The Elements Music Camp

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star

One doesn’t always have to be a musician to be passionate about music.

Twinky Lagdameo has been in the music business for almost two decades, and if that’s not passion, it’s hard to say what it is. Currently, Twinky is connected with the Elements Music Camp — particularly with 7101 Music Nation, which organizes the annual camp for singers and songwriters, now on its sixth year.

In six years, Elements Music Camp has produced some of the best new (and some, not-so-new) musical talents in the country. Some of them — like Kai Honasan, Hans Dimayuga, Talia Reyes and Emmanuelle Camcam — have been finalists on The Voice of the Philippines. A few others, like the songwriting and performing duo of Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana and singer, songwriter and musician Davey Langit, have won major prizes in the Philpop songwriting competition. Zsaris Mendioro, grand champion of the 2015 Mossimo Music Summit, is also a former camper.

But the Elements Music Camp is so much more than just winning awards, selling albums or getting to the top of the charts. 

Part of what the Elements Music Camp’s job is to re-define standards of success in the local music scene — and this, Twinky believes, they have been able to achieve. “We work in different times and the musical landscape is so different from before,” explains Twinky. “Our camp alumni have moved on and flourished in so many ways, like as songwriters for TV and other artists, as individual composers and performers here and abroad, as music teachers, as builders of music studios and music schools.”

In fact, she thinks their greatest success story at the Elements Music Camp is not about any one camper in particular. “It’s that we have built a community,” she says. “We have built a family of very, very talented singer-songwriters who all lean on each other for support, who work together and cheer each other on, and who don’t compete.”

The members of their community, now numbering about 300, stay in touch via social media and the regular Campers’ Nights where they perform. Even the mentors, which include the likes of Raimund Marasigan, Jay Durias, Gabby Alipe and Trina Belamide, are also very connected to each other and this works to everyone’s benefit.

In short, they help each other, and by extension, help grow the music industry.

“They (the mentors) have also been championing the campers in their own ways by recording songs, producing their albums, or tapping them to perform,” says Twinky. Recently, rapper Gloc-9 had a Music Museum series and guested an Elements Music Camp camper, Reese Lansangan. When Gary Valenciano did a series at the Solaire’s The Theatre and among his guests were former campers Bullet Dumas and Lara Maigue. Ogie Alcasid and Trina Belamide manage the careers of certain campers. Jungee Marcelo, Jimmy Antiporda and Jonathan Manalo get campers to work with them on their songs. “We really are building a music nation,” shares Twinky.

Twinky also does her own part in tapping into this huge database of talents that they have created via the camp. “I may not be a songwriter, but I have been in the music business for almost two decades now,” discloses Twinky. “I have always worked for the discovery, development, promotion and protection of artists. I’ve been blessed to have been able to work in close quarters with a number of them, from the ones starting out to those who are very established.”

This was precisely one of the reasons why Twinky became involved with the Elements Music Camp. “My personal interest in helping set up the Elements Music Camp was to help find and grow the next generation of Filipino musical talents through the mentoring and support provided by the more established artists.

The camp is made up of plenary talks, breakout sessions, music and team building challenges, individual consultations, performances, case studies and critiquing. Campers and mentors hang out together, they have “jam nights” where they share their knowledge of OPM music history, basic music theory, how to create a song and lyrics, arranging, making a demo, recording, team work and collaboration, as well as musical talent. From out of all these have come a lot of good things. “There are some really special moments and collaborations that have happened only at camp,” says Twinky.

The most recent edition of the camp was held last November, but already, Twinky and her other creative collaborators and the people behind the Elements Music Camp are looking forward to repeating the experience again next year — and that way, keep the music scene alive.


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