In honor of women’s month, we round up these fierce Filipinas who are making us question why the local music industry even allows men to take up too much space.
If your understanding of ~girl music~ only alludes to hugot, pabebe lyrics, and perfectly-curated, glossy music videos, then you’re completely missing the point. Did you honestly think girls only sing about being a damsel in distress? NOPE.
From a 14-year old rapper to a folk singer who reclaimed her power by standing up for sexual harassment victims, these Filipina musicians prove to us that they will never not deserve to be heard. Following the ranks of H.E.R, Saweetie, and June Marieezy to name a few—when they speak, you will listen.
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You know how some people discover their gift at an early age? That’s 14-year old rapper Alex Bruce’s life so far. She’s been rapping since age 4 and worked her way up, talking about using the mind as a weapon and female empowerment—topics most pre-teens her age are still unable to grasp. Did she stutter? Don’t worry, she also talks about being hopeful and daydreaming about the future in case you can’t keep up.
Favorite Line/s: I got my mind as my weapon, I got blades on my mind. I ain’t never warn to hit a shot, I pull the trigger on time
Ylo, Ylo, Ylo. Where do we even begin? She may have started as an actress in public consciousness, but her music? On a whole ‘nother level. If R&B meshed with a bit of funk is your jam, let Ylona Garcia’s sultry voice guide you through it. People are already drawing Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez parallels and we can’t blame them. (We see it!) TBH, 88 Rising should’ve signed her up earlier.
Favorite Line/s: What you do is unnecessary. Is it really you or hereditary? It ain’t my fault when you acting crazy
Feel like shit? Just put this Ruby Ibarra track on (that became viral in 2018) and trust us, the power is beyond words. Featuring other fierce Filipina musicians like Rocky Riviera, Klassy and Faith Santilla, these women are the true leaders of the pack. Ruby’s music not only talks about Filipino heritage, she also sheds light on important issues like the struggles of being an immigrant in a first world country. She’s already worked with notable names in the industry like SZA, The Balikbayans, and Nadine Lustre.
Favorite Line/s: I crave for that acceptance like it validates my sanity. I wrestle with affirmations, settle for masking faces. After all, the stolen lands are always greener places
Ouida is a Filipino-American-Irish singer who isn’t afraid to talk about vulnerability. In her music video for Coffee, the dreamy imagery features an all-Filipino cast and her wearing a terno. (Yes girl, work them butterfly sleeves!) Her soulful voice is hauntingly ethereal, making us want to lean in for more.
Favorite Line/s: Try to unlearn what’s hurtin’ me, Spoon+fed elixirs I believed. Now I know that something’s changed, my thoughts come rearranged
There’s no doubt that Filipina emcee Peaceful Gemini is beaming with divine female energy. Her music reflects mindfulness, being one with yourself and protecting your soul—but delivered in between low-synth beats. Her moniker itself best captures her sound: duality, finding solace in chaos. She’s unafraid to talk about real life-experiences, too. Take her latest track Warrior Princess as the perfect example.
Favorite Line/s: 100% she given respect and she reciprocate it with authentic intent. Her influence comes naturally like galaxies, only followin’ the laws of majesty
Who else is elated as we are? R&B Neo-soul singer August Wahh never misses. Hailing from General Santos City, the girl’s been going places. She’s already opened for Daniel Caesar two years ago during his Manila tour, performed at Wonderfruit Festival in Thailand, and dropped EPs that would often have us up in our feelings. All hail August Wahh, provider of serenity and peace in these maddening times, of contentment even in the most mundane of things.
Favorite Line/s: Honed it ’til I owned it. Shit’s fucked but I’m passed it.
Petty things that come around, don’t matter ’cause I’ve been sound.
On her latest EP, Conflicted, Claudia Barretto really said RANGE. Singing in both falsetto and contralto, she just keeps on hitting those notes—sending us on a fever dream of life’s ups and downs. She’s been dropping music since 2017, her self-titled album in 2018, and collaborating with artists like Jason Dhakal and with several Asian acts on a track for a Thai movie. If you’re into long drives at night, Claudia’s breathy vocals will make your heart race.
Favorite Line/s: These walls they can’t contain the years I’ve grown and changed. And all these barricades will melt away
A breath of fresh air, 20-year old Syd Hartha wears her heart on her sleeve, but that doesn’t mean she asked for your opinions. She knows full well all the struggles that women go through and never holds back with her unfiltered lyricism and pop-folk sound. Her song Ayaw may have been released 2 years ago, but its piercing lines are the perfect anthem for the #HijaAko movement. In Paru Paro, she talks about self-restraint and not burning one’s self in the flame. If anyone comes close to OPM legend Kitchie Nadal, it would undoubtedly be Syd Hartha.
Favorite Line/s: Dapat ba na itago, dapat bang bitawan. Bawat sambit maiging pag-isipan. Pagka’t sanayan ang lipad maaari pa rin ang sumayad