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The new wave of Filipino R&B is ready with DENȲ

By Ratziel San Juan Published Apr 17, 2023 1:30 pm

DENȲ might be pronounced like de-ni, but even she can't deny the magnitude of the Filipino R&B new wave, which despite its power has yet to reach its peak or even scratch the surface.

The Filipino singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and dance artist devotes much of her time to developing her craft. In the process, she's managed to up the local R&B and Pop music game—in her own words, "with a clear acuity of the influence and output she wants to lay out in the scene."

DENȲ has accumulated 465,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, thanks to her distinct sound as heard in tracks like her most popular one to date, Gusto With Ya.

Her solo compositions are recognizably a fresh, new take on an already reputable genre—familiar but at the same time different enough that it could only be found in her discography. This is because she is involved at every stage of the music-making process.

"Personally, one of my biggest contributions also for Filipino R&B is not only the sound of my music, but also the lyrics ng mga sinusulat ko. So every song that I performed was penned by me. I make sure that when I write a song, it’s authentic, it represents something. The meaning must resonate with everyone or just one person, that’s enough. It’s very empowering, my lyrics," DENȲ told PhilSTAR L!fe in an exclusive interview.

Although she is proud of her work, the artist works overtime to get her music out.

She joined WAYBETTR collective, a youth movement composed of promising artists in the Philippines. The musician has also collaborated with other Filipino R&B and hip-hop artists, including Just Hush, Third Flo', and Cean Jr. for her tracks Alam Ko Na and Still Miss You, respectively.

Most recently, she was launched as part of the Philippine artist lineup of Spotify RADAR.

The digital music service's global artist development program uplifts emerging artists on the global and local stages, empowering them to connect with new audiences and fans. Specifically, Spotify RADAR enables borderless access for Filipino artists to be discovered by new audiences.

"I think we have a very big chance of going international if we’re given the right platform. Which also I’m thankful for kasi I’m part of Spotify RADAR, which gives a bigger platform not only in the Philippines but also internationally. I’m very glad na meron na tayong platform like this to present our craft, present our music, more especially Filipino R&B," DENȲ analyzed.

Personally, she discovered through the streaming platform that around 70% of her listeners come from Philippines, with a few thousand tuning in from Japan and South Korea.

"Now that I’m a part of Spotify RADAR, I’m very honored to be given this platform na mas mapalaki pa ‘yung audience ko—not only in the Philippines, but also, as I said, sa ibang bansa, which I need more help with. I’m very glad na merong platform like Spotify RADAR to help us artists grow our platform," DENȲ said.

Having worked with other artists whom she described as "pioneers" of Filipino R&B and Hip-Hop, she said that the Philippines is not short of music genius, just the proper platform to get their voices heard.

I make sure that when I write a song, it’s authentic, it represents something. The meaning must resonate with everyone or just one person, that’s enough.

"I would say Filipino R&B is very ever-changing. At the same time, it’s becoming more globally competitive. So in the past decades, like dati pa naman, marami na talagang mga R&B artists na nag-uumpisa. And until now, marami pa ring mga R&B artists na nagpapalaganap ng sound ng R&B, which is kung ano na ‘yung meron na tayo ngayon. It’s very high quality compared to before," DENȲ explained.

With that said, the newly launched Spotify artist personally finds Filpino R&B "underrated" even locally. Thus, she makes her mission clear after gaining the RADAR advantage: "Gusto ko na mas makilala pa ng Filipinos and everyone around the world kung ano ‘yung nagde-define ng Filipino R&B," DENȲ concluded.