Kean Cipriano launches O/C Records

Amanda T. Lago
Kean Cipriano launches O/C Records
The Callalily frontman goes behind the scenes with his new record label, a collaboration with Viva Entertainment's Vic del Rosario

MANILA, Phiippines – Callalily frontman Kean Cipriano just launched his new record label, along with Viva Entertainment’s Vic del Rosario and actress Chynna Ortaleza.

The new venture is a family affair for Kean and Chynna, who have been married for 3 years and have a daughter, Stellar. Kean is the label’s chairman and chief executive officer, while Chynna is the vice president for production and talent development.

At the label’s launch on Tuesday, August 14, Chynna shared that the idea for starting a record label started when Callalily started producing their own music independently. Eventually, they caught the interest of Viva, and shared their vision with them.

“We want a label that’s artist-friendly. Artists should have full creative control, because we’re artists as well and we know how that feels. So when you’re asked to do things that you’re not necessarily into, especially when it comes to music, ‘di ba parang sayang naman (isn’t it such a shame)?” Chynna told reporters at the launch.

“[Viva] completely understood our vision and after a few meetings, we finally decided to partner up with them,” she said.

O/C Records – whose name stands for Chynna and Kean’s surnames, among other things – has been a labor of love for the couple, who have both been entrenched in the entertainment industry, with careers spanning more than a decade.

Kean shared that he won’t necessarily be compromising his own career in favor of the label. For him, doing many things is just part of his personality.

“Ako naman kasi ‘yung tipo ng artist na napipili ko kung ano ‘yung gusto ko gawin… Like what happened to me and Unique (Salonga, one of their artists), two months kami nagre-record ng album so do’n ‘yung focus ko, pero nagte-taping pa rin ako, naggi-gig ako. That’s me as a person. Lagi ko gusto maraming ginagawa. It’s sometimes disturbing, pero ganito talaga ako,” he said.

(I’m the type of artist who chooses what he wants to do…. Like what happened to me and Unique, we were recording his album for two months so my focus was there, but I would still go to taping and gigs. That’s me as a person. I always want to be doing a lot of things. It’s sometimes disturbing, but this is who I am.)

Meanwhile, Chynna compared their venture to having another child.

“When we got into this recording label thing, after like 3 months in, I was like, oh my God, I just had another kid. Gano’n ‘yung feeling niya (That’s how it felt) for me. It’s another baby, it’s just not human. It’s the same effort,” Chynna said.

“Seeing [the artists] perform tonight, kanina pa ako nagpipigil diyan ng iyak (I’ve been holding back my tears)…. I’m like, dude, it’s been a journey,” she added.

Six acts are currently signed to O/C: Earl Generao, Rice Lucido, Frizzle Anne, Bita and the Botflies, Unique, and Kean himself.

The label’s roster spans various genres including acoustic funk, pop, rock, and folk. Chynna said the diversity of their artists was a conscious decision.

“Ayaw namin ikulong ‘yung label sa (We don’t want to box the label in and say) ‘Okay, we have to make independent music that sounds the same, we stay here,'” she said. “No. That’s not gonna help the Filipino music industry also.”

Some acts, such as Bita and the Botflies, were discovered by Kean and Chynna online. Others, like Earl and Unique (whose former band IV of Spades was managed by Kean), approached them and asked for help in managing their careers.

According to Chynna, they will be adding more artists to their lineup in the future.

“Of course, we’re very lucky now because there are a lot of people who genuinely go up to O/C and submit their demos. It’s really a matter of feel, we try to talk to these artists and see what they have to offer,” she said.

They are set to launch their first major event, Unique’s solo concert, “The Grandma Tour,” on September 29. – Rappler.com

Amanda T. Lago

After avoiding long-term jobs in favor of travelling the world, Amanda finally learned to commit when she joined Rappler in July 2017. As a lifestyle and entertainment reporter, she writes about music, culture, and the occasional showbiz drama. She also hosts Rappler Live Jam, where she sometimes tries her best not to fan-girl on camera.