As their first original track since losing a member, LOKA sees G22 battle the inner doubts and those voices that try to bring you down.
When G22 made their debut in February 2022, they did so with a bang, literally, with the release of their single BANG. Since then, the P-pop girl group has climbed the ranks as a force not to be slept on. Watch any of their stages, and these girls will give it to you every single time. But like with many artists, G22’s journey hasn’t been a smooth ride.
In 2023, the group faced a significant hurdle when one of their members left for personal reasons. The quartet became a trio. But even with a member down, AJ, Jaz, and Alfea regrouped to show that P-pop’s female alphas were not easily defeated. After dropping a cover of Dionela’s Musika following the split, G22 is back with their first original track as a trio, LOKA. And clearly, there’s still more in the tank for this P-pop powerhouse.
G22’s NEW ERA
It has been a wild ride for G22, to say the least. With their wins also came challenges that tested just how dedicated the trio were. “There were so many ups and downs,” says Alfea. “But with these girls, it’s still going to be a memorable moment kasi alam kong malalagpasan namin lahat yon and we’re gonna reach those dreams that we want.” Their P-pop journey was a rollercoaster, yet it was those experiences that made them stronger. As AJ shares, “During our debut, we were babies, literal kids. But as we go along the journey, we’ve come so far and we’ve matured along the way.”
The handful of singles (that each came with full promotions of course) that G22 released this 2023 is a testament to what kind of talent the girl group brings to the table. Since their debut, G22 has proudly taken on the mantle of being P-pop’s female alphas. Music has, is, and will always be a core component of the girls.
“Music is definitely a calling for us to do, and we love what we’re doing. And we have this strong message, which is the female alphas. And I know that we’re still discovering ourselves in terms of our music,” says AJ. No stumble is going to get them off the path they were meant to be on.
So, now that G22 has some experience behind them, what does it mean to be a female alpha in this day and age? For the group, it’s an all-encompassing vibe that shifts from a range of emotions. After all, a baddie doesn’t have to be a baddie 24/7. A female alpha is badass, kind, sensitive, emotional, and so much more. But more importantly, a female alpha can stand tall above adversity. “We’ve been through a lot and that made us even stronger alphas,” expresses Jaz. “We always continue to push the messaging of being alphas no matter what the gender is. We want to break that stereotype and boundaries all in general.”
The group’s cover of Musika proved that the group still had the, well, music inside of them. With LOKA, their first original release as a trio which also is a part of the OST for Shake Rattle & Roll Extreme, the girls give us a punchy and slightly atmospheric pop number and stand out thanks to its message of dealing with your inner demons.
“The track discusses certain topics most people are uncomfortable with and really are not talked about,” explains AJ, who co-wrote the track. The moody banger delves into how self-doubt can creep in and rot you from the inside out. “It talks about negative thoughts coming into reality, facing it, sometimes nilalamon ka nito, sometimes you’re able to defeat it.”
But while the song talks about difficult topics, the recording of the track was anything but. For AJ, it was an honor to see her co-members bring to life the lyrics. “It was actually really smooth sa recording studio and the girls just have their own unique voices. For me kasi, I really want to distribute the song in a way na mahihighlight yung vocal prowess nila.” From bringing out Alfea’s round voice to using Jaz’s high notes with her raspy tone, it’s safe to say they did that.
More so than coming back stronger than ever, LOKA also serves to highlight real issues that sadly are still seen as taboo by certain sectors of Philippine society. It brings to light experiences that need to be told. Those inner demons can be a powerful force to bring you down. But with the storm also comes the rainbow, and the girls have their ways of dealing with those inner doubts.
For AJ, she likes to translate what she’s feeling into music, which in this case became LOKA. It also helps that you have a support system. “Surround yourself with people who will never judge you for who you truly are.” Being open to your emotions is what Alfea sees as a healthy coping mechanism. “Yung pagtanggap mo sa feelings mo. Tinatanggap mo talaga siya para mas ma-feel mo and pakawalan sa future.” And when it comes to Jaz, she encourages asking for help when you can’t deal with it alone anymore. “You need to seek other ways to help yourself, maybe finding someone who can genuinely help.”
NEW YEAR, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
It’s been a wild year for G22. But as they head into the new year, the girls remain thankful for what they’ve been through. “I’m thankful that we’re able to conquer all the trials we faced this year,” shares AJ. Adds Jaz, “I’m grateful for all the opportunities we had despite only releasing three songs this year.” And with just those three songs, G22’s creative engine is still running at full. And as Alfea teases, what they have next on their pipeline will lean into their more experimental side. “You can expect na magiging mas experimental sa mga next songs kasi sinulat namin lahat isa’t-isa.”
With their tastes and songwriting styles, what’s next for G22, especially in 2024, is promising to be diverse. And speaking of 2024, the group hopes to manifest their long-anticipated debut album, as well as solo concerts and even international gigs. But no matter where their careers may take them in 2024 and beyond, you can bet they’re going to deliver a great performance. It’s one of the most defining traits of the group, how they manage to give a killer live performance every single time.
They really are female alphas owning the stage. And while the group admits that their initial training led to fainting spells and inhaler moments, the practice helps. “Practice makes you more confident on stage. And pag mas confident ka sa stage, mas matatranslate ito sa mga tao na mga gusto mong ipakita,” shares Alfea. And if ever, they have their backup dancers, Bullets (the name of their fandom), and each other to rely on, “What we do for energy is we look at each other sometimes,” reveals Jaz on their stage dynamic.
And as for their Bullets, their fans who have stuck with them through thick and thin, they have nothing but kind words. “Thank you guys so much for being there for us,” expresses AJ. “It’s not easy being a supporter, you know, they have their own world, they have their own lives, but to give love and show up for us means the world. Wherever we go, we’ll take you guys with us,” promises Jaz. Keeping it short and sweet, Alfea makes it known once again that, “WIthout Bullets, hindi gagana ang G22 so kayo pa rin ang aming energy.”
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