we have at home. So you'll hear amp buzz and imperfect vocals, but for me that's part of the spirit of true rock.”

Reunion with Sony Music PH

Waiting For The End To Start is their second album to be released under Sony Music Philippines. After their groundbreaking major label opus, Self-Titled, which made an impact in the local music scene at the tail end of 2008, the band was forced to go indie after the label’s short-lived hiatus handling domestic releases.

Speaking of their reignited ties with the international record label, Jugs tells in a statement: “Aside from the fact that we felt a sense of familiarity with Roslyn Pineda of Sony Music PH, as we’ve known her since our college days, we believed that Sony, being an International record company, could help us reach a wider audience. We want to reach new and foreign audiences, because our music is universal and capable of touching several hearts here and abroad.”

Chino adds, “I feel that Sony is a good place to be for an artist. Their team is small but they work hard and have their artists' interests at heart.”

Armageddon Blues” is now out on various digital and streaming platforms worldwide. Watch out for the official release of “The Silence” tomorrow midnight, May 22, 2020.

WebTVAsia, YouTube announced One Love Asia, a live concert in support of UNICEF on May 27

WebTVAsia and YouTube announced “ONE LOVE ASIA”, a star-studded concert in support of UNICEF, featuring a stellar lineup of celebrities, artists, public figures and YouTube creators across Asia, to be live streamed exclusively on One Love Asia's official YouTube channel on May 27, 2020.




Starting at 8:00pm HKT, this four-hour live stream feature biggest stars from Asia including UNICEF Regional Ambassador for East Asia and Pacific, Choi Siwon, Exile Akira, Karen Mok, Apink Jung Eun-Ji, Namewee, G.E.M., Chi Pu, Sam Tsui, Ranz & Niana, Davika Hoorne, Jack Neo, Morissette, Boy William, Ice Paris, Pearwah, Christian Bautista, Baim Wong, Raditya Dika, Ismail Izzani, Quang Dang, DatG & DuUyen, Erik, Inul Daratista, Celine Tam, Priscilla Abby and HaoRen along with over 50 leading artists, public figures, celebrities and YouTube creators. All donations from the live stream on One Love Asia will go to UNICEF Asia in an effort to prevent the pandemic from becoming a lasting crisis for vulnerable children.




CEO of WebTVAsia Fred Chong said this is one of the biggest initiatives from the Asian entertainment community to show our support for UNICEF through a one cohesive message of Love and Unity.  We cannot thank all the participants enough for contributing to this special concert.


Gautam Anand, Managing Director, YouTube APAC said: “We’re excited to be supporting WebTVAsia and UNICEF to bring this very special concert to YouTube audiences across APAC and globally. ONE LOVE ASIA encapsulates our commitment to championing talent and giving them a platform to share their creativity and make a positive impact in the world.”


UNICEF’s Regional Director for East Asia and Pacific, Karin Hulshof said, “UNICEF is thrilled to be part of the “ONE LOVE ASIA” concert! Together we will create greater awareness of UNICEF’s work for children and families so they will be able to recover, rebound and reimagine a stronger future.” 


With many countries slowly opening up, “ONE LOVE ASIA” hopes to spread positivity in countries on the path to recovery, while igniting a sense of unity and love across Asia. 


WebTVAsia CEO Fred Chong said Asian countries and its people have been severely impacted by the pandemic, so the overwhelming response from the artistes and YouTube to support this UNICEF Asia donation drive makes this project truly special.


The “ONE LOVE ASIA” concert is part of UNICEF’s #Reimagine global campaign to task the global community to #Reimagine a better world for children post COVID-19.


The live stream will be available through www.youtube.com/c/oneloveasia, where the donation can be made through YouTube ‘Donate Now’ button that directly pays to UNICEF’s account during the live stream and will continue to be available for 30 days after the concert.*

For more information, please visit www.onelove.asia




*YouTube Giving is available to users in over 40 countries. Check your country’s availability here.


A1's Mark Read released new song, Where Were You (When the World Stopped) featuring some Filipino fans on its music video


Your next Quarantune is here! 


Mark Read of A1 has released a new single called Where Were You (When the World Stopped)last May 15, Friday and its exactly what we need to hear right now.


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A lot of artists have found inspiration during this isolation, creating new songs about love, hope, and timely messages. Mark Reads newest coronavirus-inspired song spreads the message on how to stay safe in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. He also highlighted special events gone through from nationwide applaud for frontliners to 100-year old Captain Tom who raised fund in UK. The human spirit and will are incredible, stronger now than ever before,he said.

In his power-ballad, Mark has shared how everyones grappling with isolation. Theres no denying with Marks concern for his fans, from his initiative of auctioning his pre-loved items for the victims of Taal last February, and now, included some of his Filipino fans for his project of sharing short clips of togetherness at home or holding a sign of Where Were You.



As for the creation of music, Mark shares that the story behind "Where Were You (When the World Stopped)" was really quite organic and spontaneous, and that he wasn't planning on releasing a new song.

Like most people I was in lockdown, working from home, connecting with friends and family, when one day a lifelong school friend of mine, Jonathan Rusca, who I haven't seen for years got in touch with me to share some lyrics that he'd written, which is great, but he's a graphic designer, never written a lyric or song in his life and was inspired by the coronavirus pandemic to put pen to paper for the first time. He asked me if I would like to put a melody to them, well, I put an hour aside one day to take a look and I was so inspired by the simplicity and honesty of his lyrics, that within 5-10 minutes the whole melody came to me and I couldn't wait to play him what I'd come up with,he shared.

When asked how he was doing during this quarantine period, he said that took this time as an opportunity to work on a lot of new projects and collaborations. Hes been working non-stop from writing and producing songs, collaborating with other artists at home, including lots of A1 live at home videos, working on a new YouTube show, but most importantly, looking after his parents.

In just over 24 hours since it was uploaded, Where Were You (When the World Stopped) has already entered the iTunes Top 20 in Norway, and received tons of adoration from fans around the world. The song, without a doubt has resonated with lots of people during these uncertain times.

Mark also added that A1 are working on a new album, so thats something to look forward to.

 

 

Marks message to his fans:

I've been so touched and inspired by our amazing fans during this time, thank you to everyone who's been reaching out and supporting the band over the years.

For the music video of Where Were You, I invited fans to send in videos of them and their families during the lockdown and I was amazed by the response, I can't wait for everyone to see the video, they're part of the inspiration behind this song, so it was only fitting that they should be a part of the music video too.

Stay safe and hope to see you again soon.  

 

The coronavirus pandemic has made an unprecedented impact not only in the economy but in our lives as well. Millions of our front liners are battling to save lives out there, while some are asked to stay at home to contain and limit the spread of the virus. However, we cant lose hope, especially now. There might be uncertainties ahead of us, but one of the great things that have happened so far was it fueled creative juices from our artists and songwriters to either create songs about hope, love, and inspirations during this isolation.

Thank you for sharing your music, Mark Read!