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The "Queen of Mapanakit Hits" : The Composer of Ikaw Ba O Ako?

By Likha Liwanag | Posted on May 27, 2024 | Manila, Philippines | EDITORIALPH

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Arts and Entertainment | Guest: Ms. Feb Cabahug | Topic: Melodies and Meaning

Hello and welcome to Editorialph! 

Today, we are thrilled to have Ms. Feb Cabahug with us, a flourishing artist and creator making waves in the music industry. With exceptional talent and a passion for music, Ms. Feb Cabahug has crafted numerous memorable compositions as an OPM songwriter, composer, and singer. Some of her notable creations include "Ikaw ba o Ako," "Iyong Iyo," and "Kulang." Her music is celebrated for its soulful and innovative melodies and heartfelt lyrics, resonating deeply with audiences and listeners across the country. Join us as we explore her musical journey and uncover the inspiration behind her captivating compositions. 

Editorialph presents: Ms. Feb Cabahug on Melodies and Meaning.

Welcome, Ms. Feb Cabahug! 

Editorialph: Ikaw Ba O Ako? has resonated deeply with many listeners. Can you share the story behind the song and what inspired you to write it? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: Thanks for having me, EditorialPH! "Ikaw Ba O Ako?" was inspired by my friend's sad story. One day she messaged me on messnger asking if I can write her a song about it, and I said yes. 

Editorialph: How did your friend's relationship struggles influence the lyrics and emotions conveyed in the song? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I just read our chat over and over and tried to picture myself feeling the pain of betrayal. It took me a year to actually finish the song because I didn't go through that kind of heartbreak (I already have the lyrics and melody for the chorus but not the verses). One day, while I was in the shower I suddenly hummed a tune, and so I hurriedly stepped out from the bathroom, got a pen and paper and started writing like crazy! Then I sang it to Bunny Gan, who also helped with the structure and vocal arrangement of the song. 

Editorialph: What was the collaborative process like with Bunny Gan on this project? How did you two divide the creative tasks? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: We didn't really divide anything. Bunny gave suggestions on how the flow of the story should go while I did the melody and wrote the lyrics. I recorded the song and we listened to it, then took notes on which parts(melody and lyric wise) I should revise. 

Editorialph: The arrangement of "Ikaw Ba O Ako? was a team effort. Can you tell us more about how you, Nina Gan, and Sam Valdecantos worked together on this? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I met Direk Sam online through a fb group for composers and sent him a message asking if we can work together.Luckily, he said yes. Sam Valdecantos (music director, arranger and keyboardist of Kaye and the Boxers) did the music arrangement of the song. After finishing the lyrics and melody, I sent it over to him online and then he sent the mp3 of the music arrangement back to me via gdrive for checking. Almost everything has to be done online since Bunny and I are in Cebu while Sam and Donna are in Bulacan. 

Editorialph: How did Donna Gift Ricafrente come to be the vocalist for this song, and what was it like working with her? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: It was Direk Sam who chose Donna. When he sent me a youtube video of her singing “Sana’y Maulit Muli” on TNT, I was swept away and knew that the song was meant to find her. Donna is every songwriters' dream come true. She listens to you, is a great singer and absorbs information like a sponge. I love how she's able to execute the emotions needed for the song. 

Editorialph: As an independent artist, what are some of the challenges you've faced in producing and promoting your music? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: Of course,money and connections are two things that you need in order to get recognized. Sad to say, you really can't go far unless you have a sponsor who is willing to provide the financial help you need, and then there's also the "palakasan ng koneksyon"culture. I'm very lucky that I have a fulltime job as a Client Success Manager and friends in the indie music scene who are always there to promote what I can bring to the table. I wish there will be more support for independent artists. 

Editorialph: Your music is known for its touching and emotional lyrics. How do you approach songwriting to ensure it connects with listeners on such a deep level? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I actually don't have a concrete answer for that to be honest. I just write what I feel and if a story makes me sad, then the song is sad. If it's a happy song, then there's a shift in emotions. 

Editorialph: Can you describe your musical style and how it has evolved over the years? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I think I'm more into pop songs and ballads right now. Although when I was younger, like in my 20s, my style veered towards pop rock and alternative rock since during that time,those are the "in" things in music. As I've gotten older,I noticed that my 

music sort of shifted towards pop,slow randb and ballads. I guess it's because we hear more of this on the radio and digital platforms. 

Editorialph: Who are your biggest musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound and approach to music? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I love Trina Belamide and Odette Quesada because their songs tell a story and they write beautiful lyrics. I also love Babyface, Mariah Carey, Thyro Alfaro and many more. I guess they're the reason why my songs are emotionally triggered, since these singer-songwriters are well known for their sentimental compositions. 

Editorialph: What do you hope listeners take away from "Ikaw Ba O Ako? when they hear it for the first time? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I hope it makes them cry... Just kidding. I'm hoping that they'd get hooked on the melody and the music arrangement. I hope that they will remember it not because they can relate to it, but because it 's a beautiful song, one for the books. 

Editorialph: The OPM (Original Pilipino Music) scene is diverse and vibrant. How do you see your music fitting into this landscape? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: Well, it may be diverse and vibrant...But Filipinos are very sentimental, and we love a good heart wrenching song. I think I have a place in this industry if given a chance, 

Editorialph: Can you walk us through a typical day in your life when you're in the middle of writing and recording a new song? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I'm not methodical when it comes to songwriting.I don't know if I've mentioned it from my previous interviews but I mostly write at the spur of the moment. The only time I have a routine is when I need to beat my deadline, lol. 

Editorialph: What role does personal experience play in your songwriting? Are there any particular moments from your life that have significantly influenced your music? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: Your life experiences is one of the things where you can get your inspiration to write a great song, because you're telling your story and so it's easy for you to come up with lyrics and a melody. Without you going through the heartaches and successes in life, I'm not sure that you'd come up with a great song. Look at Taylor Swift and her ex boyfriends, all her songs about them were a hit. 

Editorialph: How important is it for you to maintain authenticity in your music, and what steps do you take to ensure your work remains true to your vision? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I'd like to think that as a songwriter, you identify with your songs. If you'll only force yourself to a certain style that you are not familiar with, then of course everything is "half-baked". It's so sad to hear stories of artists who are forced to switch to a different style just because a certain genre is what everyone wants. You lose your own uniqueness,and you become a robot. When you keep it real, you attract more ideas and you're more creative and inspired. 

Editorialph: What has been the most rewarding moment in your musical career so far? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: People falling in love with my songs, telling me that I should pursue songwriting as a full time career because I am gifted, that I can go places... And also the online radio interviews, featured articles. I can't thank these folks enough for giving me a 

chance to be somehow a staple in their music cravings. I'm hoping more singers (and their managers) will trust me as a songwriter. 

Editorialph: What advice would you give to aspiring independent artists who are just starting out in the music industry? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: No matter how tough it gets, NEVER GIVE UP. You will always have a place because you wanted something to happen. If your plan doesn't lead you anywhere, don't be afraid to go back to the drawing board and take advice from the experts. 

Editorialph: Looking ahead, what are your future plans and goals for your music career? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you can share with us? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: To be known as the "Queen of Mapanakit Hits". I hope to be able to make it mainstream and write more songs. I plan to add more to my portfolio and work with the best singers that I can encounter in the future. Upcoming projects... I will be in Manila this September to join Direk Sam and record new songs: "Iyong-iyo" to be sung by Alyn Magadia-Dela Cruz and "Kulang" which will be interpreted by Anton Diva. I'm also working on a song for an upcoming singer, Debbie Lopez. 

Editorialph: For those who might not be familiar with you, who is Feb Cabahug aside from being a songwriter/composer/creator/singer? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I also work fulltime virtually, as a Client Success Manager for a real estate company in America.Feb Cabahug is also someone who is a fan of frisbee, billiards and swimming. When she is not busy with work but has little time to do any sports, she's either watching documentaries and anime, or reading a book. 

Editorialph: Where can fans see you perform live, and how can they stay updated on your latest music and events? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: I don't actually do shows, but feel free to reach out to me if you need a songwriter. You can catch me on Facebook: @Feb Cabahug , youtube: The SongWriter.I'm not on Tiktok at the moment and we're still working on my Instagram for my music. 

Editorialph: Finally, what message would you like to leave with your fans, listeners, readers, viewers, especially to producers, talent agencies, music labels ? 

Ms.Feb Cabahug: To the fans,listeners and readers thank you for believing in me and our team. We will see to it that I will be writing more"hugot" songs for you,I really appreciate all the love. Please always support OPM,because it's evolving and turning into something that 

we can showcase globally. To producers,talent agencies and music labels please step out of your comfort zones and try to dip your toes in the indie scene. I promise you, it's a treasure trove of talented singers,composers and songwriters. 

Editorialph: Thank you very much Ms. Feb Cabahug. We will treasure your music and creation. Thank you. 

As we wrap up our interview, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you for generously sharing your talent and insights with us. Your music has undoubtedly resonated with countless listeners, and it has been a privilege to explore the stories behind your captivating compositions. On behalf of EDITORIALPH and our viewers, readers, and listeners, we express our gratitude for your time and expertise. We eagerly anticipate witnessing the continued impact of your work in the music industry. Thank you once again, Ms. Feb Cabahug, the "Queen of Mapanakit Hits". We look forward to celebrating your future successes. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's watch this wonderful music from Feb Cabahug and Donna Gift Ricafrente.

You can also check it out on Spotify:

Let's continue to support OPM by following and embracing Feb's music with love.

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