7 global artists who did OPM covers (and gave them justice)
People deal with life’s shenanigans in various ways. Some drown in gallons of ice cream, others indulge in retail therapy, while a few resort to “niksen” (a Dutch concept that involves doing absolutely nothing on purpose).
But I’d like to believe that things go a little differently for Filipinos. We either leave everything up to some supernatural being (“Bahala na si Batman!”) or grab the nearest mic and belt our feelings out. Failed the IELTS test? Visa application got rejected? Whatever the problem, videoke is the (temporary) solution. It’s practically our national coping mechanism.
We take our musical roots so seriously that we tend to become hypercritical of those who attempt to cover songs we’re all too familiar with (which isn’t a pretty trait but that’s a discussion for another time).
And although it’s hard to discover non-Filipino renditions of OPM songs that could pass our high (or borderline unreasonable) standards, here are a few ones that actually did justice to the original.
“Give Me Your Forever” by Zack Tabudlo
Well, Heeseung isn’t dubbed Enhypen’s “ace” for nothing. In an unexpected drop on TikTok, the K-pop idol showcased his live vocals and gave his own spin to “Give Me Your Forever” by Zack Tabudlo.
Some fans even joked about Heeseung secretly having some Filipino blood running through his veins because this was not the first time he jammed to OPM songs. He (and his co-member Jake) listens to “Raining in Manila” by Lola Amour, too.
As of writing, the video already has 12.6 million views and 3.2 million likes.
“Rainbow” by South Border
Ah, David Archuleta. Who would’ve thought that the heartthrob who made everyone swoon during his “American Idol” days has a soft spot for Filipino music? ICYDK, the 32-year-old singer has an album exclusively released in the Philippines circa 2012. It’s a collection of OPM revivals, which includes “Forevermore,” “I’ll Never Go,” and “Rainbow.”
Need a more recent cover of “Rainbow”? Archuleta posted a 49-second clip of him singing the OPM hit with the caption: “Karaoke with the amigos and saw this song. Shoutout to South Border and to my Filipinos!”
“Paligoy-ligoy” by Nadine Lustre
— Philippine Concerts (@philconcerts) December 3, 2022
Our favorite bubblegum K-pop girls singing our bubblegum P-pop anthem? Yes, please. STAYC had their first fan meeting in Manila last year, and they surprised Swiths (the group’s fandom) with their version of Nadine Lustre’s TikTok-viral hit “Paligoy-ligoy.”
Let’s be real: It felt nice listening to them—and actually understanding what they were singing—sans the need for subtitles.
“Araw Gabi” by Regine Velasquez
Aside from vocal quality, Filipinos are also very particular with the emotional delivery of a song. But guess who served both? Loren Allred in her cover of “Araw Gabi” by Regine Velasquez. You can clearly hear the longing in her voice while hitting the high notes—and that’s saying something considering the language barrier.
While we’re ceaselessly singing along to “Never Enough” in karaoke pubs, the singer-actress was probably practicing her pronunciation (and learning the OPM classic’s message) in private.
“MAPA” by SB19
When you try to cover a song by arguably the biggest P-pop boy band, the pressure would definitely be on another level. Not to mention, it has always been a challenge to give justice to something that is deeply personal to the original artists.
“MAPA” by SB19 is a heartfelt tribute to their parents—and the emotions behind it are palpable. However, Torch Family Music managed to capture its essence and deliver it with utmost sincerity. The American musical group was able to infuse their own harmonies and style, all while keeping the soul of the song intact.
(P.S. They also had a cover of “SLMT” by SB19.)
You may also like: From New York to Vancouver, here’s when to spot SB19 this 2023
“Kathang Isip” by Ben&Ben
— New Frontier Theater (@NewFrontierPh) October 26, 2019
While K-drama enthusiasts are no strangers to Cha Eun-woo’s visuals and acting chops in “My ID is Gangnam Beauty,” many overlook the fact that he’s part of the K-pop group Astro. He’s a great singer with smooth vocals, and this was further highlighted when the 26-year-old idol surprisingly sang “Kathang Isip” by Ben&Ben during his Manila fan meet in 2019.
“Kailangan Kita” by Ogie Alcasid
Everyone knows Pia Toscano as a powerhouse vocalist—but her version of Ogie Alcasid’s “Kailangan Kita” just made her sound like a true OPM diva. The singer’s impressive vocal range and soulful interpretation left us with a newfound appreciation for Filipino ballads.
It reminded us why romance-themed OPM songs, no matter how “cheesy” or “overused” the concept is, would never go out of style.