Kyle Juliano is slowly going up the ladder to becoming the next big star in the Philippine music industry.
This Sillimanian used to only watch his singing idols perform on TV, but last Sunday, July 30, Kyle performed his song “Malapit Pa Rin” in a duet with TV actor Piolo Pascual on ABS-CBN’s ASAP, the longest-running musical variety show in the Philippines.
“Performing on national TV has always been my dream since I was a kid,” the 20-year-old Kyle said.
“Of course, I was very, very happy that I shared the stage with Piolo.”
“Ilang giingon that I’ll be singing “Malapit Pa Rin” lang, but then the next day they texted me to have a duet of the song with Piolo,” shared the Silliman Idol 2014 champion.
Kyle surely made his fellow Sillimanians proud.
“Malapit Pa Rin” is the song of his band The Chill Pills. It’s the Tagalog version of “Dekat Di Hati” (Close to my Heart), an Indonesian love song that talks about long distance relationships.
This song’s official music video by The Chill Pills has reached more than 150,000 views on YouTube.
“If it wasn’t for him (Raffy Cabristante) and if it wasn’t for the Chill Pills, I wouldn’t be able to get this far,” Kyle shared.
The Chill Pills was formed in 2015 in Manila by Cabristante, a mass communication graduate from Silliman, and his college mate, Katrin Arcala. Both have since moved on to build their own careers in media.
The present and the more known lineup was formed in November 2016, after Raffy finished writing “Malapit Pa Rin.”
“When we recorded the song at a friend’s house in December 2016, Kyle invited his high school bandmate JD Garcia to do lead guitar duties, hence our present lineup,” Raffy said.
However, before their song “Malapit Pa Rin” trended, Universal Records noticed Kyle earlier this year after his cover of James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” went viral.
His cover has now made over two million views and reposted by different Facebook groups like Filipino Vines and Mugstoria.
Last July, someone from ABS-CBN contacted the Chill Pills through their Facebook page. However, it was only Kyle, the lead vocalist, who got invited to perform on ASAP.
“I believed in my talent, that’s why I grabbed the opportunity,” said Kyle over a Facebook interview with the Weekly Sillimanian.
Kyle has now signed contracts with Universal Records. This Filipino label counts among its artists the music icons Gary Valenciano, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid and Parokya ni Edgar.
Kyle’s “Malapit Pa Rin” single will finally be available digitally on Aug.11.
Rocky Road en route to dream
But Kyle’s journey to where he is now was never easy.
Despite his soulful voice and passion for music, Kyle also failed.
He had auditioned in various local and national singing competitions like Tawag ng Tanghalan but did not make it.. He has also joined singing competitions where he won some and lost some.
But those failures never hindered him.
“Even though I told myself not to join television singing competitions anymore, I still continued making covers and just enjoyed them and I’m very thankful that someone noticed me,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges Kyle is yet to face en route to achieving his dream is living alone.
“This is the first time that I live away from my family,” Kyle said.
Kyle had to leave Silliman University to pursue his music career in Manila.
He transferred to University of the Philippines Diliman, still as an Electrical Engineering student.
“Gi-sacrifice jud nako ang Silliman. Di unta ko ganahan mu balhin but since this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, ni grab nalang jud ko,” he shared.
His family would also have wanted Kyle to continue his education in Silliman. But he decided to move to Manila at the suggestion of Universal Records.
“Lisod man kung Dumaguete-based ko. What if naay recording, mag sige kog balik-balik Manila. Kalas plete.”
Asked what he will miss about Silliman, Kyle said:
“Tanan actually, especially my block mates (huhu). I will miss Hibalag but I hope maka adto ko.”
In his new endeavor, Kyle finds strong support from family and friends.
“I am very proud of him,” said Lemuel Juliano, Kyle’s father.
“Every now and then, mo bisita ra iya Mama. Then every night mag video call lang mi sa iya para dili mingaw,” he added.
Kyle’s father is in Japan while his mother and his sister are in Dumaguete.
“As usual, bisan layo siya namo, we always do our evening devotion with him via group video call,” his father continued.
Lemuel has only two reminders for his son: Be humble and finish Electrical Engineering.
“Pag pray ug pagpasalamat sa opportunity nga gihatag kaniya sa Ginoo,” he added.
His father also thanked Kyle’s former schools, West City Elementary School, Dumaguete Science High School and Silliman University.
On the other hand, Kyle’s bandmates cannot help but be proud of him.
Raffy said, “Kyle is humble, chill, and super talented, and he deserves everything he has right now. I’m really glad that a song I wrote helped him to get to where he is now. Being a recording artist is something he’s always dreamed of.
“We never really expected that song to gain major exposure; jam-jam ra gud namo na sa una,” he added.