Keeping up with the Yuzons
Gian Carlo Vizcarra (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - When one talks about Ruffa Gutierrez, can brothers Richard and Raymond be far behind? This is the same case for showbiz siblings like the Eigenmanns, Quizons, among others.

The siblings may be different individually, but there are apparent ties that remind the public of their undeniable link to each other — good looks, acting talent, comic timing, or gift of gab.

For the Yuzon siblings Yael, Yan and Ysab, it is their common love for music and the arts, plus their Ateneo de Manila University diplomas.

Sponge Cola’s Yael may well be the most recognizable among the Yuzon siblings having been the band’s frontman since their days in Ateneo, where Yael graduated with an English Literature degree and graduated with the Dean’s Award for Music.

Having started writing during his early days as a student in Ateneo Grade School, Yael penned the Diamond hit single Tambay, as well as other Sponge Cola hits like KLSP, Bitiw, Puso, Makapiling ka, Movie, Gemini, Stargazer, among others. With hit song after hit song, Sponge Cola, one of the many gems of Universal Records, represented the country at the Dubai Music Festival last year, and at the recently-concluded Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Tennessee. Gaining new ground overseas with their music, Yael and the rest of Sponge Cola are scheduled to release a regional album soon.

With a road paved in gold, platinum and diamond, Sponge Cola has received several awards from award-giving bodies. It has the most nominations for any band at this year’s Awit Awards, including Favorite Performance by a Group and Song of the Year for Tambay, Album of The Year for Araw Oras Tagpuan, and Best Rock/Alternative recording for Kay Tagal Kitang Hinintay. In addition to this, Yael is also nominated as co-producer (along with Alvin Cornista) of Karylle’s highly-infectious dance track OMG.

“Music stands in my very core, I dabble in other things as well but not like my kuya who ‘immerses’ himself in other fields,” recounts Yael. He’s more of the Renaissance man, maybe I’m just Renaissance boy.”

Yan established himself as one of the best theater actors in the university at an early age. In high school, he wrote the daring one-act play Linya, for which he was given a Gawad Sibol. A few years later, schools started including the award-winning play in their curricula.

Yan went on to star in productions for both Tanghalang Ateneo and Dulaang UP. He also landed the role of Romeo opposite TV, movie and theater actress Ina Feleo in production of the story of the star-crossed lovers for which younger brother Yael wrote theme song Gemini.

While being fully immersed in theater, Yan was also a major player in the music industry. Aside from co-producing Sponge Cola’s platinum album Transit and Gold self-titled album, he was also playing bass for the Ely Buendia fronted band The Mongols.He then became the lead guitarist of Ely’s current band Pupil.

Now, Yan has his own band Archipelago, slated to release a new single before the end of the year.

In between gigs, Yan finds time to revisit his “non-music” side by directing music videos, including Archipelago’s music video Gaan and Sponge Cola’s controversial music video Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay.

Yael adds, “Working with Yan on the music video was a memorable experience. We really enjoyed shooting for it and we are extremely glad that people enjoyed it enough to vote for it and make it win the 2012 MYX Music Awards for Best Mellow Video.”

Speaking of MYX, another Yuzon has publicly joined the music industry via the 2012 MYX VJ Search, Ysab, a finalist at the contest.

Also an Atenenean with an AB Humanities degree, Ysab’s involvement in the music scene is more behind the scenes. Though she has been working in the industry for years being part of a team behind The Elements National Singing & Songwriting Camp, it is only now that she has chosen to take on the spotlight as a video jock.

Ysab was exposed earlier to music through appearing as the little girl in the classic Eraserheads music video With A Smile. More recently, she has done a number of cameos in different music videos.

She has her own management and production company called Mary Moon, which creates events for independent acts and handles the band Tonight We Sleep.

“The MYX VJ Search Finals culminates this July 14,” says Yael. “If Ysab makes it, then TV gets a fair dose of the complete Yuzon franchise. If she doesn’t, she’s bound to revolutionize the music industry in some other way.”

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