Throughout the years, MTV has proven itself as the premier channel for music lovers and enthusiasts everywhere. Whether it’s looking for the latest music videos from your favorite artists or finding tracks to loop on your mobile devices, MTV is the go-to channel for all-things music. And with the newly launched MTVph, Filipino viewers can expect nothing less from the channel that’s brought them noteworthy beats and songs from both local and international artists.
This month, MTVph ups-the-ante by introducing Filipino-Irish singer and songwriter, Jess Connelly as the first-ever MTV Buddy and the host of the new show, MTV Fuel.
Jess Connelly first began her music journey at a young age, when her mother used to drive her from city to city for voice lessons. Since then, she’s been very passionate about creating music and promoting local talent. Recently, she garnered praise for the four-track EP she’s released with CRWN.
Today, Connelly has a following of more than 80,000 people online and her followers continue to grow each day.
InqPOP! had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the R&B artist to discuss her new show, her title as the first MTV Buddy and her thoughts about the Filipino music scene:
InqPOP!: How does it feel being the first MTV Buddy here in the Philippines?
Connelly: It’s nice, exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking because there’s this [added] pressure on me [to do well]. But this type of show is very much up my alley ‘cause it’s something I’m very involved with, with local music and culture. And I’m excited for people to… I wouldn’t necessarily call it behind the scenes but what goes on within our local culture. Because I don’t think there’s really a show yet that shows that.
How do you feel about the title, MTV Buddy?
I like the term. I think it’s more approachable — sounds more friendly.
What can you tell us about your show, MTV Fuel?
As the first MTV Buddy for the newly launched MTVph, I will be hosting MTV Fuel — a music, culture, lifestyle-driven show. Every episode [of the show] will have a theme so all the segments, songs and features will coincide with the main topic that week. We just really want the youth to get excited about our own local culture and music.
Does this mean only local songs will be featured on the show?
I think mostly local — as much local content as we can get. But there will be a mixture [of genres]. It won’t be specific to my genre of R&B. There will also be different [genres] like the alternative scene and the rap scene. And this is because we want to highlight all the different parts of the music scenes here in the country.
We just had to ask, will you be performing any of your original songs in your show?
Maybe in the future, I’m not sure right now. But in the future, for sure. Also, my videos would premiere there. We just really want to highlight as much good local talent there [first]. So, my friends will be coming to the show and also a lot of people I listen to.
If given the chance who are the artists you’d love to perform with on your show, both locally and internationally?
For international, my number one is Rihanna. She’s like the number one artist that I idolize. [Though] there are a lot of people I idolize… like I can give you a full list like of people I’d like to work with but Rihanna is on the top of my list.
But locally, I do like Quest. I think his voice is amazing. I love him and I think he’s a great songwriter. Another local person [that I’d like to work with] may not be that known to many… he’s a producer named Justin De Guzman. He’s amazing! He’s also a producer for the talented artist, June Marieezy. So through the show, we just really want to expose from super known people to people who a lot of people wouldn’t have the chance to be exposed to.
Is MTV Fuel a venue to encourage Filipinos to patronize the other genres music here in the country?
Yeah, because I think there’s a new type of OPM. I think what dominates mostly here [in the Philippines] is not only the international [music] but also the music from the mainstream entertainment industry and that’s great… but there’s also a lot of artists here that don’t get as much exposure and I think that’s what we really want to highlight.
What is the importance of showing a spotlight on those artists, who lack exposure in the music scene?
As I experienced myself because I’m not mainstream, I’m independent, all of my music has grown through the internet and through underground venues. We don’t have the same advantage of having big labels push us through media and local networks. [And because of this] the masses don’t have access to us. So this is our way of just showing people what’s really going on [in the music scene], especially since this is not something new, it’s been breeding for years already. It’s just that people don’t see it unless you’re a part of the scene and I think it’s time we share it with everybody.
Why do you think some of these artists don’t easily get recognized by the mainstream media?
I think number one, not everyone wants to be mainstream. It’s 2017, I think it’s time to show that Filipinos have the artistry and [that they have] what an international artist can do — that’s what’s currently going on here. And sometimes with local mainstream, they feel that an audience will only accept this usual routine of what a celebrity has to do. But what they don’t know is that there is real artistry going on here. Instead of us feeling like we have to wait for international recognition, I think it’s time to start embracing our own local artists, who [start] from the writing, to the producing, to creating the aesthetic of their album cover — like these artists do everything nowadays. We want to show the world that ‘we do that too!” and it’s not just something left for the foreign industry — we have that going on here and it’s very much alive.
What would you say to aspiring Filipino artists today?
Take advantage of the internet because if you want to prove something, you can do it! You also don’t have to fit in some sort of role [presented by the media], you can totally be who you think you are in your head and what makes you feel good — and someone will like you. But remember that not everyone will like you and that’s fine, you will build your own crowd that loves you. It won’t happen overnight, and consistency is key.