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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Dom Guyot returns as an independent artist

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

Cebuano singer-songwriter Dom Guyot, who has been based in Manila for two years now, has had a breakout 2023.

As of writing, his single “guho” has garnered 442,000 streams on Spotify, while his collaboration with fellow Cebuano singer Janine Berdin, titled “habangbuhay/habang buhay,” has had 800,000 streams.

He was signed to a major label when these singles were released. Now, Guyot is back to square one after deciding to become an independent artist. Explaining his departure, he said, “I left my label because I wanted to focus on myself and make the music I want to create, not what others want me to make.”

“There is no bad blood or hard feelings. I could have stayed because it was a big label, and I would have gotten bigger opportunities”, he added. “But I had to choose myself and my music because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be choosing my community. If I want to cater to my community, I need to make music for them, not for the company.”

Guyot released two new songs to kick off his independence: “free” and “body”. These tracks are emotional opposites of each other, representing his headspace over the past few months.

“‘free’ talks about being authentic no matter the circumstances, while ‘body’ portrays how one is held captive by external forces. These two singles reflect common experiences growing up as an LGBTQ+ individual. One minute you’re free, the next, you are just a body to someone else,” he elaborated.

These singles are part of an upcoming second studio album, with no major label backing him.

“This time, I am in control. No one is telling me what to do or how to do it,” he said. “My goal was not just to go global but to become a storyteller for queer people like us. Every time I release a new song, there is always a gay boy tagging me that they feel heard through my music, and that’s why I do this.”

This isn’t the first time he released a full body of work independently. In 2021, he released his debut record “Unbeloved” on streaming platforms and in limited physical CD copies, which included a photo card of himself – an ambitious packaging for an indie Cebuano artist at that time.

When we interviewed Guyot, he was a performer at TOPS in Barangay Busay, Cebu City, where he sang “Haven”, one of the tracks from the album. He dedicated it to an ex-boyfriend he dated five years ago, having sung it to him during a date at the same venue before its renovation.

Reflecting on their turbulent relationship after he performed the song, he said, “It’s not about replacing old memories but creating new ones. I have dated more guys after him, but he was special because he was the first guy who could keep up with my ambitions.”

Guyot is one of the headliners in the upcoming Love Cebu Music Festival this July 6 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, where he will share the stage with fellow Cebuano acts, including his close friend Berdin, Juan Karlos Labajo, MRLD, Shoti, Jacky Chang, and Wonggoys.

“I am really excited! It’s been a while since I felt this excited to do a show, and I am just grateful to do it with my peers,” he said. “Most of the people in this lineup are my good friends, so it’s nice that we get to do this all together.”

Anyone who sees him live can expect highly energetic performances given his background as a dancer. He cited Beyoncé as one of his inspirations.

“She’s the reason why I do so much in my performances. If she is still working hard at her best, why shouldn’t I? That is why I will never complain when I perform because Beyoncé never complains.”

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