Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Ryle Jhon: Viva South’s singer-songwriter from Cebu

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Ryle Jhon Monacar was working as a housekeeper in a hospital in late 2019 when a nurse noticed his knack for playing the guitar. The nurse learned that Viva South was holding auditions for new local acts and encouraged him to join.

While Monacar has an extensive music background – having joined a choir group and an alternative rock band – he never thought of being with a major label early in his career.

“I doubted myself because Viva is a big record label and I might not get in, but I thought I should try,” he tells The FREEMAN, adding that he performed his original compositions during his Viva audition.

“Music is my passion, and it is my way of boosting my confidence. It would also help my family if I am successful in my music career.”

Going by Ryle Jhon as his stage moniker, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Minglanilla, Cebu has already released two singles since signing with Viva.

His 2021 debut single, “Ito Nga Ang Pag-Ibig,” is a five-minute guitar ballad about a high school crush, where he explains that he “put whatever feelings and inner thoughts I had [about her] into the song.”

In the second verse, he sings: “Kapag ikaw ay nandito na / Lumalakas ang tibok ng puso ko / Para bang nasa langit na ako…”

Two years later, he released his follow-up single titled “Pangalan.” Unlike his debut, this upbeat pop song is less autobiographical and based more on “true-to-life experiences” of courtship from other people.

In the song’s infectious chorus, he sings: “Kaya sabihin mo sa akin / akin / ang iyong pangalan / upang ika’y / kilalanin, kilalanin / at makakwentuhan / Dahil ikaw ang kailangan at lubos kong hinangaan / kaya sabihin mo sa akin / akin / ang iyong pangalan.”

He described his sound as acoustic pop, with alternative rock as his secondary genre, which has influences of ballads and R&B sprinkled in.

While many songwriters delve into how they feel at the moment, his approach is more introspective, taking time with his creations.

“Most songwriters would write immediately. I only write if there is an inspiration,” he said. “I would write the songs, but I wouldn’t finish them. There’s the first verse, then chorus, then verse two, the following chorus, and then stop.”

He added, “I have a lot of demos that I didn’t get to finish. It would be better if I could finish them so I have something to submit to Viva, but if not, I’ll just wait for the right time to finish it.”

Inspired by his favorite OPM bands like South Border, Rivermaya, and Eraserheads, Ryle Jhon “feels more comfortable writing in Tagalog so that the [wider] audience can relate.”

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