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T.O.P.: A new boy band on the block

Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – There are boy bands and there are boy bands. And there’s T.O.P. (Top One Project) which is gaining a foothold in the recording scene. It is also trying to correct some misconceptions about — you guessed it right — boy bands.

“Boy band is not baduy,” said Miko Manguba of this type of vocal group, whose members are usually associated with pop tunes and well-choreographed routines. “Its music has quality. We want to promote OPM (Original Pilipino Music).”

The OPM sound T.O.P. is offering to listeners reflects the diverse musicality of Miko and fellow members Joshua Jacobe, Louie Pedroso, Mico Cruz and Adrian Pascual.

“Personally, the songs I’m listening to are soul and R&B. My influence is (the vocal group) Pentatonix. I grew up being part of a choir and an a cappella group,” shared Miko, the group’s Music Man. “Every time I sing a song, I want to put my own flavor. We are coming from different genres. The music of Joshua is rock, (you know) loud sounds. Louie is into rap and OPM. Mico is into jazz, while Adrian is into acoustics. When (our voices) are put together, we blend.”

This is a case of harmony in diversity, which is better appreciated in their self-titled debut album. By the way, it is available on digital stores like iTunes, Amazon and Deezer as well as in record bars nationwide.

According to Miko, the reluctant leader of T.O.P., the tracks in the album are all love songs, which the boys can relate to — and so do the romantic Filipino listeners. “(Tracks) No. 2 to No. 6 are (the songs we performed in) To The Top (the GMA multi-platform boy band competition, where we were all discovered). Track No. 1, San Na, is our own composition.” The other songs in the album are Pag-gising, the carrier single, Alaala, Bakit Ganon, Kaya Ko Kaya Mo and Somebody.

Asked what makes T.O.P. different from the other existing boy bands and those who have come before them, Miko replied, “I believe na magaganda ang boses namin. We also choreograph our music. I’m the one in charge of arranging our vocals. I’m choosy when it comes to listening to music. When I know that the vocals and the arrangements are of great quality, I get enticed to listen.” This is something Miko and the rest of T.O.P. learned from Maestro Ryan Cayabyab and The CompanY’s Moy Ortiz, who trained them inside the To The Top music camp. 

Aside from that, they are all committed to their music, come what may. 

“I think they have a different drive,” commented Miko on those boy bands that eventually disbanded and those members who took the solo path. “We had a sit-down (meeting). We talked and told each other that we shouldn’t be blinded by money or by fame. Our motivation should be music. Kaya di kami napapagod kapag may rehearsal. Kasi iniisip namin talaga (yung music).”

The T.O.P. boys are challenged to veer away from the baduy stigma by “as much as possible, we want to make our own (music),” Miko said, and contributing to the evolving Original Pilipino Music.

Since a career in entertainment is more often than not fleeting, the young singers find time to finish their education. Miko shared that he is taking up applied corporate management. Joshua is a college graduate. Louie and Mico are students of psychology and marketing, respectively. “We’re doing it for passion,” said Miko of their budding recording career. “The directors of To The Top also told us not to waste our time in showbiz, we should prioritize our schooling.” 

How do the T.O.P. boys keep the music playing, so to speak?

“Always be hungry,” answered Miko. “That’s what Sir Moy told us, that we should not be complacent like (feeling contented after) having released an album. Actually, we’re working on another single para continuous. Kasi yun yung interesting para maging hungry sa music, especially gusto namin ang ginagawa namin.”

If there’s one thing that listeners can look forward to in the T.O.P. album, it will be the fact that its music is “packed with harmonies and vocals, and features our individual sounds,” as Miko put it.

(The physical album is priced at P199 and can also be purchased at www.Lazada.com.ph.)

 

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