World Music Day 2021: 7 Filipina Artists Dominating the Global Music Industry—HER, Jess Conelly, And More
This World Music Day, we’re putting the spotlight on incredible Filipina artists who have taken the international stage by storm
For years, we’ve seen Filipinas’ musical prowess recognised both on the local and international stage: Lea Salonga has made us proud by becoming the Disney princesses we love and leaving us in awe during her powerful performances in musicals; Rachelle Ann Go had proven yet again that we can conquer theatre with her powerful performance in Miss Saigon; Vanessa Hudgens has given us a childhood to remember through High School Musical; Nicole Scherzinger has made songs with the Pussycat Dolls that we just love to bop to. And up until now, female singers from our country are leading the global charts.
Here are some of Filipinas dominating the contemporary music industry:
It’s definitely HER year. This singer and songwriter has been making hits in the US with songs like I Can’t Breathe, which won the 2021 Grammy Award for Song of the Year, and Fight For You, which won at the 2021 Oscars. Despite being known for her English tracks, at home, HER belts out Maging Sino Ka Man for her Filipino relatives, who have supported her for years. She remarks that her Filipino mother keeps her humble after all this time.
KZ Tandingan has to be our generation’s next songbird. Having the ability to belt clean, high notes is one thing, but to sing each line with so much verve and power is another. Her performance at China’s popular singing competition Singer 2018 was a tour de force, earning not only her fans’ admiration but also British singer Jessie J’s, whom she competed with on the show. KZ has relentlessly proven her flair for music which caught Disney’s attention, allowing the opportunity to sing Gabay for the film Raya and the Last Dragon.
As romantics, we Filipinos have developed a liking for love songs. One might say this is why Filipino-American artist Olivia Rodrigo’s songs hit hard. But it seems the rest of the world has been swayed by her hit song Driver’s License which is currently the longest-running number-one hit worldwide, beating BTS and Mariah Carey. Though Olivia was born to an American mother and Filipino-American father, she’s quite familiar with Filipino traditions and enjoys eating Filipino food.
Jess Connelly, Gen T honouree, is a true music icon. This Filipina artist has a distinct R&B sound that’s propelled her to the international stage. Jess has performed at the Wonderfruit festival in Thailand, shared a stage with Kehlani’s DJ, Noodles, and opened for Kehlani and Chance the Rapper in Manila.
Related: Recalling Wonderfruit 2019
Beatrice Laus, famously known as Beabadoobee, is a Filipina-British singer and songwriter who became an internet sensation after posting an original song online and getting signed to a music label. You might have heard the famous Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head) song by Powfu featuring Beabadoobee which trended on TikTok, garnering 10 billion plays in only three months. But Beabadoobee is not only admired for her music. Her style has also become an inspiration for many. You’ll see her fans trying out grunge makeup and unique outfit inspired by the Filipina artist.
Kiana V outdoes herself by surprising fans with a new track titled Safe Place for Paradise Rising, 88rising’s new localised label that showcases exquisite Filipino talent. The musical genes certainly run in the family. Like her father Gary Valenciano; not only can Kiana sing, but she also has great moves and can put on a show.
Saweetie has the sweetest hooks and meanest rap verses, which she probably learned from writing poetry in her teenage years. This American rapper has been appearing on the charts lately with catchy tunes like Tap In, My Type, Icy Girl and other top tracks where she’s featured other famous Hip-hop artists like Doja Cat, Jhené Aiko and Little Mix. Regardless, it seems Saweetie still has more to achieve, knowing that she’s used to aiming for higher goals which she acquired from her Filipino-Chinese tiger mom.