SunKissed Lola scored the biggest song of 2023 in the Philippines with Pasilyo, and rightfully so. Find out how an actual dream inspired the chart-topping hit.
Romance has always been a popular genre in OPM. Every year, most of the top-performing local tracks in the country have something to do with love. 2023 was no exception, with Raining In Manila, ERE, and Uhaw (Tayong Lahat) making waves on the charts and millions of Pinoys’ playlists. But there was one track that stood out on top, and that came from the band SunKissed Lola. Composed of members Dan Ombao (who you may remember as the third runner-up on Idol Philippines), Alvin Serito, Laura Lacbain, Danj Quimson, Genson Viloria, and Rodnie Resos, Sunkissed Lola has quickly climbed the ranks of OPM aficionados as one of the most exciting bands to watch out for.
The six-member band traces their origins to Olongapo City, Zambales. And if you’ve been there, you’d know the city is teeming with musicality. “Olongapo has always been a musical city. In Magsaysay, the melting pot of different musical acts, the music scene there has a lot to offer — from a variety of show bands, and acoustic groups, to underground scenes.” Their crown jewel track Pasilyo is evidence of that.
With over 166 million streams and counting on Spotify alone, the song was such a hit this year that you probably didn’t realize that it was released in 2022. But a smash is a smash, and Pasilyo spoke to the zeitgeist as an endearing romantic anthem.
FROM DREAM TO REALITY
Like with many great ideas, Pasilyo began as a dream, literally. The song was made in 2020 and bore from Alvin Serito dreaming for three consecutive nights of getting married. “Malabo yung face niya, even her figure is blurry,” says Serito about the girl in his dreams. “It’s a super weird dream na naging dahilan para tanungin ko yung sarili ko. I’ve been writing songs since I was 9 pero bakit ni minsan wala pa akong naisulat na wedding song?” Thus, Pasilyo was born, which is told through his POV in his dream.
When SunKissed Lola dropped Pasilyo in late 2022, the band was just a year from their official debut, and the track was the third single of their career. Yet, the song made a splash, quickly climbing the charts as 2022 came to a close. As 2023 rolled around, nothing was stopping Pasilyo from dominating the charts, spending weeks atop the Spotify Philippines Top 50 chart. As early as listening to it in the studio, SunKissed Lola knew it was something special.
“The first time we heard the mixed and mastered track, at the last chorus, it felt sublime, and almost angelic, that we had a feeling it would be one of our songs that would impact our audience profoundly.” And that it did. Looking back, the band didn’t expect the track would become the cultural force that it became, so its success was both unexpected and welcome. “We didn’t think it was possible at first, so we were really surprised and exhilarated when it topped Spotify charts. We were amazed, it felt surreal.”
One listen to Pasilyo shows why it is such a hit. From the production, vocals, message, and overall atmosphere and mood setting, Pasilyo is a modern-day wedding anthem destined to be played at ceremonies in the years to come. In essence, the song plays to our fantasies of the feeling of walking down the aisle and seeing the love of your life at the end. “People relate to it because almost everyone dreams of being married to someone,” shares the group. “They have that endearing kind of feeling of finding your ‘sure thing’ in this world full of uncertainties.”
And if you’re wondering, no, the band has never played Pasilyo at an actual wedding But they did perform at a wedding once. “Back when we were just starting as a band, we played in a wedding. The wedding emcee moved the attendees, except the newlyweds, to a different location from where we were going to play. Hence, we played with only the celebrants to witness our performance, it was a fun experience.”
SPOTIFY’S MOST STREAMED
Twelve months and tens of millions of plays later, Pasilyo stands tall as the most streamed track on Spotify Philippines this year. Considering the competition the band and the song were up against, it’s an impressive feat, one they don’t take lightly. “We were overwhelmed with gratitude, and we felt a deep sense of pride as artists.” It’s an achievement that hits harder given how they dropped their debut single just last year. It’s fair to say that getting recognized by and working with Spotify is a highlight of their year.
“Being recognized by Spotify as the most streamed song for this year is an incredible honor for us. It signifies that our music has resonated with listeners and that our hard work and dedication are paying off.” It’s not everyday a relatively fresh OPM group breaks records, much less work with a goliath in the music industry. SunKissed Lola is taking the opportunity in stride. “Working with Spotify opens up a world of opportunities — it allows our music to reach and connect with a wider audience from all over the globe. It’s a significant milestone in our career, and we’re excited to see where this recognition with Spotify will take us!”
THE SUN AIN’T SETTING
From Olongapo to Manila and beyond, SunKissed Lola had a banner year, even if they haven’t fully grasped their rollercoaster success yet. “Even though it has already been almost a year since the success of Pasilyo, we still haven’t been able to fully grasp everything that has happened. We are still the same people that we were when we were just starting out, but this time, with a greater passion to create more music.”
Speaking of new music, SunKissed Lola teases they have a lot in store for 2024, though they didn’t spill exactly what those are. Still, if their past releases are anything to go by, it’s going to be a bop. As they continue to grow and widen their reach, the band admits the pressure will always be there. But that isn’t stopping them from sharing their joy with the world. “The more our audience grows, the more we want to improve as artists — and that’s what we’re doing. But of course, we won’t forget to enjoy because that’s our driving force to continue doing music.”
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