From moving melodies to fire bars, these Filipina songwriters are filling the world with music, one bop at a time.
Strip away the bells and whistles in music and all you have left is its basic components, melody and lyrics. The latter, in particular, is crucial for any song. While you may have a good melody, if the lyrics don’t hit, then it’s a waste. And when it comes to writing lyrics, these following Filipinas are at the top of the game. Women singer-songwriters are compelling storytellers whose narratives can get you crying, screaming, jumping, and everything in between.
They write lyrics that speak to generations, touch the listener on a deeper level, and leave that lasting impact that makes you want to scream your lungs out as you sing the song at any given moment. From pop to hip-hop, you can thank these Filipina songwriters for those OPM tunes that live rent-free in your mind.
MOIRA DELA TORRE
Iconic is an apt way to describe Moira dela Torre and her songwriting prowess. As the biggest Filipina singer-songwriter of her generation, Moira knows how to pen moving hits that speak to millions. Her brain operates on another plain of existence with the way her lyrics never fail to get us in our feels. From the warm smile of passionate love to the cold embrace of heartbreak, Moira dela Torre will always give what is needed.
NICA DEL ROSARIO
If an OPM artist needs a hit track written, Nica del Rosario is the woman to call. The singer-songwriter, and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, is behind some of OPM’s modern-day classics. In her storied career is writing credits for Tala by Sarah Geronimo, and we all know how that turned out. Nica was also responsible for writing BINI’s Na Na Na, arguably the group’s biggest hit to date. And let’s not forget her original work, like Rosas, which went beyond the confines of a campaign to speak to the sign of the times.
Even though Alex Bruce isn’t 18 yet, she’s already talking about topics in her music that some adults don’t even dare to discuss. That’s the power of this rising Filipina rapper who has been making waves since she was a kid. From melodic beats to fire bars, Alex is staking her place as one of Filipino raps most promising new artists who isn’t afraid to go there.
Many adolescent lives weren’t complete without the music of Yeng Constantino. Ever since her debut in the late 2000s, Yeng has penned tracks that have become the soundtrack to many. From Pag-Ibig, Chinito, Ikaw, and more, it’s hits on hits for Yeng Constantino. The pop-rock star is an icon for a reason. Even Stray Kids’ Bang Chan had to stan.
Trisha Denise learned how to play guitar at a young age. And it’s a talent that has suited her well to adulthood as a professional singer-songwriter. If she isn’t going viral for her Filipino cover of K-pop songs, she’s penning bops for the country’s top artists. Some songs she’s written include Teka Muna, Pag-ibig by Janella Salvador, Alam Na This by Kisses Delavin, and Sigurado by Belle Mariano. As for her solo work, Trisha has written about serious topics such as mental health and anti-bullying.
It’s no secret that Filipino hip-hop and rap is a male-dominated place with their fair share of bad actors. Zae is here to make sure that women have their place in Pinoy rap, too. Bursting onto the scene in the late 2010s, Zae has made a name for herself with self-written bars that celebrate women, proudly flex morena beauty, and clap back at misogyny. One of her earliest singles, Pantsu, serves as her direct rebuke to blatant misogyny in Pinoy hip-hop, while her hit single, Serve, is the definition of Pinay baddie.
As the daughter of showbiz royalty, it’s no surprise that Jayda has been proving herself as a talented rising star. Her status as a Gen Z favorite is aided by the fact that she’s an exceptional lyricist. If her discography is anything to go by, Jayda knows how to pen a tune. She’s even lent her talents to her fellow stars, writing Rise for Belle Mariano and being the brain behind MayMay Entrata’s Huling Hugot. Even her unreleased work, like this slow jam she wrote for Francine Diaz, has up snapping our fingers.
Did you know that, before she became a full-time rapper, Ruby Ibarra used to be a scientist? She made that 180, and for that, we are thankful. Ruby, who’s already had her fair share of international praise, wears her Pinoy roots proudly on her sleeves. If she isn’t repping Pinoy rap with her lyrics, she’s touching upon her Filipino heritage, as well as issues immigrants like her can relate to.
Veteran singer-songwriter Yumi Lacsamana has a discography that would make most artists jealous. Aside from writing her own bops, like Dyosa, Yumi has also worked with and written for superstars like Moira dela Torre, Sarah Geronimo, and Nadine Lustre. Her work on the Diary Ng Panget OST is enough to give her flowers.
First off, if you aren’t listening to SHNTI, then do yourself a favor and add her to your playlist. This female MC from QC may invite listeners with her groovy hip-hop beats and soft voice, but her words carry weight and power. Those bars and verses come from a special place that helped her be seen as one of Pinoy rap’s new stars to watch out for.
Even if she may be young, syd hartha knows exactly what to say in her music. Her pop-folk sound combined with unfiltered lyricism has made syd a favorite to many. She speaks her truth, with lyrics that cut right to it. It’s the kind of music that has helped people cope with whatever issue they’re dealing with.
Nicole Leonar, more commonly known by her stage name, Peaceful Gemini, will take you on a ride with her rap narratives. She focuses her music on divine female energy and mindfulness, topics rarely discussed in Pinoy rap. The MC pens lyrics that touch upon her story as a woman, often reflecting her realities that also speak to other women.
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