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April 10, 2014

Gloc-9’s Myx Music Awards bodes well for mainstream Pinoy music

Gloc-9 won four major awards in the Myx Music Awards 2014 (MMA2014), the most for any artist who was nominated.

But what is more important about this win, is not so much the fact that Gloc-9 won in four out of six categories that he was nominated in, nor that he won four times more than any other artist.

It is that Gloc-9 won it for a song like “Magda.”

The idea of Magdalena is not new. The legend that is Freddie Aguilar introduced us to “Magdalena” in the early 1980’s, a folk song about the plight of a girl who was misunderstood because of the work she was forced into doing. In the Aguilar song, Magdalena is seen as “sawimpalad,” living a wretched life, where her story is one of choicelessness.

Gloc-9’s “Magda” does not point a finger at this woman’s life. The songwriter tells this story with compassion and understanding. Spoken from the perspective of her childhood sweetheart Ernesto, the story is allowed its romance, as it is allowed its heartbreak and undoing. Because Ernesto speaks of Magda, we are given the chance to see Magda as a spit of a girl, as someone who left her childhood behind. In the present she is a woman who is trapped in the cage of her own doing.

The song does not judge Magda, as it does make her human. She is treated as solitary and independent, she is allowed her own individuality, her own voice.

This is Gloc-9 at his most creative, where his decision to use another character to speak about Magda allows for a distance, a non-judgmental stance about her character. It is this creativity that was awarded by the MMA this year. But more importantly what they were honoring was this rapper-songwriter-artist’s decision to tell a story we would rather not hear, of a woman we would rather be blind to.

And this is really the value of Gloc-9’s quadruple wins in this year’s MMAs. He won for the song “Magda” in the context of mainstream original Pilipino music that makes hits out of repetitive lovesongs and novelty. He won for “Magda” at a time when the originality and relevance of original Pilipino pop music is being questioned.

Each MYX Music Award is composed of 60% audience votes and 40% artist or peer votes. And on a year when Gloc-9 wins big for a song like “Magda,” we are being told how the audience and the members of the industry as well, are in fact ready for difficult stories and complex songs.

Winning those four MMAs for “Magda,” as such, is not just a measure of Gloc-9 as artist. It is a measure of what the audience of local music is ready for. One hopes original Pinoy mainstream music heeds this call for creativity and relevance.

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