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Manila, Philippines

The Man Behind is A Woman: Audry, Chynna and Marey stands independent on the main stage of music

Updated: Apr 2

Makati, Philippines -- Independent labels have been making a buzz globally in terms of their unorthodox approach on running the business of music. Breaking the tradition, they engrave their mark by giving creative freedom to their artists and allowing them to create more meaningful anthems that connect to the listeners way beyond mainstream. This brave move that is carving a powerful movement to the artists speak a lot on how times have changed.

Just Another Morning

It was an early call time on a Sunday morning, we arrived at Poblacion to shoot and talk to these three trailblazing women in today's OPM scene. Not your usual feature as you might expect. But we choose differ. Hearing the stories from experiences and the ropes of being the one in charge in an industry full of character coming from different angles.

Audry Dionisio, General Manager of OffShore Music Philippines

Chynna Ortaleza-Cipriano, Vice President of OC Records

Marey Garcia, Label Head of Tarsier Records

Audry arrived coming from a Sandwich-Pupil reunion gig the night before it driving all alone in her pickup. Chynna was fixing some stuff related to the recent US-Canada tour of Kean Cipriano, Adie and Unique Salonga along the way to the venue. Marey on the other hand landed that morning from Palawan and went straight ready for what's to come. We wanted to kick-off with caffeine but all of them have other plans as they all don't drink coffee. They just don't need it. It made me wonder how do they manage to function without it. Everyone did their look for this shoot.

They came as they are. Raw. Real. Confident.

The Rise of the Independent Record Labels

Independent record companies have become essential venues for supporting a wide range of talent and artistic expression in the dynamic and expansive Philippine music scene. Major record labels receive most of the attention, but independent labels frequently push the envelope, support underground movements, and give voice to voices that might not otherwise be heard. The noteworthy thing about these indie record labels is how many women are leading them; they are shattering preconceptions and changing the perception of the industry.

Not only are these women leaving their imprint, but they are also changing what it means to be a leader in the music industry—a traditionally male-dominated area. Their contributions are essential to the liveliness and diversity of the Filipino music industry, ranging from discovering up-and-coming musicians to creating distinctive sounds.

As I browse through today's OPM lineup which their labels have a huge contribution to its success, I am now seated with the women pulling the strings behind. We live right now in the "Creative Era" where creatives are now recognized to what they have been contributing to society and it's best to know that with the evolution of the way we all work, leadership is adapting as well.

Picking the Brains of the Brains

As it is no secret that we choose having them with the intention of our Women's Month Digital cover, we discussed topics and just let it all out on the table as we exchange insights, constructive criticisms and stand of being a woman in this industry.

There have been a lot of changes that took place over the years when it comes to being a woman in the music industry. To be more specific, how women are treated now compared to how it was before.

Chynna led the way by saying, "One of the best things I have experienced personally in the past six years being in the industry is that the male perspective is more respectful of what we can contribute to the industry."

"Way back when I was out there watching as a fan, most of the head of the labels are male. Pag sinabi mong nag-babanda yan. It's men. But now, as I see my peers here, you see that women are more empowered. We are getting more of the trust. Not just from male leaders but from everyone." Marey added.

Audry on the other hand gave her two-cents as to what she experienced from being part of a band and now working at the backend. "I used to be in an all-female band in the early 2010s. Being in a band back then, it was always highlighted na "all-female". We are not referred to not just a band but it needs to always have a tag for "all-female". Back then, how I would see it is, we're a band. You don't say, "all-male" band naman di ba. So what's that about. Now, as more women share the industry, you don't get to hear na "female label head" o "female general manager" and it's great. The label has been dropped. Now, it's really all about the music."

"I don't feel like the male that I have worked with don't feel threatened on what I can put on the table. In fact they look forward to the suggestions and ideas. Align with it, I would like to acknowledge the women that had to bare with discrimination & disrespect from society. They paved the way. They worked hard for us to be able to enjoy what we do at the moment." Chynna further noted.

When we moved on to discussing barriers that they have experienced or continue to experience in today's landscape, the three has lot more to share.

Marey started out by sharing, "The stereotype of a woman, sometimes they would make you feel that you are weak, or your taste would be biased for girls. But for me, I treat it more of a challenge more than a barrier. An opportunity for growth."

"Barriers that I've dealt with as a General Manager, lately wala." Audry confidently answered. "I have already found my footing in the space I am in. But getting my space in this position, there were times where I had to speak extra loud not just literally but also figuratively I had to assert myself to earn the respect of my colleagues and peers that are men. This is not to down play men, but that's just the way it was."

"Alpha males in the workplace. Sometimes nasa event ka tapos parang ayaw ka nila pakinggan. It pushes you to sound and show that you are in control or intimidating bago pa sumunod." Garcia added.

Chynna also says, "Now, how I think is I have to strive harder to maintain the standard and headspace the society is in now in terms of equality so that the women in the future would feel like they have something to contribute, they are valid and they have power in the industry."

"It's fulfilling to know that the male people I work with now, respect my thoughts, respect my opinions. We are now in a good place." Dionisio ended.

Things we learned

I personally intend to have the first release of "The Man Behind" column to showcase women. Because wins are not earned by gender. It is built on hard work, sacrifices and the ability to create something out of what you have as of the moment.

The music industry is partly business. It has its rules written all over it. It has guidelines and compliances every artist needs to understand for you not to be lost navigating around it. But none of those rules state that for you to have a place at the head of the table, you need to be a man. The music industry is partly society as well. A community. And it's a space where all forms should be equal.

There are a lot of saying we all grew up with that needs to be revised. Thoughts that grew with change. One of those that I live by is the saying, "Behind every strong man is a woman." It's about time we start living with,

"BESIDE every strong man is a strong woman."


Creative Collective | Artists @chynsortaleza @audryhempburns @mareygarcia Creative Direction by @thenewhueph | Photography by @crayonskies | Hair/Make up by Chynna Ortaleza-Cipriano, Audry Dionisio and Marey Garcia | Cover story by H Produced/Art Direction by @thenewhueph | Location @astburyph



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