For those who’ve missed the internationally acclaimed documentary film HARANA: the search for the lost art of serenade by Benito Bautista in theaters, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is presenting the film along with ten other films as part of the “Filipino American Lives” series hosted by Ms. Lea Salonga. This will air on PBS nationwide in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month on May 2015. Please check your local listings for schedules.
Ron Henley’s latest music video for his new single entitled Venus reached a little more than 200,000 views on YouTube after only two months since its launch. Venus is one of the soundtracks included in Benito Bautista’s cross-cultural romcom called Mumbai Love that was released early this year in Manila. Two of the other songs in the soundtrack include Miguel Escueta and Solenn Heussaff’s Until the Sunrise and Turbo Goth’s Velvet Escapade. Both of the songs’ music videos were also directed by Benito under the Capestone Pictures umbrella in collaboration with Wanderlustproject Films.
We’ve always been a fan of OPM (Original Pilipino Music), and so we were elated and humbled to have been given a chance to work with one of the most talented and well-known musicians in the rap genre in the Philippines today, for his Venus music video. We sent Ron Henley a list of questions via email (we wanted to interview him in person but our distance and schedules would not allow it) to tell us a bit about his background, what inspired him to write Venus, and what was it like working with Benito for the first time.
What inspired you to write the song Venus?
Yung pakiramdam ng umiibig at ang hiwagang nadudulot nito sa tao, kung san nawawala ang numero at kulay, lahat nagiging isa, nagiging perpekto.
What is the song Venus about?
Maaari syang maging babae o pangarap na akala mo imposible pero kaya namang abutin kung gugustuhin.
When did you write the song? What album is it part of? When is the album released?
Kasama sya sa Wala Pang Titulo EP na nakalabas parin ngayon under MCA Music. Wala naman, nasulat ko lang ‘to dahil gusto ko lang makagawa ng tulay baka sakaling makarating sa pinatutungkulan.
Why did you decide to work with director Benito Bautista for Venus’s music video?
Isang karangalan para sa akin na makatrabaho si Direk. Gusto ko kung pano nya tingnan ang mga bagay-bagay sa iba’t-ibang anggulo. Tingin ko sya yung sagot ng tadhana sakin sa mga panahong naghahanap din ako ng pwedeng gumawa ng music video. Noong nabanggit nya sa akin yung tungkol sa Mumbai Love, sumakto yung kwento at mensahe.
Trinato ko lang na parang nag-aaral ako sa isang film school. Iba din kasi ang paggawa ng pelikula, yan yung area na hindi ko pa naaapakan at nabibigyan ako ng ideya ngayon na maaari kong baunin sa aking paglalakbay at magamit sa hinaharap. Kaya salamat sa kanila dahil sila yung tumayong guro ko habang ginagawa namin yung music video.
What are your fans’ reactions so far about the video and the song Venus?
Natuwa sila kasi matagal na nilang inaabangan. Sulit ang paghihintay.
How is the Venus music video different from the other music videos you’ve done in the past?
Kakaiba ‘to kasi ginawa rin sya bilang soundtrack ng isang pelikula kaya ibang level din yung mga camera at equipment na ginamit para sa music video na ‘to. Ibang klaseng experience na tatatak sa buhay ko.
Please tell us briefly about how you started your career as a songwriter and as a rap artist.
Nag-umpisa noong nahilig akong makinig sa mga nagkakantahan kong mga pinsan sa multiplex hanggang sa na-curious ako kung pano gumawa ng magandang melody hanggang sa noong 14 ako, nahilig ako sa rap sa pakikinig kay Eminem at sakto namang pinakilala ako ng kababata ko kay Loonie na sakto ring maka-Eminem, hanggang sa kami-kami na yung magkakasamang tumambay sa bahay tuwing dismissal. Sulat kami tapos record agad. Tingin ko dun nahasa yung pagsusulat ko, inaral at sinubukan ko lang sya ng maraming beses at isang malaking factor din na nakatulong sakin ay ang mga taong nakapalibot sakin, lalo na noong nakasali kami sa isang contest sa Eat Bulaga at nakilala si FrancisM na tumulong samin para mahasa ang aming pagharap sa tao. Learning experience sakin ang lahat magpahanggang sa kasalukuyan.
What and/or who inspires you as an artist?
Yung mga taong nakapaligid sakin, mga bagay-bagay sa mundo na kumokonekta sa aking pang-araw-araw na gawain, mga hiwagang di maipaliwanag ng siyensya at mga sitwasyon sa buhay na sumusubok sa pagkatao para umakyat ng isang baitang ng hagdan.
What are your future plans or goals in your music career.
Di ko muna iniisip ang mga bagay na yan, sa ngayon patuloy ko paring pinag-aaralan kung pano gawin ng tama yung mga kailangan kong gawin. Alam ko namang ang mga bagay na ginagawa ko ngayon ay sasalamin lamang sa kung anong mangyayari sa hinaharap.
Which artist would you love to collaborate with in the near future and why?
Basta kung sinong willing, bukas lang ang pintuan. 🙂
Please feel free to add any other info you’d like to share with us:
Wala Pang Titulo EP available pa rin sa inyong suking record bars nationwide under MCA Music Philippines. Suportahan natin ang OPM at lahat ng sining sa mundo. 🙂
We are happy to announce that Stanford University’s Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) has recently published a Teacher’s Guide for The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within (dir. Benito Bautista). The guide was written by Will Gutierrez and Victoria Yee.
The Gift of Barong is a feature documentary film about two generations of Filipino Americans – Dan and Jon – who both grew up resenting their ethnicity and disassociating themselves from their Filipino background. However, both Dan and Jon experienced personal awakenings that led them to start thinking about who they are and wonder about their family’s true heritage. Together, the two embarked on a journey to the Philippines to learn about their culture and history and to somehow reconnect with their country of descent. They did this by way of surfing various Philippine surf breaks in different regions of the country, being avid surfers that they are.
“The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within is more than a story about finding one’s roots and reconciling identities. The film also encourages viewers to consider the legacies of previous and present immigrants as well as the push-and-pull factors behind immigration. As the world becomes increasingly globalized, it is now more important than ever to learn about diverse cultures and explore different perspectives on ethnicity, identity, and migration.”*
*Excerpt from A Teacher’s Guide for The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within by Will Gutierrez and Victoria Yee