As the 2016 Summer Olympics opens in Rio De Janiero, Brazil this Friday, August 5, OPM rock band Sponge Cola comes out with the official song for Team Philippines titled “Sabay Tayo.”
Originally commissioned by Sports5, through its outsourced agency Melmac Sports, for the national basketball team Gilas Pilipinas, “Sabay Tayo” is an inspirational anthem that mixes modern rock with indigenous tunes.
Frontman Yael Yuzon explained the story behind the song in an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last August 2 at the Pandesal Forum held in Kamuning Bakery Cafe, Quezon City.
He says, “The song really talks about iyong idea of being there as an athlete na parang out of all the millions of dreams ng lahat ng bata na humawak ng bola or nagsimulang tumakbo, kayo iyong mga napili.
“’Tapos, parang it’s the idea na ‘Nakaangkas sa ‘yong likod mga pangarap ng lahat.’ Kumbaga, all of us, essentially, or all athletes who are not there, basically para tayong fallen warriors na cheering on those who are still there.
“So, 'Di lang isa kundi lahat nakaangkas sa iyong likod mga pangarap ng lahat,’ kasi before there were endorsements and before there was money involved in sports, lahat naman iyan nagsimula with a dream, e, so it focuses on that the idea na parang just play your heart out because lahat ng mga hearts ng mga warriors natin ay nasa inyo, parang ganoon.”
According to Yael, “99%” of the lyrics were written by his wife Karylle, who also lent her voice to the song. This is the couple’s first official music collaboration.
“Itong song na ‘to took about three weeks to write and record. Para siyang school, iyong gigising ka iniisip mo kaagad ‘What can I do for this song? How can I make it let the message come across?’ Things like that,” Yael says.
He also added that he and Karylle had to become “like method actors” while working on the song, doing workouts in between writing and recording sessions just to have a glimpse of what it’s like to be a professional athlete.
“Like yung line na ‘Patak ng pawis,’ nanggaling iyon sa workout na summer, mainit, para kahit papaano maramdaman din namin iyong feeling ng training. Siyempre mahirap iyon,” says Karylle.
Also sharing his talent into the project is musician and actor Frank Magalona, who was tapped by Yael to do the rap parts.
“I wanted him to rap for this song kasi nagba-basketball talaga siya, e, and I’ve played with him several times,” says Yael.
“I really wanted to have him onboard kasi I know that he plays with a lot of heart, with a lot of fire. Kinda like his dad, too. I used to play basketball with him all the time before, si Francis M, long time ago. ‘Tapos ganon din siya, all heart. He’s not the biggest guy but he’ll play like he’s the biggest guy.”
Karylle also brought in the University of the Philippines College of Music’s UP Tugma, which provided the rustic instrumental sounds in the background.
Although they never got the chance to perform the song live in front of the 12-man Philippine Olympic team, Karylle hopes that the inspiring theme of the song would reach them in Rio De Janiero, Brazil.
“I’ve been so blessed to have people in my life to rally me on and support me in everything that I’ve done, so alam ko iyong nararamdaman nila. So, parang this is our way of paying it forward, giving it back to them.
“Sana sana ma-inspire sila. I’m sure mararamdaman naman nila yung pagmamahal natin all the way from the Philippines.”
Watch the official music video of “Sabay Tayo” here: