Channeling faith, seeking refuge in music

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IN THE midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, people have found solace in faith-based music. In reaction to this, Sony Music Philippines has launched Waterwalk Records, a music label focusing on Christian music.

“Waterwalk Records began with the hypothesis that consumption of Christian and inspirational music has increased over the pandemic,” Roslyn Pineda, General Manager, Sony Music Philippines, said during an online press launch on Oct. 26. So, the music company conducted a survey about inspirational and Christian music consumption to test the hypothesis.

They found that some of the biggest names with wide consumption in the International Christian music scene are under Sony Music’s Provident Label Group, such as the Christian rock band Casting Crowns and the contemporary Christian band Vertical Worship.

“My team and I have been on a mission to come up with music that refreshes, music that spreads, music that fuels your faith, and music specifically for the streaming generation of today,” Ms. Pineda said.

“The Philippines is a big key market in Asia with a [big] population of Christians in the country,” said Ariel Fung, EVP, Sony Music Southeast Asia. “We really look forward to the best of local and regional talent coming together in the next few months, and making music in different genres, giving people comfort and hope.”

“Pop music inspired by Christian melodies has arguably created some of the most interesting music in recent years. It’s a diverse genre full of talented artists who use faith as a regular way of connecting with people,” Ms. Pineda was quoted as saying in a company press release. “Waterwalk Records has huge opportunities to grow as we work with talented artists such as Morissette, Gloryfall and Hazel Faith and others to bring their music to fans all across Asia.”

As part of the label’s launch, 12 tracks by Christian artists are expected to be released before yearend.

Singer-songwriter Morissette Amon released the label’s first single, “Waterwalk,” on Oct. 28.

“I just literally decided to walk in faith,” said Ms. Amon during the press conference. “I decided to go into songwriting [during the pandemic], as well because there were no live shows. So, I took that as an opportunity to kind of grow my artistry as well,” Ms. Amon said about recording a song under the Christian label.

Ms. Amon said that the track can be “dedicated for a loved one or [considered] a worship song.”

“I’m very excited for everyone to hear the track and for everyone to be reminded that even if going through a tough time… you can continue to walk by faith in life,” she said of the song’s message.

“It’s only been a couple of years since I’ve made the decision to really follow Jesus and one thing I can really attest to is that we just need to trust Him in everything,” Ms. Amon was quoted as saying in a company press release. “I’ve been through some very challenging times too especially during this season, but it’s His grace that saves me and keeps me going, His love that comforts and protects me, and His promise that I will always keep in my heart.”

The second single from the label, “Mapayapa,” is a collaboration between Christian worship band Gloryfall and singer/songwriter Hazel Faith. It will be released on Oct. 30.

Rapper-actor Jericho Arceo and Stell of SB19 will release a joint single under the label, while Nathan Huang from the band “of Mercury” (formerly known as Nathan & Mercury) will release his first solo song through the label and will be collaborating with Darla Baltazar. She was recently included in the “16 Artists to Watch” list of the website The Gospel Coalition.

The lineup also includes singles from worship leaders from various churches in the Philippines. Favor Church’s Janine Danielle will perform a song written and produced by Moira Dela Torre and her music producer and husband Jason Hernandez. Other participating worship leaders are Lee Simon Brown (from Victory Worship), Cola Cabalcar, Kent Charcos, Cherise Katriel, and Sam&Steff.

A single from Taiwanese singer/songwriter and YouTuber Ariel Tsai, who is signed under Sony Music Taiwan, will also be released by Waterwalk.

“I think people are looking for hope, they’re looking for love, and for grace, and what better way for them to feel that than through music, especially for the young people,” Ms. Pineda said during the press conference.

Ms. Pineda noted that in establishing the Christian music label, they aim to produce music of various genres for the streaming generation.

“We’re working with many different artists who want to be able to express their faith through music. For some people, they have their own careers, so this is a place where they can release their Christian music,” she said.

For more information on the new tracks, artists, and upcoming events, visit Waterwalk Records on Facebook (Waterwalk Records | Facebook) and Instagram (@waterwalkrecords). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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