Music Hero was a Filipino pop band composed of young and talented musicians who are all products of Eat Bulaga!'s music competition of the same name.

The ten-piece group was dubbed by the noontime show as an “elite revolutionary band” because of the variety of musical instruments each member plays.[1] Its members were Manly Ocampo (vocals), Rangel Fernandez (vocals), Fender Dimalanta (electric guitar), Joaquin Rodrigo (drums), RD Benavides (keyboard), Brian Feliciano (saxophone), Jay-R Corre (bass guitar), Radlee Laquian (acoustic guitar), Dominique Casacop (violin), and Jim Tan (keyboard).

During its early years, Music Hero performed regularly on Eat Bulaga! during production numbers and music-themed segments. The band also covered popular songs on their social media accounts, such as its anime medley that went viral online and accumulated millions of views on Facebook and YouTube.

Music Hero eventually created their own music, releasing their debut single in June 2018 titled "Walang Papalit". The song immediately topped Spotify Philippines’ Viral playlist and also earned spots on the music-streaming site’s local Top 200 Pop and All Genre tracts. The song also ranked second by the end of June in World Music Awards’ Top 10 Digital Tracks in the country.

Its most popular song, "KLWKN", was released in February 2019 and has since become a classic OPM hit. Two versions of the song were release; one was sung by Rangel Fernandez and the other by Manly Ocampo.

After their initial success, Music Hero released additional singles, "Fix My Heart" (2018) and "LDR" (2019).

The group disbanded in June 2020.

 History

August 2016–May 2017: Competition and band formation

Seven grand finalists that made up the original Music Hero band

Music Hero is a music competition on Eat Bulaga! that gave the spotlight to instrumentalists that began in August 2016. The first edition featured musicians ages 19 years old and below who are skilled at playing any musical instruments.

Throughout its run, the contestants went through a series of elimination rounds before being narrowed down into twenty-one musicians from eight different instrument categories: keyboard, violin, bass guitar, woodwind, acoustic guitar, drums, saxophone, and electric guitar. Grand finals for each categories were then held in order to further narrow them down into eight finalists for the show's championship round. The eight championship competitors were Jim Tan (keyboards), Dominique Casacop (violin), Zild Benitez (bass guitar), Brian Feliciano (woodwind), Radlee Laquian (acoustic guitar), Joaquin Rodrigo (drums), Josh Espinosa (saxophone), and Blaster Silonga (electric guitar).

In March 2017, seventeen-year-old electric guitarist Blaster Silonga of Marikina City was proclaimed as The Ultimate Music Hero of the competition, receiving ₱500,000 in cash prize.[2]

After the competition, seven of the eight grand finalists became regular performers of the noontime show and became known as the Music Hero band. At that time, the band consisted of Zild Benitez, Dominique Casacop, Brian Feliciano, Joaquin Rodrigo, Blaster Silonga, Radlee Laquian, and Jim Tan.[3] However, the band's growth was limited because of the lack of a lead vocalist.

June 2017–May 2018: Search for a frontman, departure of Zild and Blaster

Music Hero instrumentalists

In order to find a lead vocalist for its newly-formed band, Eat Bulaga! introduced the second edition of its music competition titled Music Hero: The Vocal Battle. The segment premiered in June 2017. More than forty contestants competed against each other through the various elimination rounds of the contest in hopes of becoming the frontman of the band.[4]

In September 2017, bass guitarist Zild Benitez and Ultimate Music Hero and electric guitarist Blaster Silonga left the Music Hero band in the middle of the search for the band's lead vocalist to continue pursuing a separate career with their already existing band called IV of Spades. Both Zild and Blaster have been members of IV of Spades since 2014. They joined the Music Hero competition during a brief hiatus of their band. They were replaced by fellow Music Hero contestants Fender Dimalanta (electric guitar) and Jay-R Corre (bass).

Rangel Fernandez and Manly Ocampo

After participating in a rigorous nine-month-long vocal battle, Manly Ocampo, the 19-year-old "Pop-Ballad Stud" of Calamba, Laguna, was proclaimed as the ultimate champion of the competition in February 2018. He took home ₱500,000 as a cash prize and became the frontman of Eat Bulaga!'s homegrown pop band. Grand finalist Rangel Fernandez, the "Angelic Songstress" of Quezon City joined the band afterwards as the second lead vocalist.

Afterwards, the band became a mainstay group on Eat Bulaga!, performing regularly every Saturday and on most weekdays. The group also became notable for videos of song covers and medleys, which have garnered thousands of views on social media. One of the band's notable covers is its 1990s anime soundtrack medley that went viral online, earning millions of views on Facebook and YouTube.

June 2018–November 2019: Debut single and continued success

In June 2018, Eat Bulaga! released the debut single of Music Hero titled "Walang Papalit" on the show's official YouTube channel. The band had full creative control of the song, especially with the arrangement and style. The band took about a month to record the song. Despite their different backgrounds and instruments, the members worked together to give it a different flavor and take advantage of the full band.

Music Hero's onboard Wish 107.5 bus

The debut single immediately topped Spotify Philippines’ Viral playlist and also earned spots on the music-streaming site’s local Top 200 Pop and All Genre tracts. The song also ranked second by the end of June in World Music Awards’ Top 10 Digital Tracks in the country.

After its successful debut single, Music Hero released its second single in August 2018 titled "Fix My Heart". Unlike the soft rock vibe of the debut single, "Fix My Heart" had a more upbeat teen pop rock style with a catchy and dance-able tune. In February 2019, Music Hero released its third single "KLWKN" (pronounced Kalawakan, transl. "vastness of space"). The hit song was described as as gentle and heart-fluttering acoustic tune that uses cosmic, metaphoric images to portray how it feels like to be in the company of someone you dearly love. The chart-topping single even earned the band the chance to perform it live on the Wish 107.5 Bus. Their fourth single was released in August 2019 titled "LDR (Laging Di Ramdam)", and eventually performed live on the Wish Bus.

December 2019–August 2020: Disbandment

By the end of 2019, Jay-R Corre, Radlee Laquian, Jim Tan, and Dominique Casacop left the group.

In June 2020, the official Facebook page of the band changed the description of its About section, leaving only the single word "disbanded". Its Facebook profile picture was also replaced with a black square image on 2 June 2020, possibly to participate in the global movement known as Blackout Tuesday to protest against the murder of George Floyd and police brutality. However, the band's Facebook profile picture remained unchanged even after the one-day event, which further indicates their disbandment.

Despite the disbandment, Manly Ocampo and Fender Dimalanta were credited as Music Hero after performing "KLWKN" and "Walang Papalit" in the opening production of Eat Bulaga! on 25 July 2020.

The group posted the words "Signing off" before deactivating its Facebook account in August 2020.

January 2021: Reunion at the Wish 107.5 Music Awards

Music Hero at the 6th Wish 107.5 Music Awards

The Music Hero reunited as the opening performance for sixth edition of the annual Wish 107.5 Music Awards on 17 January 2021 at an audience-less Smart Araneta Coliseum. The band performed their songs "Walang Papalit" and "KLWKN" at the event.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Music Hero members as well as other performers of the awards ceremony underwent swab testing and followed social distancing guidelines. The event was live streamed on the YouTube channel of Wish 107.5 for its audience to watch.

At the same event was Music Hero's original bass guitarist Zild Benitez who appeared via video call to accept the Breakthrough Artist of the Year award as a solo artist.

Rangel Fernandez and Manly Ocampo also appeared on Eat Bulaga! for its Valentine's Day opening presentation in February 2021.

Members

  • Manly Ocampo – lead vocals (2017–2020)
  • Rangel Fernandez – lead vocals (2017–2020)
  • Fender Dimalanta – electric guitar (2017–2020)
  • Joaquin Rodrigo – drums (2017–2020)
  • RD Benavides – keyboard, bass guitar (2017–2020)
  • Brian Feliciano – saxophone, keyboard (2017–2020)
  • Jay-R Corre – bass guitar (2017–2019)
  • Radlee Laquian – acoustic guitar (2017–2019)
  • Jim Tan – keyboard (2017–2019)
  • Dominique Casacop – violin (2017–2019)
  • Zild Benitez – bass guitar (2017)
  • Blaster Silonga – electric guitar (2017)


Discography

Singles

Song Video Released
"Walang Papalit" 12 June 2018
"Fix My Heart" 3 August 2018
"KLWKN" 1 February 2019
"LDR (Laging Di Ramdam)" 18 August 2019


References

  1. Music Hero’s debut single goes viral, 19 July 2018, The Manila Times.
  2. Teenage talent search winner has 'muisc in his soul', 29 March 2017, Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  3. ‘Eat Bulaga’ has big plans for Ultimate Music Hero, 3 April 2017, Manila Standard.
  4. Music Hero’s debut single goes viral, 19 July 2018, The Manila Times.
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