What inspires Maestro Ryan Cayabyab

/ 12:40 AM October 09, 2018

Ryan Cayabyab

Maestro Ryan Cayabyab is too adorable for words. The OPM (original Pilipino music) icon has not lost the child in him. His joie de vivre is contagious. I  treasure our friendship, which began at the OPM Fair in Cebu four years ago.

Mr. C told me how giddy he is about being one of the nominees in the 12th Asia-Pacific Screen Awards for the inaugural best original score award (“Ang Larawan”). He is a shoo-in for the plum.


The OPM icon is equally excited about his pet project, The 5th Akapela 2018 Finals on Oct. 20, 7 p.m. at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The contemporary a cappella community is hyped up as to who will win this year’s coveted grand prize. Previous winners such as Acapelago, Pinopela, The Conchords and Phisix have bagged awards in  various international competitions.


With a mentor like Mr. C, how can they fail? Maestro Ryan (whom I fondly call “Your Eminence”) could very well afford to sit on his laurels. But his “bottomless” creative juices keep him all fired up.

Mr. C’s  presence serves as an adrenaline shot to the OPM scene.

Here’s my chat with Mr. C:

How do you stay grounded?  My mantra is “never expect.” No one knows what will happen in the future, so we just have to be ready for challenges all the time—at work, at home. It also helps to not take myself so seriously and see everything in a positive light.

Since you are a multiawarded musician, do you still get excited when you win another award? About half of the world’s films are produced in the region. Imagine that! That is what makes this nomination exciting. But then again, just to be nominated is honor enough.

Is it easier  for you to write songs when you are happy or sad? Since I have had training in writing music (composition), I can also trigger the production of ideas, if needed. But really, it is different when one is on an emotional high or low, because music speaks easier to us when we are in either condition.

Songwriting requires skill, and for a song to become extraordinary and heartfelt, you need an emotional boost. However, every other songwriter I talk to also puts a premium on the economic side.


Songwriters who treat their craft as a source of income are readily fired up with inspiration  when their skills are put to good use with matching remuneration.

If your life story were to be made into a song what would the title be and who would you want to sing it?  I still don’t know what the end of the story is. But at this point of my life, the song would be “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.

What makes your “love story” with music go on and on? I found the right outlet in this late part of my life—and that is to continue teaching and sharing whatever I have learned in theory and practice, plus all the other bits of experience that life has thrown my way.

I taught music theory and composition at the UP College of Music for almost two decades. I still teach young music makers informally at music camps, boot camps and workshops. Young musicians inspire me no end.

PERSONAL: Damo guid nga salamat to my adoptive family in Capiz, the wonderful Ortizes, especially Langga Mark, Tita Cora and Tito Tony for always making me feel so welcome in their idyllic San Antonio Resort. Thanks a mil to Ninang Jen Caberte for a fun postbirthday getaway.

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TAGS: Celebrities, Dollywood, inspiration, Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, Music
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