A month ahead of International Women’s Day, Clara Benin is the latest Filipino singer-songwriter to land on the Spotify billboard at Times Square in New York. She is another Filipina part of the EQUAL Campaign that aims to amplify the work of outstanding women and gender-nonconforming musicians.
She shares that being part of the campaign is exciting and “hopes our music (OPM) reaches and inspires more people from all over the world.” As the current campaign’s cover artist, two of her songs, “blink” and “Araw’t Gabi” are also featured in the playlist. “blink” was produced by acclaimed electronic/indie artist The Ringmaster, and features multi-instrumentalist Gabba Santiago on drums. The track finds refuge in reliving Benin’s past without any hint of regret.
Having amassed more than 30 million streams on Spotify alone and just releasing “blink”, Benin has more music on the way. “I’ve been writing a lot the past two years and very excited to work on them this year for an upcoming album.” She is the first Filipino signed under Sony Music’s OFFMUTE— a Southeast Asian record label that’s entirely dedicated to giving artists a voice, an audience, and an opportunity for cross-collaboration within the region.
About Clara Benin
Clara Benin is the indie darling of the Philippines. One of the firsts under Sony’s new regional label OFFMUTE, her signature angelic voice and melodic acoustic guitar sound bring a kind of serenity to her music. She’s collaborated with Singaporean artists Charlie Lim for a remake of her hit single, “Wine” and Gentle Bones for the pop track, “A Day At A Time”.
The acoustic-folk artist has performed her music at festivals like Wanderland Arts and Music Festival in the Philippines, Music Matters in Singapore, and Zandari Festa in Korea. She sold out her first solo concert in 2016 for her album “Coming Home” and had a back-to-back concert with fellow artist Ben&Ben in 2018.
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Cover Photo Credit: Clara Benin
After 2 years since her last visit, Kiana V touched down in the Big Apple and announced her selection as Spotify EQUAL Philippines’s Artist of the Month! To celebrate the announcement, Kiana V was featured on Spotify’s NYC Times Square billboard. The audio industry is not an equitable space: only 1 in 5 artists are women, according to the 2020 Annenberg study so this is monumental. Kiana V will continue to take fans behind the scenes with her travels to see the billboard, perform at Harlem Nights, and across the country in the MYX original series documenting her musical journey, called “The Crossover.” The docuseries TV show will air globally on linear TV, MYX.GLOBAL digital and @myxglobal social platforms. You can watch previous episode clips here.
After 2 years since her last visit, Kiana V touched down in the Big Apple and announced her selection as Spotify EQUAL Philippines’s Artist of the Month. To celebrate the announcement, Kiana V was featured on Spotify’s NYC Times Square billboard. This is monumental as only 1 in 5 artists in the audio industry are women. Kiana V will continue to take fans behind the scenes with her travels to see her billboard, perform at Harlem Nights and across the country in the MYX original series documenting her musical journey, called “The Crossover.” The docuseries TV show will air globally on linear TV, MYX.GLOBAL digital and @myxglobal social platforms.
Kiana recently shared her 5-track EP Dazed. The daughter of the Philippines’ most celebrated musician, Gary Valenciano, music has always been a force in Kiana’s life. The Filipina singer/songwriter has already made a name for herself in the Philippines from the success of her collaboration with fellow Filipino artist Curtismith on “Does She Know,” and is poised to bring her R&B/Soul sound to the rest of the world.
2016 ushered in the Kiana we see now – a fully-formed, independent woman of color not afraid to use her voice – beginning with her debut single “Circles.” Her latest track “Safe Place,” was released via Tarsier Records and 88Rising. Grammy.com also named her as an artist pushing Filipino music to the forefront.
Now splitting her time between Los Angeles and Manila, Kiana still holds close to her roots. Her father continues to be a source of inspiration in her career, and collaborates with those who know her best. Her go-to photographer is childhood friend, DJ Magbanua who shot photos for her “Dazed” EP. Jesse Barrera, the co-producer of the EP, is a Filipino-American who’s worked with other Filipino musicians including Jeff Bernat, AJ Rafael, and Jeremy Passion. These are the people who know and understand Kiana best, and who have seamlessly been able to tell the “Dazed” story. “It’s a soft exploration of how self-love affects the love we are able to give to others,” Kiana says of the EP.
The EP’s title track “Dazed” is a contemplative number about being overwhelmed by your inner thoughts. Kiana’s feather light voice dances over a luxurious yet wispy synth soundscape that slowly builds over the track’s four minute run-time until it reaches a climax of crushing emotionality with Kiana proclaiming, “Set me free.”
“How Do I” opens with a cascade of Kiana’s honeyed oo’s and aah’s and the sound of rushing water that effortlessly pulls you in. “If I can’t love myself, how do I love you?” Kiana entreats on the wall of sound chorus. Kiana explains, “it focuses on the need to confront things within before being able to pour anything out.”
The EP’s focus track “Better” is a song about personal salvation and for Kiana, she morphs heartbreak into a newfound confidence with the self-assured lyrics “I could do better.” As Kiana reflects on the track, “It gives me a feeling of sweet, reckless abandon…it’s an awakening to newfound courage.”
On “Simple” Kiana distills love to its essence. Over blissed out synths and silky multi-tracked vocals, she croons “We don’t hear the outside pressure / Break it down to simple pleasures.” Here, Kiana’s understated vocal dexterity really shines.
The EP closes with “Only You” which is a love song open to interpretation. Kiana intentionally left the meaning open-ended because it could be about love for oneself or for a partner. It follows Kiana’s journey throughout the EP from self-doubt to clarity. “It can be about the moment everything falls into place,” she shares.
Kiana V is ready to take over and we’re along for the ride. Make sure to keep up with all things Kiana V and stay tuned on MYX Global to see how her journey unfolds in The Crossover series.