MANILA – Aisaku Yokogawa may be Japanese, but he loves Original Pilipino Music or OPM just as much – or even more than – the usual Filipino.
Yokogawa, who moved to the Philippines some years back, said he has always been a fan of OPM, citing Gary Valenciano as his favorite singer.
“I live in a church so I had the chance to learn good music first from Gary V’s songs. His music covers a lot of genres from pop, dance, soul jazz to ballads. The first live concert I ever watched in my life was his as well,” he said in a statement promoting his debut album.
“Modern OPM is something I really love,” he added. “I give credit to OPM artists who bring the genre to a new level of classy music, like my current favorites Noel Cabangon, Sitti, Gloc 9, Jay-R, Ogie Alcasid and a whole lot more!”
Just recently, Yokogawa released his debut album, which featured his renditions of OPM songs. The album, titled “Ikaw Pa Rin,” is produced by Janette Ito of Japan’s i&i Records in partnership with Japan Home Center and distributed by Universal Records Philippines.
His album is now available on record bars nationwide, and online via iTunes, OPM2Go and Amazon.
His carrier single is his version of Ted Ito’s “Ikaw Pa Rin,” which is Japanese in origin. A music video of the song was recently released on YouTube, and is set to premiere on the music channels Myx and MTV Philippines in the coming weeks.
“I know more OPM than Japanese songs now. I have more Filipino friends than Japanese friends on Facebook. And I guess I am a Filipino by heart even though my pair of eyes makes me look like I’m asleep,” Yokogawa said.
“I find the Filipinos more fun to be with, and the country itself as well. I love the Filipino humor, the culture, and best of all, the close family ties. I love my parents and I am glad that I know how to show my love to them like a Filipino son can do,” he added.
Aside from “Ikaw Pa Rin,” other tracks featured in Yokogawa’s debut album include the OPM hits “Alaala Mo,” “Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot,” “Simpleng Timpla,” “Remember Me,” “Isang Mundo Isang Awit,” “Sana’y Paniwalaan Mo,” “Paano Ko Sasabihin” and “Magbalik sa Akin.”
This is not the first time that a Japanese artist covered a popular Filipino hit. The Japanese rock band Uchusentai NOIZ did a faster, more upbeat version of Kamikazee’s “Narda” in a music video uploaded in 2012.