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Ryan Cayabyab: Pinoy artists must compete head on with foreign music

Ryan Cayabyab talks to aspiring singer-songwriters during the 4th Elements music camp in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental.

DUMAGUETE CITY – Last year, netizens and music insiders alike were conversing about the supposed “death” of OPM, an argument many musicians refused to accept.

This year, renowned musician Ryan Cayabyab, artistic and camp content director of the ongoing 4th Elements Singing-Songwriting Camp, said he believes OPM is currently “reconsolidating.”

“We are pulling all the forces together and so we can move as one,” he told at the sidelines of the national music camp in Bahura Resort and Spa in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental.

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Cayabyab further explained: “Moving as one doesn’t mean that we will only espouse one type, one genre. No—move as one and express yourself in yourself in your own one.”

The Elements music camp, its website explains, aims to “bring together aspiring and professional singer-songwriters to bond and learn from one another” via lectures, group performances, and panel critiques and consultation.

Among the professional singer-songwriters who are on board in this year’s camp include Ebe Dancel, Ogie Alcasid, Jim Paredes, Joey Ayala, Jay Contreras of Kamikazee, Gloc-9, Jay Durias, and Armi Millare of Up Dharma Down, among others.

‘Labanan natin sila’

From a musician’s standpoint, Cayabyab said there’s nothing he could ask the audience to do for OPM since what the public listens to is their choice.

This is why, Cayabyab stressed, Filipino artists should face foreign artists head on.

“I think ang dapat gawin is to compete with the foreign artists. We have to find ways. We have to create events that will make the Filipinos go to you,” he said.

Cayabyab describes the mentality that Pinoys cannot compete with foreign acts as “defeatist.”

“It’s so defeatist na iniisip nyo na, ‘Filipino, talo tayo, Amerikano yun.’ I mean, hello?” he quipped. “I don’t agree with that kind of thinking.”

“The idea is, labanan natin sila; meaning, head on competition. Kahit na matalo, just keep on doing it.”

 He also encourages aspiring artists to start writing in the Filipino languages.

“We’re not trying to stop them from writing in English but to start really exploring the language because it really does give the inflection, e,” Cayabyab explained.

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“It’s not that because when you write in the Filipino language, it’s better. It’s the fact that in all the countries, they express themselves the way they are and they try not to be another entity or from another country,” he also said. “They are taken for what they are.”

He further shared, “It’s not the language—if what they feel is intrinsically a Filipino feeling, they must be able to express that in their own Filipino way.”

More stories from the 4th Elements Singing-Songwriting Camp:

OPM artists honor typhoon victims as nat’l music camp commences
Sitti: There’s more to me than doing cover songs

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