Kala mo porket tagalog, puro lang kabaduyan.
-Gloc 9, The Bobo Song
It was in the news last week. Yeng Constantino stopped writing songs for a year. The criticisms on her writing skills were too much for her to take. People have called her many things such as a “one-hit wonder”, “baduy”, and “formulaic.”
What those people could not see was – at least she’s writing her own songs.
Her breakout hit, Hawak Kamay, was a song she wrote when she was 17. Weeks before she was even declared the winner of the first season of Pinoy Dream Academy in 2006, the single was already making it in sales and airplay charts. It has been used in TV shows and in a major Star Cinema film. The song was already winning awards. And almost everyone knows the words to the song that made her PDA’s sure-bet to win the cash prize-condo-recording contract package.
While inside the PDA house, Yeng already knows herself, musically. While it’s true that she’s obviously influenced by other pop-rock girl acts, she owned-up to her act and stuck to her image. Besides, what musician is not influenced by any artist that came before him/her?
When PDA1 ended, Yeng became the first reality singing contest winner of her kind. She’s not a Sarah Geronimo, a Rachelle Anne Go or a Jonalyn Viray. She’s the anti-diva.
Her post-PDA efforts resulted in a string of major and minor hits. And in a sea of belters on ASAP, Yeng stood out as the rocker girl. Some were hesitant to hand the rocker tag to Yeng that easily, and it didn’t help that there was a point when ASAP seemd to be trying to fit her into the diva mold (long dresses, diva songs, vocal death matches with Sarah and Rachelle), the very thing she defied in PDA.
Something could have happened along the way, for in Yeng’s third studio album Lapit, we find her going back to her roots.
We’re happy that in a musical environment where a major label like Universal Records are signing all the country’s top musical acts to record cover albums, one after another, Star Records is bold enough to allow artist like Yeng to come-up with an all-original material.
And we are even thankful that Yeng is once again writing her materials and singing them just the way she likes them – little acts that go unnoticed in the business where excellent vocalists are hailed but good songwriters rarely receive encouragement.
American singing Hawak Kamay: