Published: September 04, 2019
A little over a year of being with Viva Records and a couple of hit singles after, John Roa finally releases his first EP entitled “AMGO,” here, the “Oks Lang” singer has prepared a 5-track EP including catchy first single “Andiyan,” released ahead of his EP, and other equally infectious tracks “Lagi,” “Muli,” “Itutuloy,” and his EP’s banner track, “Natatangi.”
John Roa has had quite the journey. After his departure from hip-hop collective Ex-Battalion, John Roa took time to search for his own “voice” as a singer and songwriter. Though his first singles started off with an R&B and urban style bent closely similar to his roots as a past member of a hip-hop group, lately, he has been displaying sonic versatility on his much-awaited EP, a testament to his versatility as an artist.
His 5-track EP is centered on the theme, “Amgo” which means realization in Bisaya. In “AMGO,” John Roa bares himself vulnerable in his songs that include personal narratives and stories of the people around him all about their struggles with life, love, and anxiety. Including his journey as a Cebuano who persevered to pursue his passions in Manila (“Itutuloy.”) Through this, he hopes that his listeners would also find themselves in his songs.
John Roa opens his EP with the R&B-tinged track “Lagi” which he co-produced with Nexxfriday (producer of Because album ‘Heartbreak SZN’). The acoustic-driven “Muli” is as catchy as it gets, while gripping, piano-decked “Andiyan” is a melancholy tale about remaining steadfast about overwhelming odds. “Natatangi,” meanwhile, takes John into catchy, playful pop jazz-tinged song-craft. Ditto EP closer “Itutuloy” which sees John Roa going back a bit to his rap roots.
John Roa manifests that he is an effective storyteller that his stories do not just lie within his songs. In fact, even the arrangement of his EP’s tracks conveys a deeper meaning. “I placed ‘Itutuloy’ as the last (track) of the EP, parang hindi natapos dun. I don’t want to put a period in the EP and at the same time, it seems to symbolize our journey as humans. Hindi naman tayo nagtatapos sa isang point lang eh, so dapat itutuloy at itutuloy mo lang.”
Overall, the result is a cohesive record that displays John Roa’s creative prowess. While it may feature a relatively new sound to people’s ears, John Roa still remains true to his roots as a crafter of songs. Basically, the identity he has been known for.