On Nov. 19, 2020, 18-year-old Filipina singer-songwriter Angela Ken posted a snippet of her unfinished and untitled song on her TikTok channel. The beautiful melody and lyrics, which were written in Filipino, resonated with viewers so much that the video went viral on TikTok, with 1.3 million likes and over 21,100 comments.
Fast forward to March 5, and the complete song, with the title “Ako Naman Muna”, was launched on various digital music platforms. It is the debut single of Angela Ken, who is now an ABS-CBN Music artist after being discovered by its creative director Jonathan Manalo thanks to that viral TikTok video.
Portrait of Angela as a young artist
As that ABS-CBN article recounts:
“ABS-CBN Music creative director Jonathan Manalo discovered the folk-pop artist after her ‘Ako Naman Muna’ video went viral on TikTok, amassing over 1.3M likes and 21.1K comments at present, with listeners clamoring for the complete song to be released. She was personally contacted by Jonathan who offered her recording & management deals.
“’Your support and appreciation to the song has reached all around the country. I want to thank all of you for everything kasi ‘di ko maaabot ‘tong kinahahantungan ko kung hindi dahil sa inyo,’ she said on a TikTok announcement video on Valentine’s Day for the song’s release.”
What’s striking about “Ako Naman Muna” is the beauty of Angela’s voice, the simplicity of the folk-pop melody, and the relatability of the wonderfully crafted lyrics, which deftly touch on various issues, both personal and social.
Raw emotion, important issues
As the comments from viewers of the “Ako Naman Muna – Angela Ken (Official Lyric Video Visualizer)” posted by ABS-CBN Star Music on its official YouTube channel can attest to, her lyrics definitely have struck a chord. She is able to express raw emotion while also tackling issues that normally are still hard to discuss in Philippine society, such as mental health.
The song conveys the fear and anxiety we feel as individuals, particularly in the wake of the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it points out the social issues that affect all of us, and how we must be part of the solution to these problems. But of course, we can’t take care of others if we don’t first take care of ourselves.
So, yes, we are all tired. And it would be so easy to simply give up. But we mustn’t.
As Angela beautifully puts it in the chorus:
“Dahan-dahan nating simulan muli ang pag-hakbang
Dahan-dahang tumingin sa salamin upang makita ang ating kagandahan
Dahan-dahang iangat ang mukha upang masilayan ang payapang kalangitan
Oo, pagod ka na
Pero ‘di ka nag-iisa
Kaya’t lumaban ka
At sabihing, “Ako naman muna’”
Thank you for the reminder, Angela Ken.