There’s certainly more to the story of Ted Reyes, a Filipino-born musician living in the United States, apart from being the songwriter behind the now-classic Himig Handog finalist “Bye Bye Na.” A deep look into his track record proves he has led an excitingly creative run.
The Filipino-American musician boasts a multifaceted career. Firstly, his songwriting prowess earned him a spot in the final 12 of the 2010 FILSCAP Songwriting Competition with “Tayo Na Sa Ulan.” Secondly, he launched his musical journey as the frontman of The Freesouls, a 60s-inspired band signed by a major Manila label in the late ‘90s. Thirdly, Ted has made a significant mark in the Asian-American music scene, leading bands like Bleud and The Happy Analogues before embarking on a solo career.
Notably, he released “Awit Ng Himagsikan” on September 21, a date to remember whether you are a Marcos critic or apologist. Despite being miles apart, Ted and I reconnected in California after departing from our respective hometowns – New York and Metro Manila.
“Bye Bye Na” exceeds eight million Spotify streams, a top track for interpreter Rico Blanco. Ted reflects, “The song flowed effortlessly, like a gift from the universe. All I needed was to stop whatever I was doing and rush towards our trusty old family Weinstein upright piano in our house in Kamuning, armed with a pen, a notebook, and a tape recorder. And there it was, a gift of a song.”
In 2018, Ted released “Made In Kamuning,” featuring his take on “Bye Bye Na.” Currently, he’s consistently dropping singles, including “Sobrang Init Naman,” inspired by the scorching heat during his time in Singapore, Bangkok, and Manila, with a bassline that adds a cool twist to a hot topic.
As for “Awit Ng Himagsikan,” I’d keep my instant Facebook comment about it intact: good guitar riff, melody recall, and spirited lyrics.
Ted shared, “The experience of releasing materials as a solo artist is fascinating and rewarding, but you lose the cover offered by being with a group. If a Happy Analogues song sucks, there are four people to blame. You don’t have that as a solo artist. You are out there by yourself dodging and taking bullets.”
Back in the day, I had high hopes The Freesouls would become a household name, owing to their style and musicality. Having said that, I believe that their shelved album “Flowers For The Soul,” belatedly released on digital stores some 15 years ago, is among the best by a Filipino band. Let Ted take us back to what happened.
He pointed out, “The Freesouls were a huge part of my journey. The band I started when we were teenagers got signed by a major label, and we released an album. We toured/played alongside the great bands of the day – Eraserheads, Parokya ni Edgar, Rivermaya, P.O.T., Itchyworms, and many more. Unfortunately, after scoring a minor hit with our debut single ‘Shindig,’ our sophomore single ‘Yatehan’ was banned by radio stations, apparently for being lewd and vulgar, which didn’t make sense then and even now. I’ve heard songs that are overtly sexual but got significant airplay.”
No hard feelings. Ted is a peacenik baby and he’s not one to harbor hate. He assured me, “I moved on and embraced that part of my musical journey. It wasn’t for us, and that is totally cool.”
At the turn of the new millennium, Ted and his ladylove Sheryl flew to New York. The past two years they embarked on what he describes as a nomadic adventure, in which they lived in twenty countries – in most of Europe, Mexico, Japan, and Southeast Asia. They came back to the US early this year and decided to try it out in Los Angeles after he got an offer to work at a music company in Hollywood.
Last September 16, he performed on stage at Gerry’s Grill in the nearby city of Artesia, backed by Monster Turned Machine which just released a single featuring Glenn Jacinto of Teeth.