Returning balladeer Marco Sison yearns for OPM resurgence

Marco Sison makes his recording comeback with Hindi Ko Akalain exclusively distributed by Star Records. The 10-track album is composed of eight new materials written either solely by Bodjie Dasig or with Odette Quesada.


It took balladeer Marco Sison seven years to find the right motivation to enter the recording studio once again and revive his dormant recording career.

In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) held yesterday, May 17, at Annabel's restaurant on Tomas Morato in Quezon City, the singer confessed feeling disillusioned with the crippling problems brought about by rampant piracy coupled with certain contractual issues following the release of his 2003 album.

"Since iba na ngayon ang uso, di ba, madami ng independent producers ngayon, even in the movies, sabi ko, e, di maghihintay-hintay na lang muna ako. Gusto ko naman masubukan na magkaroon ng project na malaki 'yong kinalaman ko, hindi 'yong artist ka lang tapos you record whatever you're being presented. 'Yon ang malaking problem ng mga singers, marami silang gustong i-record pero since you're exclusive and under contract, wala kang masyadong magawa," Marco observed seriously.

Marco is constantly on the lookout for good original materials worthy to complete a possible full-length disc. Fortunately, songwriter Bodjie Dasig—who composed the hits "Sana'y Dalawa Ang Puso Ko," "Ale," "Di Pa Huli," "Pasulyap-Sulyap," among others—handed Marco a couple of unheard, well-written songs.

"Maraming ibinigay sa akin si Bodjie but these are the songs that I liked and I recorded it!" beamed the balladeer.

Eight of those songs would eventually make it to Marco's comeback album titled Hindi Ko Akalain distributed by Star Records.

"Sa seven years na 'yon siyempre, mainly ang rason, wala naman akong motivation pa. Ngayon, like what I've said, this is very exciting for me kasi na-miss ko mag-promote sa malls. I used to do that before. At saka napakarami ng malls ngayon, so talagang hindi ka mawawalan ng mall shows!" laughed the singer who was responsible for the past hits like "Si Aida, Si Lorna O Si Fe," "My Love Will See You Through," "Paano Kung Wala Ka Na," to name a few.

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STRENGTHENING OPM. Being part of that period when OPM (Original Pilipino Music) was thriving on the airwaves, Marco expressed concern with the current trend and direction of the industry, made worse by the mindset of most artists nowadays.

"Medyo nalulungkot lang ako ng konti kasi ang uso ngayon, parang nakakalimutan natin 'yong OPM. Kasi madalas kong naririnig 'yong mga acoustic version ng mga kanta nila Lady Gaga, 'yong mga old songs na nire-record ng mga bagong artists. Siguro panahon na para ibalik natin 'yong Original Pilipino Music," said Marco.

He added, "Lagi tayong nagmamalaki na tayo ay world class as far as singing is concerned. O, bakit hindi natin ipagmalaki ang ating musika? Nowadays kasi, ang mundo ay open na open na kasi lahat naman tayo ay global especially when it comes to music. Sa Amerika, napakaraming Indian music, mga British composers and musicians na sumisikat sa Amerika. Why not a Filipino representing and singing OPM? Mas maganda 'yong ganun. I think it's about time for all of us to focus on that and promote our own music. Hindi lang 'yong magaling tayong kumanta o magaling tayong manggaya."

COMPARING PAST AND PRESENT. Marco said that the situation facing modern singers today is far more difficult than before.

"Sabi nga nila 'yong '70s and '80s are the golden years of OPM. Napakarami talagang singers noon. Ngayon din napakaraming singers. Kaya lang ngayon kasi once na hindi bumenta 'yong album mo, hindi na siya mauulit. So ang nangyayari ngayon, ang bilis ng turnover ng mga singers. Sikat siya ngayon for two years or three years, tapos wala na kasi walang nangyari sa album.

"Tapos, like what I've said, nauuso na naman 'yong mga foreign songs na nire-record natin na iniiba lang natin 'yong arrangement. Hindi ko maintindihan kung anong difference ng OPM sa ganun, pare-pareho lang naman nating nire-record 'yon, pareho nating binabayaran."

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The singers are not entirely to blame, according to Marco, since the business side of the trade dictates them to adhere to the demands enforced by industry bigwigs.

"Kung ikaw 'yong artists, wala ka rin namang choice, gusto mo lang naman sumikat. So nata-trap sila sa ganung sistema kumbaga. Pero pagdating sa passion, palagay ko hindi mo makukuwestiyon 'yong passion ng isang singer pagdating sa kanyang craft," he explained.

Marco likewise commended the Pinoy singers who are breaking out big in the international arena like Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda despite the limitations still facing most of our artists.

"Nakakatuwa kasi, alam mo, pag napupunta ako ng Amerika, sobrang tuwa nila kay Charice. Nagtatanong sila, 'Saan galing ang boses nitong batang 'to na napaka-powerful?' Natatawa lang ako kasi sabi ko, 'E, ba't di kayo magpunta ng Pilipinas at i-discover ninyo 'yang mga ganyan? Kasi 'yan, kahit saan kayo magpunta, merong ganyan sa amin!'"

"Tayo kasi pagdating sa kantahan," Marco continued, wala tayong limit. Umaapaw ang talents dito kaya dapat talaga ma-spread out tayo internationally. Slowly and surely, napapansin tayo particularly in the States. Alam mo naman sa Amerika, it's one of the richest nations in the world so napaka business-like lagi ng approach nila. Everything to them is business and siguro na-compute na nila kung gaano kadami ang Pilipino doon, so meron na tayong presence as far as market is concerned. So 'yan, unti-unting bumubukas na ang pinto para sa ating local artists."


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