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November 16, 2021 | 12:00am

It’s admirable how US-based, Filipino rapper EZ Mil values his mom’s opinion the most. He revealed that after writing the draft of the chorus of his song Panalo, he deemed it best to get his mother’s approval by asking, “Okay lang ba ‘to, Nay?”

I had the chance to have a conversation with him when I went to the US recently. During our one-on-one, EZ Mil shared how he completed his massive hit song that has since gained millions of views and streams in various digital platforms.

EZ Mil is the sobriquet of Ezekiel Miller, who was born and raised in Olongapo. He moved to the US four years ago to be with his family.

His performance of Panalo, recorded on the Wish USA Bus, has already garnered 66 million views on YouTube as of this writing. EZ Mil performed his lyrical masterpiece with a sense of patriotism. Listening to him seamlessly singing the lines in English, Tagalog and Ilocano is certainly astounding.

The 23-year-old musician shared that during the early stages of composing Panalo, it was his mom who suggested that he drew inspiration from the folk songs that were taught in school in Olongapo.

“The music actually came first, stemming from an idea from my mom. Sabi n’ya, gamitin mo kaya yung mga folk song na ginagamit sa school noon sa Pilipinas. Ang una niya pa ngang ni-recommend Tinikling kaya parang nag isip ako back then sa school kung ano yung parang naging super familiar sa ‘kin,” he mused.

He heeded his mom’s advice and decided to mix Carinosa music with some drum beats, which can be heard at the beginning of the song.

“Then, I was just thinking of the main words that would go for it. Tapos y’ung naisip ko y’un mismo, parang sinundan ko lang mismo ‘yung melody ng guitar strings, na (buo) na yung words dun; parang na piece-in na yung puzzle. Tapos pinarinig ko kay mom,” he shared.

His mother’s nod instantly gave EZ Mil an assuring feeling that Panalo would go viral.

“Nung gumanun s’ya (mimicking his mom’s facial expression while giving her approval), I had a hunch because my mom, she gave me that nod. Dati puro metal ang ginagawa ko. Tapos, nag-transcend na ko, nag-rap na ako at ginawa ko na ‘yung Panalo at ‘yun mismo naging reaction n’ya sa kanta. Then dun na rin nag-set in, I was thinking and I just started believing in what she told me.

“As a kid, ‘yung sense of approval. Being with her, just watching what she has done for us, it all stems from that as well.”

It took EZ Mil two to three years to finish Panalo. He began working on it in Olongapo until he moved to the US. Upon his arrival to Los Angeles, he came up with the decision to change his music genre – from heavy metal to rap, R&B and pop.

“It’s so hard but I had to do it,” said EZ Mil who admitted that he’s yearning to do more in terms of music.

Excerpts from the interview:

How big an influence is mama?

“A very, very big influence when it comes to decision-making and, of course, in life kasi ‘pag pinapanood ko lang s’ya dati on stage at kung paano s’ya mag-alaga ng mga kapatid ko, parang doon ko nakukuha ‘yung lakas ko.”

What is your state of mind right now?

“My state of mind as of now, so busy. But I’m thankful that my mind is busy because ‘yung sacrifices na ginawa ko noon para makarating sa point na ito ang naging daan. I know there are still so much to do.”

Who are your musical influences?

“Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky.”

Locally, do you have musical heroes?

“Yes. Gloc-9 and Dello.”

Do you like to go for perfection as a musician?

“Sometimes, like when you try to make it too perfect, you’re like, ahhh… but when you’re like just in-between, medyo parang p’wede na tong maging perfect or meron lang mga konting ganun, that’s like the gist part (laughs).”

Let’s go to the Tagalog portions of Panalo. What are your favorite lines there?

“My favorite lines would have to be, ‘Kung inaakala mong isang lenggwahe lang kayang gamitin ni EZ Mil/La kang mapapala kung ganyan ka magisip/kay bathala ka sisingil.”

Are you ready to be a big star?

“I’m ready.”

What happened to that controversy about Lapu-Lapu? It created a lot of uproar. Correct me if I’m wrong, did you apologize?

“I did. I apologize to anyone out there who’s still thinking about the lyrics, especially to those who are related to Lapu-Lapu and those who are in Cebu, sorry po kung meron akong nasabi that hurt your feelings.”

Complete the statement, I’m EZ Mil and…

“I’m EZ Mil and I make music and I hope you guys take a listen because there’s a lot of things that are gonna happen with what I want to say in my music.”





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