Blake – The OPM ALbum [via Yahoo! OMG! Philippines]
Torch bearers of Original Plipino Music (OPM) rejoice! Renowned British vocal trio Blake (made up of Ollie Baines, Stephen Bowman and Humphrey Berney) has released a mini album made up of Filipino-penned classics.
“Blake: The OPM Album” contains six familiar songs led by the group’s well-raved version of Hotdog’s “Manila” which Blake has been performing live for quite a while. The group even performed with Filipina singers Rachel Ann Go and Joanna Ampil.
The classical-pop crossover sensation expressed their admiration for OPM and the Filipinos.
“We genuinely love singing these beautiful songs which we recorded a few months ago,” said tenor Humphrey, who describes the Manila Sound era’s definitive tune as “a cool song to record because it is full of life and energy.”
Viva Records is behind the salute-to-OPM project, arranging for Blake to record its vocals in London while the rest of the sessions were done in Manila. Record producers who handled the project surprisingly included Concert Queen Pops Fernandez whom they dubbed as “our top lady in the Philippines.”
They got to befriend Pops through magazine editor Anton San Diego, their official Filipino handler. They intend to record a song with Pops, considering that their OPM album serves as “just a taster.”
Included in “The OPM Album” are two other Tagalog songs, “Sa Isip Ko” and “Kailangan Kita.” Those with English lyrics are “You Are My Song,” “Don’t Know What to Say (Don’t Know What To Do),” and “Say That You Love Me.”
The group noted that Tagalog is “quite phonetic when read on the page” and therefore easier for their “emotions to come through in the performance.”
Interestingly, the group singled out its take on “Say That You Love Me,” the Martin Nievera-original penned by Louie Ocampo, as the one it enjoyed most.
Humphrey explained, “We get to let go vocally with that song which should translate very well in a UK environment. It is immediately emotionally engaging which is a sign of a well-written song.”
Blake’s previous albums have sold over a million and a half copies, while its live gigs put them among some of the most revered performers today. Named after British poet William Blake, whom they regard as “unusual and more interesting than other English writers,” the group has sung at Wembley Stadium with 90,000 people in attendance performed before the British royal family.
Asked to pinpoint a particular ingredient of its success, Blake’s other tenor Ollie Baines said, “Part of what makes us tick is that we are three different characters. We each concentrate in particular areas so we can be more effective as a group. We sing different sets of music and since there’s no front man in the band, we always find the best man for a specific job.”