MANILA — Just two years ago, the vocal trio known as JBK (Joshua Bulot, Bryan del Rosario and Kim Lawrenz Ordonio) was the toast of the UK-based reality talent search show, “The X Factor.”
Their impressive run in the series got them as far as the semifinals. JBK’s eventual, untimely elimination even got the ire of Filipina-American judge Nicole Scherzinger who believed that the trio could have advanced further in the competition.
In any case, “The X Factor” exposure gave JBK a much-needed career boost that also inspired them to evolve progressively since they were first formed six years ago.
“When we started we were doing mostly covers. At one point, we even tried a sing-and-dance approach to pattern ourselves after K-pop boy bands,” Bulot said in mostly Filipino in a recent interview with ABS-CBN News.
“But as time went by, we matured and found our individuality, the music that we really prefer and a better appreciation of OPM and hold our own in the international market. Our stint in ‘X Factor’ in UK also made us realize the need to push ourselves to creating and performing more original songs as we started getting inspiration from the likes of Ben&Ben, IV of Spades, Bruno Mars and even legends like the Apo Hiking Society and Tito, Vic and Joey.”
JBK’s resolve to perform only original material led them to “Anestisya,” a soulful ballad composed by entertainment journalist Jojo Panaligan who writes songs under the name Yman.
“The song was already fully arranged when it was presented to us for demo purposes. The first time I heard, I immediately liked it and hope that we can record it as a single. The demo was recorded by the composer as far back as 2016 and many other artists, even major labels wanted it but the composer did not commit to anyone until now,” Bulot recalled.
“As a group, we are very flattered to have been given a chance to interpret this beautiful composition,” Del Rosario added.
In a separate interview, songwriter Panaligan revealed the inspiration for “Anestisya.”
“The idea for the song came to me inside a bar in Thailand. I noticed a group of men laughing so hard, except for one member whose eyes looked sad. I realized that guys often hide their true feelings especially when they’re broken hearted because that’s what society expects from them,” Panaligan shared.
After recording it himself in 2016, Panaligan thought the song did not fit his style.
“Still, I wanted to hear a recorded version of the song so I asked JBK’s manager, a close friend of mine, if he could ‘lend’ me the boys. When they recorded the song, it was only guitar and vocals. They didn’t know I would have it done in full arrangement [even though] I had no intention of releasing it. Eventually, they heard the song completely done and from then on, through the years, they have been asking it from me so they could release it as a single. I kept saying no, three years straight,” Panaligan further recalled.
Panaligan eventually relented and as JBK and many others anticipated, “Anestisya” is an instant hit. Less than three weeks after it was first uploaded, the song’s lyric video now has nearly 100,000 views on both YouTube and Facebook.
Del Rosario said they were not at all surprised with the song’s immediate impact.
“We were confident that this is going to be a hit as it was beautifully arranged by Jonathan Ong, who has worked with big artists like Gloc-9, Maja Salvador, Juan Karlos, Silent Sanctuary and more,” he pointed out.
Panaligan is likewise very pleased with JBK’s rendition of his song.
“They could have done so many vocal runs as many R&B singers do [but] they kept it simple It’s probably because when they recorded it, they didn’t think it would get released so they didn’t get too technical with the singing and just sang from the heart,” he noted.
Asked why they think “Anestisya” has resonated with so many fans. Del Rosario offers this explanation.
“The lyrics, the story of the song about how a guy copes with the pain of heartbreak, it has a lot of depth but is also easily relatable. If a woman will just cry and prefer to talk to her friends about her pain, a man will just usually stay silent and just looks for his own anesthesia to numb his pain and to make it appear to the world that he’s okay,” Del Rosario pointed out.
“But anesthesia is only temporary. It eventually wears off and that’s when men broke down. At midnight, when no one’s looking or when he is laughing the loudest with friends, that’s when he is crumbling inside.”
With “Anestisya” expected to keep them busy for the rest of the year with more singing engagements, JBK vows to release more new material.
“Before the year ends, we’re going to record three new songs that written and composed by us and we will be releasing more songs next year. Aside from singing, we are also active in attending auditions for teleseryes and stage plays. We love acting as well so hopefully we can land some really good roles,” Bulot said.
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