Bidyo’s Filipino American Hall of Fame: apl.de.ap

apl.de.ap is the ninth honoree of Bidyo’s new show, Filipino American Hall of Fame and the ninth episode airs this Monday, October 10th!  Bidyo is a new YouTube channel created by FilAm Creative.  Bidyo’s mission is to produce and promote content from emerging Filipino American talent.  Subscribe to the Bidyo Channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7-cvvEYApGwFOO337gUZuQ    

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apl.de.ap headlined the 25th year Silver Celebration of the annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture this past Saturday (October 8, 2016) at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, California this Filipino American History Month.  He closed when he sang the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” with special guest performers Vincent Rodriguez III and Tess Paras (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Leslie-Anne Huff (The Vampire Diaries), Roshon Fegan (Camp Rock, Shake It Up), STAHYL (of JABBAWOCKEEZ), Asia Aragon, Ranella Ferrer and Roslynn Cobarrubias (MyxTV’s mydiveo)

Born and raised in Angeles City, Pampanga in the Philippines, he came to the U.S. thru a sponsorship program for orphaned children for a better life.  The program took him to Los Angeles.  The Black Eyed Peas were born when he met will.i.am while studying at John Marshall High School in 1988.

But, prior to the formation of the Black Eyed Peas, they were the Atban Klann (A Tribe Beyond a Nation), a hip hop group whose members were Will 1X, apl.de.ap, Mookie Mook, DJ Motiv8 (AKA Monroe Walker), and Dante Santiago. The Atban Klann were signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. Will 1X (who later changed his stage name to will.i.am) and apl.de.ap were first signed by Eazy-E in 1992.  They made their debut on Eazy-E’s EP, 5150: Home 4 tha Sick on the track entitled “Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas”. Soon after, the duo recorded their debut album, Grass Roots which was to be released on October, 1992, the album was shelved shortly before its release. The duo would stay with Ruthless until they were dropped from the label after Eazy-E’s death in 1995.

After Eazy-E death in 1995, Atban Klann reformed and changed their name to Black Eyed Pods, and then Black Eyed Peas. Danté Santiago was replaced with Jaime Gomez (Taboo).  After being signed to Interscope Records and releasing their 1998 debut, Behind the Front, they received critical acclaim.  Their single, “Joints & Jam” was featured on the Bulworth soundtrack.

Their second album was 2000’s Bridging the Gap which included the single “Request + Line” featuring Macy Gray.

When work began on a third Black Eyed Peas album in 2001, a female vocalist was heavily considered for one of the tracks.  Originally, fellow FilAm Nicole Scherzinger (former lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls) was approached to make a guest appearance on the record. She was forced to decline because she already was signed to a contract with Eden’s Crush.

Danté Santiago then introduced Stacy Ferguson (Fergie) to will.i.am who was impressed with her vocal talents. She immediately formed a bond with the band and became a permanent member of the Peas and her photo was printed onto the album cover. In the United States, 2003’s Elephunk reached #14 on the Billboard Top 200 and is their first album to chart in the Top 15. It gained even more commercial success in the UK Album Charts where it reached #3. It has sold over 1.6 million copies in the UK and 8.5 million copies worldwide. The singles “Where Is The Love?” and “Shut Up” reached #1.

“Let’s Get It Started” also received universal acclaim in the media section where a cover version of the song appears in the 2015 film, Hot Tub Time Machine.  Below is the 2004 original.

“The Apl Song” is the first song about the Philippines to be intergrated into the Black Eyed Peas’ discography.  The song is about apl.de.ap’s upbringing in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines.  The song also touched on his emigration to the United States as well as the continuing social struggles and acceptance of Pinoys and Filipinos in the USA who sacrificed their own lives for a better life for their families, children and descendants.  The 2004 music video was produced by Kid Heroes Productions’ Patricio Ginelsa (filmmaker/editor; 2000’s The Debut, 2003’s Lumpia, 2014’s Black Tiger: Hunter Hunted and the upcoming Lumpia 2) and Xylophone Films’ A.J. Calomay (producer/co-editor; 2003’s Lumpia and the upcoming Lumpia 2; editor of 2014’s Black Tiger: Hunter Hunted, 2015’s Cross, 2016’s Get Used To It and currently the assistant editor of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow television series). [link]  

Their fourth album, 2005’s Monkey Business went platinum three times in the U.S.A. and six times in Canada and Australia.  The album’s tracks earned the group four 2006 Grammy Award nominations and they also won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Don’t Phunk with My Heart”.

They released their fifth studio album, The E.N.D. (“The Energy Never Dies”) in 2009.

Three promotional singles, “Imma Be”, “Alive” and “Meet Me Halfway”, were released through the iTunes Store in the three weeks running up to the album’s release. The album gave the group their first, second, and third US number one hits with “Boom Boom Pow”, “I Gotta Feeling”, and “Imma Be” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 12, 14, and 2 weeks respectively. “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling” led the Hot 100 back to back, putting the band at #1 on the chart for a record breaking 26 consecutive weeks (half a year). The third single, “Meet Me Halfway”, along with the first two, topped several charts around the world including the United Kingdom and Australia. In 2011, the album has sold over 11 million copies worldwide, making it one of the biggest commercial successes for the music industry in recent years.

The E.N.D was nominated for six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Album of the Year, and Record of the Year for “I Gotta Feeling”, and won the award for Best Pop Vocal Album.

“Bebot” was released in the Philippines, Asia and Australia on August 4, 2006. The title of the song is derived from a Filipino slang word analogous to “babe”, playing the English slang term for “hot chick”.  The song contains samples from a song by Filipino folk band Asin (one of apl.de.ap’s favorite groups); the acoustic part in the beginning of “Bebot” is sampled from the song “Ang Bayan Kong Sinilangan”.

Two music videos for the song were broadcast and produced by Kid Heroes Productions’ Patricio Ginelsa and Xylophone Films’ A.J. Calomay in 2006.  The music videos for Generation 1 and Generation 2 of “Bebot” features primarily Filipinos and Filipino Americans such as Jasmine Trias (American Idol) and Dante Basco (Hook). [link]

In partnership with the Philippines’ Department of Tourism, apl.de.ap recorded and performed the song “Take Me to The Philippines” in 2009. He has been regularly visiting his home country to fulfill his role as a peace and tourism ambassador.

In 2009, he released his solo album, U Can Dream with two released singles: “U Can Dream” (featuring Florante) and “Mama Filipina”.

2010’s The Beginning is the sixth album with three hit singles: “The Time (Dirty Bit)”, “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Don’t Stop The Party”.  The album and its released singles became international hits.

On October 2011, apl.de.ap launched his new advocacy campaign with a song called “We Can Be Anything” for education, encouraging children in the Philippines and around the world to stay in school.

Also in 2011, he was part of another campaign with the Department of Tourism, Philippines (DOT Philippines) to promote not only the country’s various destinations, but also in encouraging humanitarian work among foreign travelers.

Later, he teamed up with the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF), 57-75 Movement, and the Department of Education. apl.de.ap and NCAF plan to build 10,000 classrooms in two years or less through the advocacy.

In, October 2012, apl.de.ap teamed up with Smart Communications to release a music video called “Jump In” featuring American Idol Season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez.

Today, apl.de.ap uses his success and his power of positivity to motivate and support up-and-coming Filipino American artists either by opening up his new independent record label, BMBX Entertainment sourcing a pool of talent from the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia to being one of the hosts/judges/guest mentors of The Voice In The Philippines such as Season 1 semi-finalist Jessica Reynoso and Slapshock.

In October of 2015, the White House Initiative on AAPIs and the White House Office of Public Engagement hosted the first-ever White House Celebration of Filipino American History Month.  In line with celebrating the diverse talents of the community, the Celebration highlighted prominent Filipino Americans in different sectors of society, including the arts, entertainment, and dance industries.  Billy Dec, member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, moderated a panel with Filipino American trailblazers, which included Jo Koy as well as Cristeta Comerford (the first Filipino American White House Executive Chef); Apl.de.ap (Co-Founder of the Black Eyed Peas); Cassie (singer); Geena Rocero (model and founder of Gender Proud) and Ronnie del Carmen (Co-Director of Pixar Animation Studios).  The speakers highlighted how they have blazed the trail in their respective fields, and recognized the role that their families – especially their mothers – played throughout their experiences.

A new version “#WHERESTHELOVE” by The Black Eyed Peas featuring The World was released on August 31, 2016, in collaboration with a great number of artists within the music industry. The proceeds of the charity single will go to educational programs.

Written by Edwin Santos (10/10/16).

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FilAm Creative (FAC) is an all volunteer community organization dedicated to the advancement of Filipino-Americans in entertainment and media.

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