MANILA -- It is not usual for a young recording artist scores an instant hit and a massive chart-topper with only his debut single.
But that is what happened to 20-year-old Juan Caoile, who wrote the single, “Marikit,” with childhood friend Kyle Caplis. The song became a top trending hit globally, number one in the Top Hits Philippines on Spotify and chalked up a staggering 250 million views on TikTok.
It was only last year when Caoile wrote “Marikit” for his inspiration, Elyn Sebastian, now his girlfriend. He used old, Tagalog lyrics – “Ikaw ang binibini na ninanais ko, binibining marikit na dalangin ko” – words which are not even spoken today, especially by the millennial generation.
“We just wanted to write a song at that time that we composed ‘Marikit,’” Caoile recalled. “At first, it wasn’t really penned for my girlfriend. But at the time that I decided to remake ‘Marikit’ with a new beat, I sang it for my GF.”
Caoile and Caplis came up with a successful collaboration for “Marikit,” combining two different musical beats, modern and hip-hop, with the song in lyrical, old Tagalog tone, adding a touch of rap.
“Naghanap kami ng beat sa YouTube na pwede namin sulatan ng kanta,” Caoile disclosed. “May nakita kaming magandang beat, tapos pina-type beat namin sa producer namin. Pareho din kaming inspired ni Kyle nung time na ginagawa namin ang ‘Marikit.’”
Understandably, Caoile and Caplis never expected “Marikit” to be such an instant hit. Their debut single also became number one on YouTube with close to 10 million views, Deezer and iTunes. Both are overwhelmed and thankful for the success of their composition.
“Nung nakapasok kami sa Top Hits Philippines, hindi kami makapaniwala sa mga nangyayari,” Caplis recalled. “Akala nga namin panaginip lang lahat. But we need to face the reality of being artists of local music, that’s why we have to keep the compliments and take the criticism to learn and to grow with this on both sides.”
No wonder, Caoile and Caplis were signed up by Viva Records, as soon as “Marikit” became an instant hit in the middle of the pandemic.
The boys both found it initially unbelievable that the song they collaborated on would reach a greater number of music fans. They consider it a big “blessing” and vowed to do more collaborations in the coming months.
“Yes, marami pa silang aabangan kay Juan & Kyle,” Caoile said. “On songwriting, covers and even in vlogging.”
Meanwhile, Caoile released his solo composition, “Boses Mo,” which he previously composed, even ahead of “Marikit.” He assured fans, “Nilabas ko lang ‘yung solo ko since dati ko pa siya sinulat. Sayang naman. Gusto ko lang naman ay makapagbigay ng soundtrip and chill.”
Caoile and Caplis are classmates at the University of Manila, where they are both taking up Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management. They are also basketball teammates in Tondo, are both working students and really good friends.
“Our long term goal is to finish our studies,” Caplis said. “We are also aiming to be successful entrepreneurs.”
Both Caoile and Caplis love listening to music. They were influenced by hip-hop artists to pursue a musical career. “Mahilig kami makinig ng music,” Caplis admitted. “Naging idol namin mga local artist na nasa hip-hop like Gloc-9, Loonie and Ron. We were influenced by Justine Oquindo. Tropa po namin na sumasali sa mga fliptop.”
They were likewise inspired by such other music artists as Geo Ong, Jom, and Skusta. “Dahil sa mga message and vibe na pinaparating nila through artistic ways," Caoile said.
Caoile lost his mom at a very young age, when he was only 11. He grew up with his paternal grandmother. His dad, who works as clerk for a mall-based perfume store, got married at a young age of 16 and is now only 36 years old.
Caoile marked his 20th birthday last June 25, with a simple lunch with his siblings. He considered signing up an exclusive recording contract with Viva Records an advanced birthday gift.
Popular covers of “Marikit” were done by celebrities such as Donnalyn Bartolome, the first female version who recorded the rap hit.
Both Caoile and Caplis are apparently ready for the big time, even trials and disappointments that they might encounter in their young career. “Sabay lang kami sa agos,” Caoile maintained. “Mapa-maganda o mapa-hindi maganda ‘yung dumating.”
Caplis added: “It’s nice to be optimistic and constantly think of good things that we can do, instead of losing hope. We’re still young. There are a lot of good things that can happen to us. We’ll still pursue our dreams, whatever it takes.”