MANILA – Paradise Rising, the new sister label of international mass media company 88rising, recently dropped its first mixtape featuring two songs Filipino singers Kiana Valenciano and Leila Alcasid.
Their songs “Safe Place” and “Clouds,” respectively, are part of the five-track “semilucent” which was released last July 31.
In a feature by Anjana Pawa for The Grammys, Valenciano and Alcasid joined 88rising founder Sean Miyashiro as they talked about how Paradise Rising has served as an avenue for talented music artists in the Philippines.
According to Miyashiro, he had no idea what 88rising would become when he started the company in a parking lot in the Bronx.
“We're still a small team, and it's always been DIY for us. Being small and scrappy has allowed us holistic creative control of our brand, our vision and our future. We put out things into the world that we believe in,” he said.
Miyashiro said the company provides its artists "the space and creative freedom to do what they want” because their common goal at the end of the day is “to make dope music while trailblazing the way towards a future with true Asian representation in pop culture.”
With the creation of its localized label Paradise Rising, Miyashiro said they are only continuing what they have been doing and that is to bring “talented emerging Asian artists to the forefront of global youth culture.”
“The Philippines has such a vibrant music culture, and there are so many young talented artists who are emerging. We want to amplify this on a global scale,” Miyashiro said.
Meanwhile, Valenciano and Alcasid spoke about being Filipino and what they bring into the table when coming up with their music.
“I'd say being a Filipino, we're very passionate people, and you hear that in our music. [Whether it's] songs that are lively, our ballads or in our folk music, the vulnerability stands out. That's something I definitely bring into my music,” Valenciano said.
Alcasid, for her part, said she always pays attention to her process.
“Filipinos always want to give every part of themselves. The way that this translates in music is that we're very vulnerable. If you look at the music that we listen to, it's really all to do with digging deep and having music that relates to the human condition... I guess I'm trying to be as vulnerable as possible, trying to open myself up,” she said.
The two also shared their thoughts on how R&B and hip-hop are gradually becoming a sound within the Asian community since the “semilucent” tracks are of these genres.
“I believe it's always been there. With technology and social media, people have been given a space to grow their own platforms, and these talented artists are finally being able to shine in their own space. As far as evolution is concerned, I think there's just room for so much growth and a burst of more and more artists,” said Valenciano.
Alcasid, on the other hand, admitted that she learned about how Filipinos are approaching hip hop through her rapper boyfriend.
“It's been interesting to see what inspires hip-hop and how they're influenced by the West. They're tying in the sounds of the West, but it's still authentically them as possible ... In all different parts of Asia, we're influenced by the West and what's already been done, but you can identify the styles and the way in which they're transformed to become inherently Asian,” she said.
Both Valenciano and Alcasid are talents of Tarsier Records, which is one of the labels under ABS-CBN Music that seeks to champion Filipino talents to the world stage and serves as a gateway for international artists to the Philippines.