How Kaibigan OPM album came to be
Kaibigan producer Troy Laureta with featured artists (from left) Matt Boyd, Cheesa, Ailee, Regine Velasquez, Nicole Scherzinger, Shelea, Pia Toscano and Jake Zyrus.

How Kaibigan OPM album came to be

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2021 - 12:00am

If by any chance you haven’t, listen to Kaibigan: A Troy Laureta OPM Collective Vol. 1 which was released on Nov. 22 last year. It will make you fall in love with OPM (Original Pilipino Music) even more. Co-produced by the Fil-Am musical director with ABS-CBN Music International, the album features a merry mix of international artists who give the songs a refreshingly new touch, including South Korea’s Ailee, YouTube Star Matt Boyd, Cheesa (The Voice Season 2 quarterfinalist), Nicole Scherzinger (the half-Filipino member of Pussycat Dolls), Pia Toscano (American Idol Season 10 finalist), Regine Velasquez, Shelea and Jake Zyrus (who has known Laureta since 2011 when he served as his musical director).

Born and raised in the U.S.A, Laureta talks to Funfare about how Kaibigan came to be.

How much of you is Filipino?

“I am 100-percent Filipino. My mom is from Barili, Cebu and my dad is Ilocano raised in Manila.”

How were you nurtured on Filipino music?

“Filipino music was always played in my household. My dad used to join and win singing contests back in the Philippines, and he always played kundiman and songs of Freddie Aguilar and Sharon Cuneta. You name it, it was played at home. My mother and grandparents also always had TFC on television so I grew up listening and watching teleseryes, singing on the magic mic and singing together as a family every holiday.”

Troy: OPM is such a beautiful mix of so many styles, rich in history and story. Growing up Filipino, our beliefs and struggles are so embedded in our music.

Why did you decide to put out an OPM album?

“I wanted to put out an album that celebrated a culture that really influenced my musical upbringing. I owe much of my career to OPM. Growing up in the States, I also dreamed of merging the Western style with OPM. When things slowed down with COVID, it was the perfect time and place to make the dream a reality.”

What were your criteria in choosing the songs?

“The songs had to mean something for me. Every song I chose represents a moment or memory in my life. Childhood memories. Songs I sang with my dad. Every family gathering. It brings back pieces of home for me.”

And your criteria for choosing the singers and which songs they had to sing?

“All the artists were those that I’ve either toured or worked with in the studio and they are all friends of mine. I really wanted to make a point to choose artists that were personal to me whether in my business life or personal life. People that understood me not just as a musician but as a person. Every artist on the album has impacted my life in some way.”

How do you expect non-Tagalog to understand the songs so that foreigners could appreciate them?

“I think the beauty of OPM is that songs speak for themselves. I always believed that no matter what language, a great song will always be impactful to its listeners. That’s how I always felt about OPM. We have the songs, the singers and a culture that is filled with so much passion and depth. I use Kaibigan as a catalyst to let a broader audience hear what I already know is legendary, and that is Filipino music.”

And what is it about OPM that you love most?

“OPM music is such a beautiful mix of so many styles, rich in history and story. Growing up Filipino, our beliefs and struggles are so embedded in our music. And OPM really represents and shines that light. I hope that with Kaibigan, it gives Filipino pride and a reminder of how beautiful our OWN music is. Hopefully, it inspires another Filipino abroad or back home with big dreams.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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