It’s no surprise that I’ve been on a Filipino music, TV, and movie kick the past few months, so lately I’ve been trying to take a few steps away from OPM and have been taking a good look at my iPod (which I just discovered has an obscene amount of songs, it’s slightly embarrassing lol). Starting with the A’s I stumbled upon my favorite YouTuber, AJ Rafael.
Circa 2008, AJ was one of the very first singer-songwriters I followed on YouTube – along with Jennifer Chung, Marié Digby, Gabe Bondoc, and Jeremy “Passion” Manongdo (although I knew of him long before YouTube became a platform for these talented artists). It was so refreshing to go through AJ’s songs again. When I first came across him, I was so impressed and inspired by his talent – out of this world extraordinary. He has a very distinct tone, one that I would recognize anywhere.
I remember during that time, when I was short of obsessed with AJ, I would spend hours watching his videos on YouTube, listening to his songs on my iPod, and let’s not forget about the late night, early morning hours spent watching his live streams on BlogTV – wow, instant flashback. I’m pretty sure my friends and family can attest to a time when I was like “AJ…this” and “AJ…that”. Fangirl much?
I was fortunate enough to see him live a few times, and each time better than the last. His love for music is evident every time he performs, but even more than that, his love for his family, friends, and supporters shines through every performance.
Alongside his talented friends, AJ organized several benefit concerts called “Music Speaks” to raise awareness and money for the organization Autism Speaks (which hits close to home for him and his family). For such a young individual, it’s needless to say how inspiring he genuinely is.
It’s been a long while since I last saw AJ perform live, and I really need to make an effort to make it out next time he’s in town.
There are a few other songs like “I Just Want You”, “Showstopper”, “Matchmaker”, and his collaboration with Filipino duo Krissy & Ericka on “Rewind” that I wish were on Spotify, but here’s a small sample of what he can do. Take a listen, you won’t be disappointed.