The Local Outsider #27: a (surprisingly cool) descendants special featuring Jayda, Leila Alcasid and Claudia Barretto

We have an accidental tradition over here on the Local Outsider: our April installments have a special theme. (Here’s last month’s.) We also have another, less accidental, tradition: we’re late to things. So, the thing we should have done last month is now being done this month – in my defense, I genuinely thought we always did it in May, but then, the election special was weeks before election day, so… well… let’s just get on with it. This month we’re focusing on new talent that are children of other known talent. They’ve been everywhere lately – and we’ve written about some of them in a couple of columns – and while we’re usually wary of these acts because they tend to be there because they’re children of famous people, well, you can argue some of them here are exceptions. Also, pedigree, anyone?


Before I made the decision to include Jayda on this list, I saw her on Eat Bulaga! and was impressed. She’s got a strong presence, and her voice manages to be both strong without being overbearing. “Text” may not be the best avenue for that, though – the whole “cool, lit pop” thing drowns her a bit – but listen closely, and there’s something special there. Also, you can’t help but hear her mother in some of those runs. I haven’t gotten to the descendant part, yes? She’s the daughter of Dingdong Avanzado and Jessa Zaragoza, so the musical background is strong right there. This is just her first song, so fingers crossed for more tracks that will truly show that voice and presence off.


Leila Alcasid also follows that “cool, lit pop” trail, although it fits her better, because vocally she’s low key and cool, really cool. The daughter of Ogie Alcasid and former Miss Universe contestant Michelle van Eimeren is part of that contingent of local artists who are creating music that sound like it could come from the usual places, but not here in the Philippines – I’m pretty sure I heard this on the so-called not-jologs pop stations. (Also see Kiana Valenciano.) Now, I’ve been obsessed lately with the in-store playlist at H&M, and “Completely In Love” reminds me that our music can definitely fit in this cool, slightly left-of-center brand image of these fast retailers… so can we hear these songs on there? H&M’s doing this with Tom’s Story and the Ransom Collective – can we hear them there? Is that too much of an ask?


I never expected to feel old at the end of this column. My third act is Claudia Barretto, the daughter of Marjorie Barretto, and again, here’s a song that’s on that particular pop lane. It’s not a criticism; I just didn’t expect to stay in one lane for this either. Also, I actually like her new single “Finally Found It”: bouncy enough, but one that could fit into any time of the day. It’s interesting how this breed of Filipino pop is coming from people you’d not usually see as cool – James Reid, especially Palm Dreams-era James Reid being the most important proponent – and how it’s somewhat working. I mean, I don’t see the so-called cool people raving about everyone the way they did with James. Also, the idea that you can only sell this kind pop to a wider audience with the bait that is the country’s showbiz families. (Another example I didn’t get to squeeze in: Donny Pangilinan, son of Anthony Pangilinan and Maricel Laxa.) But I sound critical now – I’m thinking more of, may they break out of these shells in the future, and may those who do this sort of music not have to be connected to be able to have the same shot. [NB]


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