Imagine a song with lyrics so moving, so heartfelt and riveting that it actually empowers its listeners to affirmative action.
That’s the magic behind Rise High’s latest single, Tinig ng Pag-Ibig, which had a successful launch last Tuesday, July 25, at 19 East.
While some bands are relentlessly driven in their pursuit of fame and fortune, Rise High aims for a far nobler and loftier dream of driving home their message of love, acceptance and transcendence through their original music.
By doing so, it’s not surprising how their core truth resonates strongly among their devout fans and listeners, whose expanding demographic continues to amaze the group.
Lead vocalist Lura Angeles summed it up succinctly when she explained the story behind the band’s name. She said, “It’s all about taking second chances. All of us have our struggles, we always have battles to face, and there are no shortcuts. You just have to face it head on. You just have to be headstrong. And that’s how you rise high!”
No strangers in the band circuit, Rise High is the brainchild of guitarist, singer and band leader Edil Luyon, who assembled the earlier incarnation of the band around 2016. Its current members are Edil Luyon (vocals, guitar and bandleader), Lura Angeles-Luyon (vocals), Philippe Arriola (bass), Obet Luzon (keyboards), Joseph Rivera (drums) and Dave Erin (guitar).
Two years earlier, the group, then called Ecoustic Soul, honed their musical chops by playing pop covers for events, including weddings, parties and corporate events.
Even then, Edil already had a clear vision of the musical avenue he wanted to tread. He narrates, “Even before 2014, I already had this big dream of creating our own music, our own compositional landscape so to speak, and I knew in my heart what our primary message would inspire and drive us.”
He also credits the band’s current manager for instilling in them the life-changing impact of the mantra “live your dream,” which the band members have always used as a guidepost in their day to day lives and work ethic.
Some of his first compositions include Iyo, I Surrender, May Bukas Ang Bukas, and Dakila, an ode brimming with spiritual praise and fervor.
A cursory peek at their Spotify playlist also reveals a goldmine of singles and EPs including Bumalik Sa Simula, Lala Land and Magsasayaw, which incidentally also happens to be the soundtrack for the feel-good Net25 sitcom, Good Will, which stars David Chua, Devon Seron, Raymond Bagatsing, Smokey Manaloto, Meg Imperial, Kat Galang, Regine Angeles and many others.
Asked about Edil’s compositional genius and why most of his compositions always seem to revolve around romantic relationships, Philippe, the band’s bassist teases, “Retired playboy kasi!” “
Hindi retired! Chismoso lang!” Edil retorts, alluding to his penchant for eavesdropping on his bandmates’ phone conversations with their ‘significant others.’ True enough, a good bulk of their songs run the gamut from unrequited love, to moving on after a bad breakup, or even finding love the second time around — songs that strongly impact millennials and GenZs.
Though primarily rooted in the local band scene, perhaps by sheer luck, Edil always manages to have one foot in the showbiz world, having done arranging chores and session work for Regine Velasquez, Vice Ganda, Christian Bautista, JM de Guzman, Jaya, Nina, Sheree Vidal, Jed Madela, Jayson Sia, Jeffrey Hidalgo, Arnee Hidalgo, Stevie Woods, Aldrin Nolasco, Emanuel Quibilan, and the late Keith Martin.
He has also done film scoring for indie movies including director Dexter Cayanes’ Pangaris and Ang Musa, and Vic Acedillo, Jr.’s Ang Nerseri. Edil also feels strongly about getting the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s nod for his out-of-the-box concept for her last political jingle.
With his bubbly personality and infectious charm, it’s not too farfetched if Edil gets an overload of showbiz assignments in due time.
He nonchalantly shrugs, “It’s not really a top priority for now, but it would be great if some of our original songs get used for a movie or teleserye. Now, THAT would be something!”
With the constantly evolving local music landscape, Edil and his bandmates take great pride in being indie artists, who rely mainly on music-sharing platforms for their promo and marketing.
“For the most part, we’ve been relying on Spotify, but we plan to invade TikTok soon,” Edil reveals. “That’s where the numbers are.”
And speaking of numbers, Edil feels overwhelmed with the fully capacity crowd at their 19 East album launch, which also featured fast-rising artists Davey Langit, Abby Clutario, Emanuel Quibilan, Bill and the Judiths, Ella Guevarra, with the special participation of Edil’s kids: Felix Ryan (drums) and Krie Nivela (bass) and their singer/guitarist friend Yuriel Arcay, collectively called The Lucays.
Also spotted in the audience was the Good Will cast—David Chua, Raymond Bagatsing, Meg Imperial, Regine Angeles—together with the show’s producer, respected journalist and talk show host Korina Sanchez.
Edil adds, “Our album launch wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of 19 East’s top honcho Wowee Posadas, who so graciously encouraged, supported and believed in our music.”
Also sharing the stage spotlight was South Border lead guitarist and session ace Janno Queyquep, whose tasteful and dazzling fingerboard prowess had always inspired Edil, himself a consummate soloist and showman.
“It’s always an honor to play with Janno, who I’ve always looked up to not just as a guitar god and mentor, but also a good friend who offers very sensible musical and songwriting nuggets of wisdom.”
Onstage, Edil’s longtime dream came to fruition as he traded blistering solos with his guitar hero, while tightly locked in on the band’s propulsive groove.
If rain is a sign of good luck, the relentless downpour brought in by Typhoon Egay that same night could very well be a clear indication of even better days ahead for Edil and his cohorts.
It’s going to be a busy August for Rise High as they gear up for a series of bar tours in the Quezon City area, aside from radio guestings and other promotional gigs.
WATCH Rise High performing Tinig ng Pag-ibig during their 19 East gig