Is there a newly minted band in recent memory that has achieved the commercial success of Ben&Ben? In just a short period of time, the folk-pop ensemble has managed to headline their own sold-out show at Teatrino Hall in Greenhills, earned millions of streaming points for their songs on Spotify, and clinched endorsement deals from top brands.
Their success story is every A&R’s (artist and repertoire) dream: a competent artist whose management knows their way around industry trends and breakthrough marketing strategies, but deep down, they’re just a bunch of talented hopefuls who love to perform together and make music.
“It's a mix of both making good calls, and being blessed with the right circumstances, honestly,” Ben&Ben’s Paolo Guico admits. “Sometimes, we can't even begin to rationalize or explain why certain gigs or opportunities come across. We're thankful that our listeners embrace us for who we are.”
Currently signed to Sindikato Management, the same team behind Sud’s career-defining success, the newly formed band has enjoyed a significant boost in terms of their social media following as well as a triumphant stint abroad, sharing the limelight with Curtismith, Reese Lansangan, as well as other regional acts at last year’s Music Matters in Singapore.
But one of their biggest breaks last year is when they received an offer to share a co-headlining stint with the country’s most prominent folk icon, Cynthia Alexander for a concert today, at the Music Museum. It was a chance of a lifetime to work with one of the music greats, a platform to challenge themselves as both a performer and a musician. “We're very excited and nervous at the same time,” Paolo, one-half of the Guico Brothers told FHM.com.ph. “Her music has a deep and lasting influence in the way we think musically, and so we're here to give her our all-out support as she launches her new album. Aside from her songwriting, her skill and technicality in playing is of top-caliber and so we're really looking forward to learning many new things from the whole experience.”
Cynthia Alexander’s influence on the band is very much palpable on the arrangements of “Ride Home” and “Kathang Isip,” from the intricate blend of the organic and the ethereal to the subtle world music vibe that is deftly incorporated in the band’s musicality. As Paolo candidly shared with us, “we put in a lot of our individual influences into the creation of our material. For instance, Migs and I put a lot of world music touches to the arrangements. Lyrically, we prefer saying more with less. Our songs dwell on self-reflection and uncommon perspectives on common themes.”
For the upcoming concert with Cynthia Alexander, Ben&Ben will not only be sharing the stage with her, but are also slated to do a special collaboration as a transition to her set. They’re also premiering new songs in the set list. “We've prepared very special arrangements for our current songs. So please, watch out for it.”
Things are looking brighter for Ben&Ben after the concert, which as of press time, is officially sold-out. The band will have their debut performance at the Wanderland Music and Arts Festival alongside alt-R&B sensation Daniel Caesar and US-based indie-rock act LAUV this summer. They’re also set to perform in different campus tours and music festivals all over the country, a proof that they’re here to collect more milestones in the coming months.
Also, music fans won’t’ have to wait that long for new music as the nine-piece ensemble are currently eyeing for a late 2018/early 2019 full-length album release. “We're tight-lipped about most of the details for now, but what we can share is that we're planning to release one either late next year or early 2019. We'll be blending more of our world/ethnic influence on this one, to try and create something that hasn't been heard before. We're pumped for everything that's about to happen.”
Photograher Dairy Darilag Stylist Debra Bernales Special Thanks To Resorts World Manila and Ria Red of Sindikato Productions Venue Lumina: Walkway of Lights, Resorts World Manila