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On Loop: Tothapi’s take on unconditional love

On Loop: Tothapi’s take on unconditional love

A year ago when I said that Tothapi was the next big thing in music, I meant it with my whole hopeful heart.

To be able to see them perform, even in just small smoky bars, open air restaurants, and wedding parties, is a privilege in itself. Because I know for a fact that they are just in the precipice of greatness. Sooner or later, I would have to elbow myself out of a jampacked Tothapi concert and think about how far they have come from being small-town artists.

I had the chance to talk to the band’s front man and vocalist, Kobe Dionela, again after his video of him singing then-unreleased Celeste went viral on TikTok.

@kobdionela Unreleased song 🥹 #acousticcovers #love ♬ original sound – Kob Dionela

Back then, Kobe considered his TikTok account as an open diary, which was meant only for his friends to see. But when his video unexpectedly racked up hundreds and thousands of views, it opened another portal for him and his band.

“For me, it was a very good timing kasi [ang sagot] ko palagi kapag may [nagtatanong] kung bakit di pa kami kilala o sikat is ‘hindi pa namin siguro oras’ at ngayon biglaan yung opportunity na dumating. Sobrang nakakatuwa yung pagtangkalik ng iba. Iyak lang ako habang nagbabasa ng comments nila.”

Next thing he knew several well-know artists left comments on his video. Musicians like Kyle Echarri, Jeremy Glinoga, John Roa, and Johnoy Danao, who is also a Bicolano, are among the personalities who expressed their admiration for the song. Even actress Jessy Mendiola showed her appreciation for the song as seen on her Instagram story.

Kobe shared what he felt when he saw their comments.

“Iba ‘yung feeling. I know the song is special personally. Pero ‘yung manggaling na din mismo sa ibang mga artists [‘yung positive comments] ang nakadagdag pa sa pagtingin ko sa song. Lalo na nung si Johnoy Danao na mismo nagcomment dahil marami sa kanya nagmention dun. Kinilig ako.”

But Kobe was not the only one who was riding high. The rest of Tothapi were ecstatic because of the traction their song was gaining.

Keyboards: Jeebay Dellosa, Vocals: Kobe Dionela, Guitar: Michael Jamlang, Drums: Aaron Bordeos, Trumpet: Jr Llaguno, Trombone: Paul Lagrimas, Saxophone: Vince Dionela

“Na-hype din po sila and, at the same time, in-assure ko mga ka-banda ko na sa Tothapi ‘yung song kasi ‘yung grupo ko ‘yung naninawala sa akin simula pa dati.”

But how did Kobe come up with such beautiful prose in the form of Celeste?

“I wrote four songs noong ECQ, isa [ang Celeste] dun. Tungkol siya sa kung ano para sa akin ang unconditional na pag-ibig. Kung hanggang saan ba? Lulong din ako noon sa mga pelikula na nire-recommend ng tropa ko. Kay Forrest Gump tapos Jenny.”

He also said that the song was meant for the people he loved.

But Celeste wouldn’t be Celeste without the brilliant talents of Tothapi’s members. They made sure to pour their hearts out into the song and that’s probably why it came out as heavenly as it is.

“Nagrecord kami ng acoustic version [ng Celeste] gamit DIY na setup. Sinimplehan lang kasi ‘yun ‘yung nagustuhan ng mga naka-discover nung kanta eh. Tinulungan din kami ni Sir JP Verona, by suggesting kung ano maayos na mix and siya nag-master nung kanta. Nakakamangha siya kasi lumabas talaga yung tunog ng song,” the vocalist shared.

And as of writing, the song already reached more than 1.2 million streams on Spotify and 181,000 views on YouTube.

The numbers have spoken. Tothapi is one step closer to claiming their spot in the roster of up-and-coming musicians in the Philippines. All because of Celeste.

“Sincere at pure yung kanta. Di ko in-artehan at naging honest lang ako sa pagsulat ng song. Makakarelate lahat ng mga nagmamahal, gusto magmahal at [gustong] makaranas ng ganoong klaseng pagmamahal.”

What’s in store for Tothapi now that their horizons have widened? Kobe shares his excitement for their future.

“I want to show sa lahat na pwedeng matupad ang pangarap kapag pinagta-trabahuhan at nagtitiwala sa plano ng Diyos. Gusto ko makita [na] kaming lahat [ay] stable sa future, may magandang pinagsamahan, at marami pang projects na nagawa. Gusto namin maging magandang ehemplo din at inspirasyon sa mga kapwa naming banda.”

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♬ original sound – Kob Dionela

After the success of Celeste, the band put out another swoon-worthy song that would make the hopeless romantics daydream about love and the cynics believe in love.

A raw preview of Tothapi’s new song Tahimik Lamang was released on Kobe’s TikTok account, now joined on screen by his band members.

@kobdionela Pasilip muli mula sa mga unreleased songs namin! ❤️✨ we need ur support hehe salamaaat! enjoyyyy #tothapi #opm #chillsong #lovesong #fyp #tahimiklamang #originalsong ♬ original sound – Kob Dionela

They have since uploaded the song on their Spotify and YouTube channel.

In an open letter addressed to their supporters, Tothapi shares the story behind their new song and thanks their fans for all the love they continuously give to the band.

“Tahimik Lamang” is a song composed by Tothapi that mirrors a relationship where you just cherish the world you created with someone through pure intentions and wholesome emotions. It is a form of love that assures you in ways where even the simplest and the most mundane things turn in to events that you look forward to everyday. The jazz-pop vibe bottled in this song makes you want to hold your special someone tightly and own the world you both created amidst the chaos that surrounds, because it’s just the two of you against the world.”

“For our passionate fans and avid listeners who have been wholeheartedly showering us with support from the beginning of our journey, we hope that you receive the type of love you deserve and crave for whilst giving it back to people who captured your hearts. Much Love, Tothapi.”

Photo by Thea Brotamante

Give Tothapi some love by streaming their songs on Spotify and YouTube. You can also be a Tothapeep by following their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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