Fil-Ams in music industry come together for pre-Grammy celebration 

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A recent luncheon hosted by Myx before the Grammys honored three Filipino Americans representing various facets of the music industry. 

Those recognized on Friday, January 24 were Grammy nominated rapper Guapdad, Grammy Award winning producer Illmind, and DJ E-Man during a gathering with nearly 50 artists, DJs, producers, managers and media professionals.

“This event was created to help bring together Filipino music professionals in the industry so that they could come together to be inspired, meet one another, and feel empowered while connecting and networking to create more,” Roslynn Cobarrubias, global head of music and talent at ABS-CBN, told the Asian Journal. 

27-year-old Guapdad 4000, who is half Filipino on his mother’s side, was nominated for a Best Rap Album Grammy for his contributions on Dreamville’s collaboration album, “Revenge of the Dreamers III.” 

In his remarks, Guapdad 4000 noted how his rapper name came from his Lola always calling him ‘guapo’ (Tagalog for handsome) while growing up. 

The West Oakland native released his debut album “Dior Deposits” last October, which included features from Tory Lanez, 6LACK, Chance the Rapper, and G-Eazy.

“If you want to do this and do what I do, you can’t let up. A lot of doubted me, but it’s all about process, feeling and happiness. If you smiled, when you recorded something,” Guapdad 4000 told the Asian Journal. “Be genuine, follow the feeling, follow the music and people will come.” 

Known as DJ E-Man, Emmanuel Coquia was promoted to Director of Programming and Content for Meruelo Media last August. He heads the programming and music content for Meruelo Media’s Power 106 (KPWR-FM), 93.5 KDAY — both in Los Angeles — and oversees the initial stages of the new CALI 93.9 (KLLI-FM) Latin Rhythmic format. 

His younger brothers — DJ Virman of Far East Movement and DJ MikeeMike, director of operations and program director of Dash Radio — gave remarks prior to his award about how DJ E-Man influenced her own careers in the music industry.

Illmind, producer and songwriter, was surprised with a special honor at the lunch for his work with high-profile artists, such as Beyoncé, Kanye West, Drake and Ariana Grande. Illmind, whose real name is Ramon Ibanga, Jr., won his first Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album for his work on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s collaboration album “Everything is Love” in 2019. 

“All you really do is find your passion, keep doing it and just never stop…I’m out here having fun and I’m super humbled to have the opportunity to do this as a career. This is so amazing to see so many Filipinos doing their thing. I wish we could talk more and this is the beginning of creating that energy,” Illmind told the audience. 

“The goal is for people to see how talented Filipinos are, not only behind the scenes and in front of the camera or as songwriters and more,” Cobarrubias said. “I want people to increase the hiring of Filipino DJs, A&Rs, executives and more because they know we work hard, get the job done and create dope events.”

She cited events and programs like 143 Festival by SoSuperSam, who was also present at Friday’s lunch and “World of Dance” co-created by Filipinos Myron Marten and Dave Gonzales.

Also present at the pre-Grammy luncheon were singers AJ Rafael, Alex Ritchie, Melissa Polinar and Trace Gaynor and VJ Rosales of The Filharmonic, and Grammy-nominated producer DJ Flict.

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