Jam Quijano never thought that signing with a record label was in the cards for him. The up-and-coming artist crafts indie and folk-inflected pop songs, which, he felt, didn’t fit the mold of mainstream music.
But one day, while busking at a food park, Jam unwittingly caught someone’s attention. It was Ebe Dancel. Now, Jam is signed with Widescope Entertainment, where Ebe currently works as an A&R manager.
“To my surprise, this opportunity suddenly knocked on my door. I signed because I wanted to do it for experience. I wanted to learn about the music industry and its moving parts,” Jam said in an interview. “This was also a great opportunity to work with other professional musicians I admired, so signing wasn’t that hard of a decision to make.”
Though he’s relatively new to the mainstream industry, Jam has cultivated a following on the alternative scene, thanks to his wistful singing and easy-listening vibe, which lend well to his songs about “life, tragedy and everything in between.” The singer has performed in various venues and events like the “Fête de la Musique.”
This year, he has released three singles, the latest one being the affecting love ballad, “Otherwise,” which talks about coming into terms “with one’s vulnerability.”
“I find that it’s common for people to pretend that they’re not hurt by a rejection, a breakup… So, this song is a reminder that, yes, you can fool other people into thinking you’re not affected, But you can’t fool yourself. Pain doesn’t discriminate,” he said of the song, which was produced by Ebe—just like Jam’s previous two singles, “Duyan” and “Bribe My Heart.”
Working with Ebe was an “awesome” experience, Jam said, because he looked up to the former Sugarfree frontman.
“As luck would have it, Ebe has been a great influence to me as an artist, so getting to work with him is awesome,” said Jam, who resonates most with folk music. “But that doesn’t stop me from listening to jazz, hip-hop, etc. Other artists like John Mayer, Jason Isbell, Don Mclean and Paul McCartney have all also influenced me with their music.”
While he’s partial to certain genres or types of artists, Jam isn’t about to box himself in those. In fact, he recently wrote two songs for the six-track Christmas EP “Pagmamahal Ngayong Pasko,” including the title track, which was recorded by Ebe and Sitti. The second one is “Pag-Ibig Ngayong Pasko,” which again, showcases his earnest vocals.
“I will keep doing what I’m doing. I never think about genres when I write music. But if there’s a chance for collaboration, or exploring different genres, I’m open to it,” he said. “As a creative person, that’s one of the most important skills—keeping an open mind to things.”
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