The home is where the heart is, they say. Coke Studio Philippines’ Season 2 proves truism to that, as they take OPM artists to their “homes” to inspire them to make new music. Home here transcends the physical structure or the geographical location. The thrust is to bring the artists to what they consider as “homecoming”.
“This year, we took it a step further by bringing back Coke Studio with the intention of making it a home for teens, for Filipino artists, for OPM. Every episode of this season focuses on the artists’ way of coming home – whether to their homeland, to memory, or a person – a place or moment where they truly feel they belong. For this season the artists will be giving their own rendition on what homecoming means to them.”, Coca Cola Philippines VP for marketing Stephan Czypionka tells adobo magazine.
Coming home to OPM
The first four episodes were a hit to the Filipino audience who wanted to see artists to the core.
The first episode which premiered on ABS-CBN last September 16, 2018 delved into “Homecoming to Friends”, with rock band IV of Spades, band known for “Mundo”, and 17-year old rapper, Shanti Dope, who popularized “Nadarang”. Zildjian Benitez, Blaster Silonga nd Badjao De Castro of IV of Spades took Shanti Dope down memory lane at Cubao Expo, where they had the epiphany of starting a retro-inspired band and started building their friendship. While Shanti Dope introduced them to his hometown and longtime companions in Sampaloc Manila.
The power of words took center stage in the second episode “Homecoming to where it all began”, featuring microphone revolutionist and rapper Quest and spoken poetry master Juan Miguel Severo. Sharing the same concept of homecoming — the story of how they started, struggled, but eventually survived in their chosen paths. Juan Miguel, with his 2-year old poems, theater auditions before finding spoken poetry which combined two crafts he loved, and Quest, with almost giving up but accidentally finding an old notebook containing what would be the lyrics of his hit song, used for GIlas Pilipinas, “Sige Lang”.
DJ Patty Tiu and first Filipino K-pop artist Kriesha Chu brought party vibes in “Homecoming to Dreamers”. DJ Patty toured Kriesha to the clubs she gave life with her mix, and Kriesha taught her dance moves that remind her of her humble beginnings three years ago, when she was discovered in the United States by her company urban works and was eventually sent to Korea to train.
It’s all about “Homecoming to Family” in Episode 4 with folk pop band Ben&Ben, behind the songs “Kathang-isip” and “Maybe the Night” and singer-actor, Sam Concepcion. Ben&Ben reminisced how their family grew from only “The Benjamins”, siblings Paolo Benjamin and Miguel Benjamin, to a band of nine. While Sam who started young in the industry shared how his family inspired him to pursue music.
Giving the #Feels
Season 2 is really into the #feels, not only through music, but fan interaction brought into a whole new level. Back in Season 1, the audience only had the opportunities to tweet their reactions or requests. But now, they get to go into a booth and ask the artists to perform a mash-up, a cover of each other’s songs, or any request.
Fans also share their thoughts on the question of the week, at “Open Mic”. Their answers then fuel the artists’ creative process, so far leading to four quality songs, “Sa Kahapon” (IV of Spades and Shanti Dope), “D.K.R. (Darating Ka Rin)” (Quest and Juan Miguel Severo), “R.U.N.” (DJ Patty and Kriesha), and “Balik-balikan” (Ben&Ben and Sam).
The Coke Studio also received an upgrade, being literally bigger and better— more space for brainstorming with superb producers, who make arrangements and the recording process both challenging and fulfilling, more space for the artists to play games, and more space for the live audience.
Unity in diversity in OPM
In photo: Coke Studio Philippines artists at the launch of Season 2. Source: Coca-Cola Philippines Facebook
This season also fronts unity in diversity, just as how homes are. The artists come from different genres, and form unlikely pairs, but still make great harmony. “Choosing the final line up for this year was really a challenge, as the Philippines definitely does not lack in talented musicians. It was really had to pin who we should choose, but of course, we took into account what the teens want and listen to, which artists’ music resonate with them, and from there, we checked who are aligned with our values as a brand.”, Stephan Czypionka tells adobo magazine.
Exciting mix-ups are still anticipated in the last half of the season, featuring December Avenue, which sang “Sa Ngalan ng Pag-ibig” among other hits, Youtube sensation turned recording artist Moira dela Torre, who popularized “Tagpuan” and “Malaya”, KZ Tandingan, known for “Mahal Ko o Mahal Ako” and her cover of Air Supply’s “Two Less Lonely People in the World” for the hit film Kita Kita, Khalil Ramos, known for his version of “Kung Ako Ba Siya”, and AJ Rafael who self-produced his debut album and sang “We Could Happen”.
Last year, Coke Studio’s hits proved OPM is more alive than ever and is breaking norms, with hit songs like Gab and John of Urbandub and The Ransom Collective’s “Caution to the Wind”, Gracenote and Abra’s “Stargazer”, Ebe Dancel and Autotelic’s “Bahagi”, Sandwich and BP Valenzuela’s “Stutter”, Moonstar88 and Jensen and the Flips’ “Gigil”, Reese Lansangan and Franco’s “Off of Center”, and Noel Cabangon and Curtismith’s “Payong Kaibigan”.
Coke Studio around the World
Coke Studio is rocking other parts of the world, such as Africa and other Asian countries including Pakistan and India. Coca-Cola Philippines believes this means a lot more to the country, “Coke Studio in the Philippines is unique in a way that music is deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture like nowhere else in the world. This is why music is our way of becoming part of the lives of the Filipino youth.”
Music itself has always been part of the brand. “From the moment the iconic Hilltop song was released, Coca-Cola has continuously used music to connect with people. Music is and has always been our way of connecting to the youth, as it is one of their strong passions. It is something we want to continuously bring closer to them. By bringing music to the youth, Coca-Cola also becomes part of their DNA.”
True enough, the first four episodes drew engagement from the young audience. Coca-cola calls the reception “warm”, evident on the comments and organic posts on Twitter and Facebook.
Coke Studio Philippines vows to produce more OPM songs which will surely hit close to home.