Celebrating Women’s Month, Spotify has partnered with leading Filipina creators to amplify their voices and stories. The music, lyrics and voices coming from these Filipinas are complex and vibrant, and Spotify champions women in audio through its programs and playlists all through the year.
Through Spotify’s EQUAL, a year-round initiative dedicated to women in music, female artists have collectively received nearly half a billion streams within their first month of joining the program. EQUAL Philippines amplifies artists like chart-topping singer-songwriter mrld and the Cebuana hip-hop hitmaker Karencitta, while Pinay Voices spotlights podcasts from creators including Paano Kung…, Let’s Pretend It’s 2AM, and Free Yourself Podcast. Spotify shares an exclusive glimpse into the perspectives of these trailblazing Filipina audio creators.
Breaking Boundaries through Audio
Filipinas have diversified the creative ecosystem through courage and determination. For some, pursuing a dream means inspiring others to become better versions of themselves. RADAR ambassador, Meriel de Jesus, more popularly known as mrld and the voice behind hit songs including “Ligaya” and “Ikaw Pa Rin,” recounted how her journey as a budding artist took perseverance: “I remember staying up late, researching how I can share my craft to the world.”
For Ria Ramirez of Let’s Pretend It’s 2AM, becoming a creator meant breaking through her sense of self-doubt. “Starting a podcast was something that I considered doing, but was afraid to pursue. But people around me made me realize that I had a voice that was worth being heard.”
Other voices in the field are driven by passion and purpose to inspire others. “It’s a powerful feeling because you can make a huge imprint onto someone’s life instantly,” said EQUAL ambassador Karen Ann “Karencitta” Cabrera-Caballero, who famously made waves with the release of her debut song “Cebuana” which proudly champions her Bisaya roots.
Gayle de Chavez of Free Yourself Podcast creates content with the hope of inspiring others. “I enjoy being a creator, pursuing the things that I love, and at the same time helping people love themselves.”
Technology Powering Gender Equity
Beyond the drive to thrive, these inspiring Filipinas leveraged technology as a partner in their creative journey.
Spotify EQUAL artist Karencitta, who started recording her own music at the age of 13 and now has over 220,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, shared that she learned through exploring tech with many trials and errors. Radio DJ and Creator of Paano Kung… podcast Joelle shared, “I am grateful that technology and a platform as special as Spotify enables us to share our stories more openly and find other people who inspire us!”
mrld highlighted how Spotify helped her flourish on the local and global stage. “Through Spotify, a lot of people were able to discover my craft, and it paved the way for me as a female artist. EQUAL is very uplifting as it gives the spotlight to female artists.”
Although platforms and initiatives have unlocked a wealth of opportunities, the journey for female creators is not without its challenges.
Joelle opens up. “I feel the challenge when I have to double or triple check what I say just to make sure it’s right. I’ve been afraid to speak up because people would talk over me, or make me feel like my feelings and thoughts weren’t valid.” mrld also noted how there is room to give more visibility for women in the creative field.
At the same time, creators express their optimism and appreciation for the positive changes in the industry. “Nowadays, I think there is a space for both men and women to create freely,” Ria points out.
Unlocking the Creator in Everyone
Spotify Creators, Joelle, Ria, and Gayle, mrld and Karencitta, share their advice with the hopes of inspiring young Filipinos out there.
I. Celebrate Individuality and Authenticity
- EQUAL ambassador mrld: “Always believe in yourself. No one is going to be there for you till the end except yourself. So don’t be too hard on yourself and continue to trust the process.”
- EQUAL ambassador Karencitta: “Kung bisag asa pa ta e butang sa kalibutan, di gyud natu malimtan ang Filipino traditions and values. Ayaw kalimot kung asa ka gikan. E taas gyud na ang bandila.”
II. Embrace Vulnerability
- Ria of Let’s Pretend It’s 2AM: “There’s no need to hide the broken parts of yourself because it is in this brokenness that you have grown to be who you are. Let that process not only inspire you but others too.”
- Joelle of Paano Kung…: “It can be scary for anyone to be vulnerable, but the exciting possibilities in opening up and connecting with others outweigh the fear. I get to do this now, because the younger me took a chance, opened her heart, continued to hope and try, despite the uncertainty, fear, and worries.”
III. Invest in Oneself
- Gayle of Free Yourself Podcast: “Continue investing in yourself and being curious about everything. Don’t seek validation in the form of other people’s opinions, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind and your truth.”
- EQUAL ambassador Karencitta: “Embrace learning”