More proof OPM isn’t dead: nearly 4,000 entries to Philpop songwriting contest

UPDATED May 4, 2013--The shortlist making up this year's Philippine Populat Music Festival or Philpop is a curious lot—a mixture of the famous and the obscure. 

Veteran tunesmiths Joey Ayala, Jungee Marcelo and rising star Johnoy Danao lead this year's motley cast after their submissions survived the four-stage screening process and bubbled up from a sea of nearly 4,000 song entries.

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"The fact 3,383 ang nahikayat sumali means effective ito. Kung pwede nga sana Top 25 ang kinuha kasi marami pang magandang kanta after ng Top 12," noted premier songwriter Ryan Cayabyab who is Philpop MusicFest Foundation's executive director.

Fair screening

While renowned composers were expected to dominate, it is telling that only Ayala, Marcelo and Danao made it. Cayabyab, better known as Mr. C, said this reflected on how fair the screening process was.

Ayala’s entry "Papel" has his signature all over it. The songwriter and ethnic multi-instrumentalist mused, “"Magmula pagsilang natin meron nang papel at pumapapel."

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Marcelo got in with a paradoxical piece called "Pansamantagal."

Danao, a YouTube sensation, submitted a ballad called "Kung 'Di Man." In the past, Danao’s version of “Pare Ko” was featured in an Eraserheads tribute album.

The theme for this year’s fest was wide open: "Your Theme, Your Genre, Your Song."

Window of opportunity

Myrus Apacible was another interesting finalist. A singer himself, Apacible has released his own albums and written a number of songs that became teleserye themes. All that under his belt even if he only started writing songs in 2011.

Apacible feels he got a big break after deciding to manage himself last February. "Totoo yung sinasabing pag may pintong nagsara, may bintanang magbubukas," he said.

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His entry, "Sana Pinatay Mo na Lang Ako," came to him when he saw his ex-girlfriend holding hands with her new guy in a mall.

Not saved by the bell

MR. C: 'Next time, submit early.'On the thousands of entries received, Mr. C said, "It was mind boggling at the start. Good thing Philpop has perfected the system."

However, with 1,300 submissions jamming the Philpop site at the last minute, there were complaints that some entries couldn’t get through. Caybayab advised future participants to submit their entries early.

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The rest of the finalists include band vocalist and third-time songwriting contest finalist Adrienne Sarmiento-Buenaventura. Her song, “Sometimes That Happens" , a is about a "tale on acceptance and moving on."

P1 million prize

Finalist Marion Aunor recently placed second in another songwriting contest. Her entry is simply called "Do, Do, Do."

Thyroid Alfaro is the only returning Philpop finalist from last year's competition. His new entry, "Dati," was co-penned with radio DJ Yumi Lacsamana.

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Completing the 2013 Philpop Finals cast are Lara Maigue ("Sayo Na Lang Ako"), Paul Armesin ("Segundo"), Marlon Barnuevo ("Araw, Ulap, Langit"), Raffy Calicdan )"Space") and Gani Brown ("Askal").

The Philipop Finals night, where P1 million awaits the grand prize winner, is set on July 6.

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