How has R&B, soul music evolved in the Philippines? Jaya, Jay-R weigh in

Alexa Villano
How has R&B, soul music evolved in the Philippines? Jaya, Jay-R weigh in
The two along with Jason Dy are set to hold a concert at the Newport Performing Arts Theater entitled 'SoulJa' on August 30

MANILA, Philippines – R&B music has grown tremendiously in the Philippine music scene – a fact that singers Jaya and Jay-R, they are grateful for, especially since pop is still the predominant genre in the country. 

In an interview with the media on Tuesday, July 31 for their upcoming concert SoulJa, happening on August 30, Jay-R and Jaya, who both grew in the US recalled that years back, R&B and soul were new to most Filipinos.

Jay-R remembers when the genre was fresh to some people’s ears and how he sported different hair then (curly hair, a trademark of some soul singers). “I’m really proud. Kasi (Because) I’ve in the industry for 15 years now and I’m not the first  but I was one of the few na that came in na kulot ang buhok (had curly hair).”

“So after 10 years, I’ve noticed yung OPM ngayon, yung mga batang singers lahat kulot na ang buhok... from pop to alternative, may kulot na talaga so nakakaproud and I can feel that I had a part of that, I contributed to that… nakakaproud yung mga bagong singers na they’re incorporating it [soul and R n B] into their singing style,” he said.

(I’ve noticed today’s OPM, the young singers, a lot of them have curly hair… from pop to alternative, some has curly hair. It makes me proud and I can feel that I had a part in that, I contributed to that…I’m so proud that singers are now incorporating R&B and soul into their singing style.)

SAMPLE. Jason, Jaya, and Jay-R sing a sample during the press conference for the concert.

Jaya said that growing up in the US, she wasn’t really aware of the different genres and just listened to different kinds of music. When she returned to the Philippines and started singing, people praised her because of her different sound.

“Definitely in the Philippines, the impact was a little visible, more visible than the US. Kasi s’yempre (Because the) music there is a banner of a dozen.

“So the way I see all these young ones singing it, talagang ang laki na ng impact niya (it has a big impact) and there’s no denying that R&B is a very intricate part of music sa Philippines. Hindi na siya nawala and hindi na siya mawawala (It didn’t disapper and it will not disappear). So I’m very proud that pagdating ko may ganun din akong naihatid sa genre na iyon ( when I came here, I was able to give something back to that genre),” she said.


This August, Jaya and Jay-R are teaming up with The Voice of the Philippines winner Jason Dy for the SoulJa concert at Resorts World Manila. Aside from their famous songs, the trio said they’ll surprise their audience with renditions from other singers.


Save your soul! Get your tickets now!

A post shared by Jason Dy (@jasondy) on

Marami kayong ieexpect. (You’ll expect a lot) We’re definitely going to sing our songs, mga OPM songs namin. But I think [like] ako, what I’m looking forward to is the production numbers, wherein we also get to dance,” Jaya said.

The “Queen of Soul” said people should expect a lot of banter in between their production numbers.

Jason said the audience will also get to hear songs that are out of their comfort zone.

They already have this expectation of us of anong mga songs na kakantahin namin. We’ll do our best to surprise the audience kasi may mga gagawin kaming versions na mga songs na first time namin gagawin or mga songs na first time namin kakantahin sa concert na iyon, ” he said.

(They already have this expectation of us of what songs we will sing. We’ll do our best to surprise the audince because we will be preparing songs that we’ll be singing for the first time or songs we’ll be singing in that concert for the first time.)

Jay-R hopes the concert will showcase soul music to the Filipino audience.

For tickets to the concert, you may log on to –  

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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.