Many people may have presumed that vocally gifted singer Noel Cabangon also wrote what became his signature hit: “Kanlungan.” Truth is, his bandmate in Buklod, Rom Dongeto, penned it. That, and Noel’s stirring renditions of other people’s popular hits has remarkably turned him into an A-list cover act.
In other words, Noel is hardy recognized as a songwriter himself. To prove that point, his next four most streamed songs on Spotify are all covers.
Enter Noel’s current label Icons Music (a division of Widescope Entertainment) which sees him differently, or in a way benefiting his songwriting side.
“I have been wanting to release my own compositions and Widescope is making it happen. I am grateful that they opened the door and let me in,” shared the easy-listening favorite who just months ago came out with his original “Kung Ako.”
His latest one “H’wag Kang Mag-Alala” had been dropped last Friday (September 15). It showcases his songwriting ability to the fore, with its strong chorus recall: “Aalayan ka, dadamayan ka/ Pagsisikapan ka sa habang panahon/ Ipaglalaban ka hanggang sa huling hininga/ Ito ang aking sumpa, tunay na pagsinta.”
Noel’s skills as a tunesmith and lyricist have earned the full support of Widescope bosses, namely, Vic de Vera (executive producer), Neil Gregorio (supervising producer), and Ebe Dancel (artist and repertoire).
For the new single, with music insiders believing it has the potential to be a major hit, the singer-songwriter got strong help from producer/arranger/mixing engineer Marlon Barnuevo, and the musicians who played on the track: Gino Madrid (electric guitar), Janby Teodoro (bass), Jazz Nicolas (drums), Carlo Tuazon (violin 1), Chino David (violin 2), Rey Casey Concepcion (viola), Theodore Amper (cello), and Barnuevo himself (synths, programming).
On working with Ebe who’s among the most respected songwriters in the Philippine music scene, Noel noted, “I am happy that Ebe is involved. He is an artist himself and he knows what an artist wants.
“Hwag Kang Mag-alala,” from the creator himself, is a lifetime assurance of a commitment – to take care of your loved ones. Noel added, “This reflection came at a time when we were all experiencing isolation.” That’s saying he transformed the lockdown days into an inspiration that brings wonderful joy.
With nearly 400,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, with “Kanlungan” enjoying more than 12 million streams, Noel has remained relevant among listeners, including the youngest generation that keeps clicking to hear what he has to offer.
He expressed, “These numbers are great. In this time of stiff competition and the new generation of markets taking over, I am more than happy to have this number of streams. This gives me more encouragement to create and release more songs as long as I can and as long as there are those who want to listen to my music.”
In the gig scene, Noel said he is currently taking more private gigs. Some of those open to the public include his upcoming shows at My Bro’s Mustache in Quezon City on September 30 and Super Sam in BGC, Taguig City on October 13. He will do a few shows in Australia come November.
Needless to say, Noel calmly sits where he is at. Being with Icons Music puts his legacy in a secure place. That he is focusing on songwriting and assured of an outlet to carry his work should put him in a safe spot countless Filipino songwriters can only dream of. He said, “For me, being able to release a new work from my soul is more than special, and (it is already) a big hit.”