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Monday, July 22, 2024

A phenomenal year for Cup of Joe

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As I prepared to leave for Estancia in Pasig for the Cup of Joe press conference, I turned on Spotify and cued up the top local songs of the week. The first track that greeted me was “Tingin,” a fan-favorite single by Cup Of Joe featuring Janine Teñoso. 

Released in April 2023, the song has captivated listeners across generations, racking up over 22 million Spotify streams and becoming the band’s biggest hit to date.

Even on my way to Botejyu, the venue for the press conference, the song’s catchy melody followed me. I initially thought it was stuck in my head, but to my surprise, “Tingin” was actually playing on repeat at the restaurant. So, during the press conference, I asked Cup Of Joe how they felt about capturing Spotify’s hearts and becoming the platform’s top OPM band.

“It’s still surreal,” they admitted. “While we’re thrilled that so many people connect with our music, creating it is our artistic expression, not just about chasing hits. We pour our hearts and stories into the lyrics,” they said.

When asked about their focus on love and romance, the band explained that they noticed a trend towards overly emo pop in the current scene. They wanted to offer a counterpoint: positive, relatable songs that resonated with everyday experiences.

“Our inspiration comes from a mix of personal stories and those of the people around us,” they added.

With nearly four million monthly listeners on Spotify, Cup Of Joe (affectionately known as COJ) boasts a diverse discography beyond “Tingin.” Hits like “Estranghero” (36 million+), “Ikaw Ang Pipiliin Ko” (24 million+), and “Mananatili” (10 million+) showcase their musical range.

The group started five years ago in Baguio. The group’s initial foray into creating original music with the song “Nag-iisang Muli” and a self-produced video proved successful, earning them the Best Regional Song trophy at the 2019 MOR Awards. This same track not only secured Cup of Joe’s first Awit Award nomination but also positioned them as contenders for Best Recording by a New Group.

“Sometimes it’s heartwarming when people recognize us, but what keeps us humble is the thought that not every song we create will be a hit, not everything we do will become popular. Similarly, we don’t strive for perfection but for a continuous improvement of our craft,” the group stated.

The year 2023 was a banner year for COJ, solidifying their status as a breakout Filipino band. Vocalists Gian Bernardino and Raphaell Ridao, along with keyboardist Xen Gareza, lead guitarist Gab Fernandez, bassist Sevii Severino, and guitarist CJ Fernandez, rode a wave of success, culminating in sold-out campus shows across the country, fueled by their festive yuletide track “Alas Dose.”

As we start a new year, COJ shows no signs of slowing down. Their partnership with Viva Records promises big things, including a new single, a potential collaboration, and even a solo concert in the first half of the year. Details are still under wraps, but the band assures fans they’ll be in the know soon.

“We’re just so excited to perform and create more music and inspire more people with our music. That’s our goal for 2024,” they stated.

2023 was a whirlwind for the Baguio-based band, and they’re poised to carry that momentum into the new year. With promises of groundbreaking music and unforgettable experiences, COJ’s journey is far from over, and its ever-growing fan base is eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

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