MANILA — Christmas came early for the Cebu-based duo of Reanne Borela and Noah Alejandre when their song, “Suyo,” was declared the winner of the PhilPop 2020 Songwriting Festival and the recipient of the top prize of P1 million tax-free.
“I actually couldn’t believe it. It’s mind-blowing,” squealed Borela in delight following an interview with this writer. “Ang daming magagaling sa PhilPop. I didn’t expect anything since kami ni Noah ang youngest competitors. And we interpreted our own song. It was also our first songwriting competition and we had no experience.”
“And to think that we recorded our songs on our mobile phones when we submitted it,” chimed in Alejandre.
“Suyo” is about the complexities of being in a relationship with cultural and language barriers offering their own sets of challenges. The song, written in both Bisaya and Tagalog, bested 14 entries from Metro Manila, North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao clusters on the PhilPop Finals Night held online last December 20.
Aikee’s “Bestiny” and Sherwin Fugoso’s “Pahuway” emerged as first and second runners-up, winning P500,000 and P250,000, respectively.
The former entry was interpreted by Kevin Yadao and Jr. Crown, while the latter was sung by Ferdinand Aragon, who composed the PhilPop 2018 runner-up song, “Di Ko Man.”
“The field had all these talented songwriters who have made names for themselves while kami… nothing much,” elucidated Borela. “Nakakalula. You see all the other finalists na ang gaganda ng entries nila. Just making the roster of finalists was good enough for us. We were just happy to be there. It was a big first step for us. But to go this far…. Mind-blowing talaga.”
The family of both Borela and Alejandre were present during the online proceedings and when the duo’s names were announced tears of joy and disbelief flowed.
“It makes all the sacrifices worth it especially during this pandemic. It gives us hope about a career in music and not just because of the money,” added Alejandre. “There is nothing more that you enjoy when you follow your passion and that is making music.”
Prior to the PhilPop Finals, the duo began to upgrade their recording equipment beginning with microphones and similar gear.
“For me, I will buy some equipment that will help us write better songs,” bared Noah. “We’ll sit back and enjoy this during the Christmas season, but after that, we go back to writing songs. It is nice to have a little more confidence.”
As for Borela, still lost for words, she ended by saying, “This is simply mind-blowing.”
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