music labels

Island Records launches in the Philippines

Amanda T. Lago

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Island Records launches in the Philippines

Photo courtesy of Universal Music Philippines

The label's initial roster includes juan karlos, Over October, Lala Vinzon, Zack Tabudlo, Fern., and One Click Straight

Island Records – the iconic label that carried artists such as U2, Bob Marley, and Elton John – launched in the Philippines on July 23.

The Philippine label is Island Records’ first outpost in Asia. The label was founded in Jamaica in 1959 by Chris Blackwell, and has since set up international divisions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden. It is owned by the Universal Music Group.

According to Universal Music Philippines managing director Enzo Valdez, they decided to set the label up in the Philippines after hearing a new sound emerging from local artists.

“Like 5 years ago, the indie scene became really big, and it wasn’t necessarily an indie crowd, but the sound of it…these are artists who were daring to be different, who were daring to create a different sound from the usual rock band that we have and we enjoyed in the 90s and 2000s,” Valdez said at an online press conference on July 21.

“So that’s the main reason why we put up Island Philippines, to have a home…these are the artists who say, okay, I’m gonna create a new trend, I’m gonna do what I want to do, and with the support of MCA behind them, with Island Records, I’m very excited to push them to greater heights, to create those trends,” he said.

The label’s initial roster includes 6 artists: rock band juan karlos, alternative pop-rock group Over October, The Voice Teens Philippines runner-up Lala Vinzon, singer-songwriter Zack Tabudlo, singer and producer Fern., and synth-pop/indie rock collective One Click Straight.

On being part of the labels’ roster, juan karlos frontman JK Labajo said “Maganda sa ganito, mayroong mga taong naniniwala sa potential na mayroon ka (what’s good about this is that someone believes in the potential that you have).”

“It’s basically the whole idea that’s really fascinating, it really feels good to know that there are people that are willing to support you with whatever crazy shit you come up with so yeah, it feels good, I’m happy so far,” he added.

At the same time, Over Octobr frontman Josh Buizon added: “We’re looking forward to releasing more content with the reach that Island has, and we’re also looking forward to collaborating with some of the artists on the roster.”

Island Records Philippines’ first release will be “Bless Ü,” a new single from juan karlos, set to drop on July 24. It will be followed by Zack Tabudlo’s song “Nangangamba,” which will be released on July 31. –

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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.