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Musicians with Filipino roots stand out from America to Asia 

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The 64th annual Grammy Awards held in Las Vegas is a feat worth celebrating in the region as American artists with Asian roots bagged three of the four major awards. 

Filipino-American pop star Olivia Rodrigo won Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance for her debut single “Driver’s License”, and Best Pop Vocal Album for her debut album “Sour”. 

Bruno Mars’ Silk Sonic swept all four nominations for “Leave The Door Open,” including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. While his comeback song also won Best R&B Song and tied with “Pick Up Your Feelings” by Jazmine Sullivan for Best R&B Performance. 

L-R Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak accept the award for Record of the Year. Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images AFP
L-R Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak accept the award for Record of the Year. Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images AFP

R&B singer H.E.R. also went home with one Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Fight for You.” She was up for 8 nominations. Another Filipino-American Rapper, Saweetie, was nominated for Best New Artist and her “Best Friend” with Doja Cat was also nominated for Best Rap Song. 

Saweetie represented her Filipino and African ancestry at the 2021 Met Gala when she donned a red gown with trains displaying the colors of the Philippine flag and the Black American heritage flag. In a Variety interview, H.E.R.proudly shares that ‘she’s equally Filipino as she is Black’ and how she advocates for ‘Africans, Asians and women.’ 

In 2012, the now 15-time Grammy winner Bruno Mars statement ‘I am Filipino’ in an SNL show where he was both a host and musical guest was much raved about in the Philippines. Olivia Rodrigo, pop music’s rising star, has openly discussed being a fourth-generation Filipina-American and that she grew up with Filipino culture and traditions. 

Closer to our shores, Philippine artists have also received recognition in recent years. Debuting during the pandemic, ABS-CBN Music’s boy group BGYO and girl group BINI achieved beyond expectations. They became MTVAsia’s 2021 Artists for October and November, as well as garnered local fans in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia. Their debut albums featured full tracks of title singles in Japanese, Thai, Bahasa, and Spanish versions 

BGYO - L-R - Nate, Akira, Gelo, Mikki, JL
BGYO – L-R – Nate, Akira, Gelo, Mikki, JL
BINI - L-R - Aiah, Stacey, Jhoanna, Mikha, Maloi, Colette, Gwen, Sheena
BINI – L-R – Aiah, Stacey, Jhoanna, Mikha, Maloi, Colette, Gwen, Sheena

BGYO bagged the National Winner for Best Theme Song for “He’s Into Her” at the 2021 Asian Academy Creative Awards and was No. 1 on Billboard’s Next Big Sound Chart for six weeks. 

Both pop groups are set to release new singles and albums in the coming months, with plans to heavily promote and meet their fans around Asia. 

Female vocalists Moira and KZ also shine in the international spotlight with collaborations and performances.  

KZ Tandingan
KZ Tandingan
Moira Dela Torre
Moira Dela Torre

One of Spotify’s most-streamed Filipino artists, Moira, was nominated as Favorite Southeast Asian Artist at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2019. It was followed by a string of collaborations with Southeast Asian and Western artists. Together with fellow ABS-CBN artists, she joined an all-female ensemble alongside Rinni Wulandari and Yura Yunita from Indonesia, DOLLA and Shalma Eliana from Malaysia, Haneri, and Haven from Singapore, and Valentina Ploy from Thailand for the inspirational song, “Heal”. Sing-songwriters Maximilian and Pink Sweat$ have collaborated with Moira as well for “Beautiful Scars” and “17”, respectively. 

Asia’s Soul Supreme, KZ, may be a familiar face to viewers of Chinese television competition “Singer” where she went against popular names including Jessie J. Her rendition of “Gabay” (Guide) was part of the official soundtrack of Disney’s film Raya and the Last Dragon which is based on Southeast Asian traditions and cultures. 

She is recently announced to be MTV Asia’s Spotlight Artist as part of her international promotions for her latest single, “Winning”. 

—With reports from ABS-CBN News and Agence France Presse 


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