People who recall band frontman Miguel Escueta performing covers on mainstream local TV during Sunday noons may agree that he was an odd-man-out sharing limelight with, you guess, popular actor-singers. Small surprise he himself admitted he was hurting inside all along. He was not being himself.
Reflecting on this past stint in a GMA-7 Sunday variety, Miguel, his hair brushed up and looking confident than ever, kindly acknowledged the nature of mainstream showbiz, “No regrets. It was a great experience and I learned a lot from it.”
Sure it was, a big TV break. But then again an artist needs to be who he is. Miguel wanted to sing his own compositions: “I went on TV to be seen by a bigger audience. But the problem was I was being seen for who I was not. I was sad. That’s the reason why I went indie—to take control of my career.”
Boy he did just that. He transformed himself into a band act he dubbed The Morning Episodes; goodbye noontime episodes! The group produced an eponymous EP in 2011, the full-length album “Never Felt So Alive” and strong cut “Until The Sunrise” (with Solenn Heussaff) in 2012.
He took a long break before recently delivering a new sound in “Devil”, digitally released and featuring artists Curtismithand Leanne. The track, which last December peaked No. 12 on Magic 89.9’s Top 30, is modernly atmospheric that sonically creates a sexy club scene of young beautiful people hanging on some nearly boiling excitement.
A new single, “Fee The Night,” just released on Spotify, takes listeners further with dancey rhythm and distinct guitar hooks. This time, the group collaborates with hip-hop duo No One’s Home comprised of Claudio Lopa and Mark Yap.
Interestingly, The Morning Episodes has enjoyed song placements in international TV shows, namely, “The Young and the Restless” (CBS), “Switched at Birth” (ABC), and “Malhacao” (Brazil TV). Their track “Not Yet Done” is in YouTube Red’s newest web series “Youth & Consequences” starring Ana Akana.
“’Not Yet Done’ is about people saying that you can only do so much when you know you can do so much more,” Miguel said.
For a time he took a break to focus on his bar and restaurant businesses (Pablo’s, Frank & Dean and Ocean’s Telephone Company) and finish a Masters Degree in Entrepreneurship.
He shared, “I always knew what I wanted so I took many risks to be able to meet the right people and score gigs.”
After a trip abroad almost made him penniless, he was welcomed home with a TVC deal for liquor brand Emperador. He pointed out, “My breaks can be attributed to me building relationships and focusing on what’s at hand.”
I myself have witnessed the close bond he had with MCA Music Philippines president Ricky Ilacad who gave him his initial breaks in the biz. As a regular record label office visitor, I would see Miguel come into Ilacad’s office bursting with ideas, some of which came to fruition. Between 2006 and 2010, he released through the label his solo albums, “I Am M.E” and “Now It Starts” and one EP called “Sleeping While The World’s Awake.” He couldn’t have a stronger stepping stone towards artistic maturity.