IN THE SPOTLIGHT: These women are blazing a trail in P-pop
Original Pinoy Music, also known as OPM, takes pride in artists that write their own music, bands, and its hugot culture. But since then, P-pop emerged as an OPM sub-genre that is carving out its own niche in the domestic and international markets.
P-pop is noted for taking the best of K-pop, J-pop, and Western Pop, along with the country’s signature flair for capturing emotions and taking catchy lyrics and popular beats into account — which sets it apart from its counterparts. It is also used to describe the recent wave of idol groups and soloists, as well as dance pop-themed songs taking center stage, which can be seen in hit songs “Tala” and “Amakabogera.”
Arguably, one of the biggest cultural phenomena in the P-pop wave was done by the SexBomb Girls through the hit songs “Spageti Song” and “Bakit Papa” in the early 2000s. These were addictive tracks that set the country by storm, but it was also a fitting reminder that women are more than capable of paving their own paths in the entertainment business.
P-pop has significantly changed in the following years, as many female artists are opening more doors for the next generation of singers. The challenge is to not let the industry stop them from reaching their own dreams.
Here is a list of women whose impact in entertainment have grown far and wide, showcasing the best of what Pinoy Pop (or P-pop) has to offer, from their powerful vocals to relatable songs and concepts that show the many charms of an empowered Filipina.
Probably, the group that solidified P-pop’s foundation, SexBomb Girls was formed by former Vicor Dancer Joy Cancio who was tasked with creating a group of dancers for the noontime variety show “Eat Bulaga” (EB). Eventually, the all-girl group became more than just a byname for gyrating women in skimpy outfits decorating the stage of Eat Bulaga. It wouldn’t be long before they had a segment of their own in the show as more and more people notice their dance moves, and soon these backup dancers would have their own music album featuring their own hits, including “Spageti Song,” “Halukay Ube,” “Bakit Papa,” and “Di Ko Na Mapigilan,” and many others. So popular were they that their songs would often be a staple in every gathering, with children mimicking their dance moves, and punctuating it with the girls’ iconing “Get, get aww!”
The members also showed off their acting chops in the afternoon show “Daisy Siete,” as well as EB’s Lenten Specials.
Aside from Rochelle Pangilinan, some of their most popular members include Jopay Paguia-Zamora, Che-Che Genove-Shimabukuro, Aira Bermudez, Mia Pangyarihan, Izzy Trazona-Aragon, Sandy Tolentino, Che-Che Tolentino, Sunshine Garcia-Castro, Weng Ibarra, and Monique Icban-Diamante.
Dubbed as the Popstar Royalty, Sarah Geronimo is one of the most influential celebrities in the country. The award-winning singer, who’s known for her singing and dancing abilities, released a string of hit songs including “Dati Dati,” “Tala,” and “Forever’s Not Enough,” among many others, which sparked a craze in the country.
Geronimo also made a name for herself as an actress, where she is best known for her role as Laida Magtalas in the “A Very Special Love” film trilogy.
Maymay Entrata’s P-pop career might have started on an unconventional route — as the winner of “Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7” in 2017. The singer-actress released her debut album in the same year, and was certified Platinum by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI).
Apart from acting and modeling, Entrata’s singing career exploded after releasing the hit song “Amakabogera” in 2021, the title track of her album “MPowered.”
Formed under Viva, Pop Girls is described as an ode to American and British girl groups which is reflected on their addictive debut song “Crazy Crazy.”
The original lineup consisted of Nadine Lustre, Shy Carlos, Anja Aguilar, Lailah Bustria, Mariam Bustria, and Joannes Morales. Sadly, Lailah and Mariam left the group in 2010 which put them into hiatus for months.
The group eventually returned, but Anja, Shy, and Nadine left a year later. New members were soon added, but eventually disbanded in 2017 after their final single “Prinsesa.”
Made up of Aiah, Colet, Maloi, Gwen, Stacey, Mikha, Sheena, and Jhoanna, BINI is an eight-member group that embodies the “modern Filipina.” The eight-piece act was formed through ABS-CBN’s Star Hunt Academy after months of training, alongside their brother group BGYO.
With songs such as “Da Coconut Nut,” “Born To Win,” and “Lagi” under their belt, the group is known for showing the different sides of a Filipina woman. The group is also dubbed as the “Nation’s Girl Group,” and made performances in Canada and Dubai.
An international sister group of the J-pop act AKB48, MNL48 is noted for being the only unit that debuted with exactly 48 members. The idol group takes cues from the Japanese idol model such as the general election and graduation, while showing off the country’s singing prowess.
MNL48 is dubbed as the “P-pop Idol Pioneers,” and is one of the units that sparked the re-emergence of P-pop idol groups in the country.
Composed of sisters Almira, Irene, Mylene and Celina Cercado, the four-piece act made waves after finishing fifth in the 12th season of “The X Factor” But prior to the British singing competition, they also joined the Korean show “Superstar K” where they ended up on eighth place.
Almira also competed in local competitions “Star for a Night” and “Batang Kampeon” before eventually joining forces with her sisters
Known for their harmonies and belts, the group has since signed with ShowBT Philippines where they released their comeback single “Here We Go” in March 2022.
Charice, Angela, Alexa, Sophia, and Charlotte made their official debut as KAIA in December 2021, after rigorous training under ShowBT Philippines. The girl group was first introduced as a six-member act in November 2021, where they released their pre-debut single “Kaya” a month later.
As they prepared for their official debut, Joanna left the group in January 2022 following “internal matters.” They forged ahead and made their debut three months later with “Blah Blah” and have since been noted for delivering energetic performances wherever they went.
YARA might have made their official debut in March 2023, but their story goes way back to 2017. Gelou and Rocher were part of ShowBT Philippines trainee group who were originally helmed to become performers for company events. Christa and Kim joined later, and were included in the agency’s final batch of trainees.
ShowBT decided to create two idol groups, where the boy group eventually became P-pop supergroup SB19. YARA left the company on a mutual agreement, but remained on good terms. They were even invited to perform as an opening act for the male act’s shows.
After months of focusing on their own careers, Gelou, Rocher, Kim, and Christa reunited to compete at the talent shows Pinoy K-pop Star and POPinoy, where they eventually emerged as the first Girl Group Grand Winner. Compared to the traditional feminine route that is expected of female artists, the four-piece act embody a more powerful, hip-hop image which is shown in their debut single “ADDA.”
“As a leader, pare-parehas kasing reserved ang mga members. Hindi nagsasalita, sobrang shy. Pero while preparing, ang dami kong na-discover ng kaya nilang gawin. Konting push lang. Si Kim, kaya palang gumawa ng songs. Si Christa, mukhang sweet girl pero kapag nag-rap na siya, she’s a different person,” leader Gelou told INQUIRER.net during their debut showcase, as she also noted Rocher’s rap abilities.
Composed of AJ, Alfea, Bianca, Jaz, the four-piece act made their debut in the music scene using the moniker “Ready, aim, shoot” — which is a lyric from their first single “Bang!”
The idol group, which is managed by Cornerstone Entertainment, is highly regarded for their live performance abilities despite having powerful belts and dance moves in their music. EDV
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