Things have come full circle for the boy that started his youtube account over two years ago. After releasing his debut pop/rock album, Red Roses this past June, AJ Rafael has recently been nominated for three Filipino-American Vocal Arts Society Awards. These nominations include Best R&B Solo Vocalist, Best Rock/Alternative Solo Vocalist and Best Overall Male Vocal Performance. Possessing a lyric baritone contemporary voice that cuts across genre lines, we feel that Rafael has a promising career ahead of him. Beginning his career by recording various covers, it is his original music that has showcased to the world who he truly is. A multi-talented musician with background in piano, guitar, ukelele and voice; he is a force to wrecking with. Like fellow multi-instrumentalist, Justin Bieber, AJ Rafael is sure to become a pop icon even if not as mainstream as Bieber. However, Rafael shows more uniqueness and a better voice than Bieber. With Rafael, there is no auto-tune or ClearPitch software that takes away from the authentic vocal performances that are missing in music today. This hereby confirming that AJ Rafael is a star in his own right and shall be in it for the long run.
Pinoy pop mezzo-soprano, Sophia Montecarlo has made a long trip from the days since was studying communications while at Trinity University of Asia. Recently, she was one of the representatives of the Philippines at the World Championship of Performing Arts in the Comtemporary, Rock, Latin and General categories. On top of that, Ms. Montecarlo took home a medal in each of the categories respectively (Contemporary: Silver, Rock: Bronze, Latin: Silver, General: Silver). After taking a listen to the wide array of videos of her on youtube, it is clear to see why she has come this far. She has been singing since childhood and her voice is clear, soulful and conveys true emotion with its pure and lovely tone. Montecarlo takes on the songs that suit her well and has such stage pressence that many has not seen in OPM since the likes of the legendary Regine Velasquez. The Fil-Am Vocal Arts Society feel proud to welcome Ms. Sophia Montecarlo as our diva in the waiting and nominate her for Best New Artist and Best Rock/Alternative Solo Vocalist and Best Overall Female Vocal Performance of the Year for our little Online Music Awards. Even though, we not live up to the status of the WCPA, we hope that she still feels honored if she wins.
Make sure that you keep an eye out for Sophia Montecarlo and check out her following links:
Since the 1980's, female singer-songwriters in the pop and rock worlds have been coming and going with only the strongest and most unique of the bunch being able to have staying power. This brings us to Alfa, a Philippine born and New Jersey raised pop singer-songwriter. She has been influenced by the likes of Jewel, Fiona Apple and Joni Mitchell and one listen to Alfa's music and you can hear the distant inspiration in her music. However, what sets Alfa apart is not just the fact that she is a Filipino-American, when watching her "Love as Tradegy," you can see the more sweet girl-next-door singer-songwriter in her. When the latter emerged in the 1990's, they came out with more moody songs whereas there is a much happier take from this artist. Her musical fusion is something that puts her on top of others because it is done in a way that the fusion unifies together.
Alfa is a multi-instrumentalist who trained in the violin as a child and was a member of the Children's Orchestra Society. It was as a teenager that the violin would get traded in for her trademark acoustic guitar. It was in 2003 that I heard about her song, "Unfilipino," but never knew anything other than that song from the artist and am glad that I had a chance to learn about the artist behind the music. Due to the title of the song, I asked Alfa about how she feels about the lack of Filipino and Asian-Americans in mainstream music. She answered by saying, "I think that the lack of Filipinos and Asian-Americans in mainstream music puts us in a very unique position ad gives us an interesting if not big, challenge. It is easy to be discouraged given the circumstances, but for me, it gives something to aim for, and it gives me an extra reason to continue doing what I love to do."
Please support Alfa by purchasing her album, "Second Skin" and visting her website: http://www.alfa-music.com/
In the late 1990's, when girl groups such as the Spice Girls and Destiny's Child were ruling mainstream pop charts, Fil-Am girl group One Vo1ce made a name for themselves in the indie music world. Like Destiny's Child, the vocalists of the group; Monica Castillo, sisters Anne Marie & Edna Mae Ceralvo, Melissa Ruiz and Aimee Castillo met while still in elementary school. The girls sung together in their church's choir and would eventually create the girl group that we know of today. During their teenage years, the girls would perform at local venues around their California home state which would lead to interests from many local record label executives. In 1999, One Vo1ce would sign with Kamikaze Records, a label which is targeted towards advancing Asian-Americans in music. Their debut album, Just the Beginning was recorded with producer James "Jae-E" Early and included their hit single, "when U Think About Me." The single would become a hit on the Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 charts making them one of the few Asian-American pop groups to do so. Their sophomore album, Sincerely Yours followed in 2001 and their critically-acclaimed "Luving You" followed in 2004. After being nominated for Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year at the California Music Awards, the girls went on hiatus for the next five years. They are now emerging back into the spotlight while still have their strong four part harmony and now mature women showcasing their Filipino-tinged R&B to audiences and listeners.
A young youtuber that recently became a member of the society sent us a copy of his demo cd, This Voice. The album begins and ends with Blakeney singing acapella something that he does well and is known for. So, what does one expect to come from this young singer-songwriter? This self-proclaimed "Prince of Rock and R&B" does just what his title says, putting out tracks of R&B and pop rock. His ballads are however what make him shine as on "Love is Gone," "The Weakness in Me," and "This Is." Although, he still wants to show his versatility. There are some eletropop dance numbers that seem to get kinda lost in this collection of tracks but are gems for those who are truly AJ Blakeney fans and know him as a musician. When we spoke through email, he spoke of how he was offered deals before but "Just could not sell his soul to the devil." Record label executives once wanted to put this young and handsome Afro-Filipino into the straight urban pop box a la Chris Brown. With a versatile taste in music ranging from the OPM and Manila sound of Lea Salonga and Ariel Rivera to American pop/R&B of Mariah, Whitney and Celine to the rock of Green Day, Rob Thomas and Pat Benatar; you cannot put someone with such elaborate musicality in a box.
A classically trained vocalist, AJ Blakeney has sung arias in languages such as French, Italian and Latin. Blakeney who is a lyric tenor with a four octave vocal range has a clear, raspy and mellow voice with meslimas and belts all in the right places. Recently on twitter, he was asked who would be his Linda Perry (speaking of her collaboration on P!nk's Misundaztood). He answered that he would love to work with his two favorite songwriters legendary Diane Warren and American Idol finalst Tamyra Gray, who penned the #1 hit, "I Believe" for Fantasia Barrino and has become a cover of Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez.
With a dark, mellow and soothing contralto, Charmaine Clamor has the vocal chops to convey a jazz tune with beauty and grace. The thing that sets Clamor apart from the pack is her island folk and world music influences on the type of vocal jazz that she does. She is an outstanding musician that has no problems being able to to portray the mood and emotion of a song. Whether happy or sad, there is no problem that you will understand what the song is about with Charmaine Clamor on board singing it. Although, she does not belt out a song as much as other female singers may do, her crooning and melodic style are what best fits this young lady who has an educational background in physical therapy. A field which is in deep contrast to the musical field. Her live performances are spectacular also, they are reminders of the late Lena Horne with her elegant stage presence and classy fashion sense. We hope that Clamor enters into our competition in one of the Jazz/Blues categories because she would a leading contender.
for more on Charmaine Clamor visit her official website: http://www.charmaineclamor.com/
Charice Pempengco became an instant sensation with the help of youtube and guest spots on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. During her guest spots on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Pempengco caught the eye of legendary producer David Foster. He would invite her to become a featured singer on his concert series, David Foster and Friends alongside Katharine McPhee and Michael Buble. After releasing two platinum albums in the Philippines, this young Pinay was ready to take the American market by storm. Having been signed to Foster's 143 Records imprint of Reprise Records, she went into the studio to record her self-titled U.S. debut album.
The album opens with the first singer, "Pyramid," a great midtempo pop cut that showcases that Charice is more than a ballad belter. "Reset" follows and features Tagalog lyrics written by the young singer herself. The album's best track would have to be "Nobody's Singing to Me," which is soulful pop bliss and gives listeners of what greatness is yet to come from this chauntese. The album's ballads "In This Song" and "Note to God" are vocal showcases to how lovely Pempengco's voice is truly is. Her dramatic mezzo-soprano voice type with its powerful head voice, warm and rich tone is the beginning of how the new breed of pop divas. In the 1990's and 2000's, it was the coloratura sopranos of Whitney, Mariah and Celine that got all the attention but now the alto voice parts will lead the pack in the 2010's.