by Aldus Santos
Forget what you’ve seen and heard of her on television. This new version (and vision) of Hya is a real revelation.
We live in talent-show country, where sequins and diva stylings are routinely applauded. In more recent times, though, it has come to mean something else: being the splayed frog under the microscope, and miming the relishing of it.
The San Carlos, Negros Occidental-bred singer Lee’Anna Weber Layumas knows this, and she’s seen it for herself while gracing different stages, Rising Stars Philippines, Just Duet, and The Will to Win among them.
But it wasn’t until she landed a stint in Bangon Talentadong Pinoy when perspective—the kind that’s beyond hollow pandering and empty theatrics—would truly work in her favor. That perspective came in the shape and form of erstwhile judge Alessandra de Rossi, who ultimately saw beyond what was being actively shown.
“She sounded like an angel, and my world just stopped. I knew in my heart that this girl, given a chance, could be someone new singers can look up to,” De Rossi says of the Fil-German chanteuse. To some extent, the actress-turned-filmmaker’s raucous fangirling would be the crux of the birthing of AWOOO Records, which formally launches today (September 24).
“Her voice is different. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone like her,” De Rossi adds, and she certainly wasn’t talking entirely literally.
Layumas, who now goes by Hya, is doubtless a voice to be reckoned with, and that voice is by no means anchored on sheer skill and technical acumen alone. De Rossi describes it as “soothing and contemplative,” a ghostly presence rather than a commandeering one, in a manner of speaking.
All of this becomes more readily apparent with the release of her maiden single “Raindrops,” an inspiring, slow-burn bit of pop splayed on a bed of sparse textural accompaniment, courtesy of ace producer Nick Lazaro over at La Balls, who also plays on the track.
A piano-driven bit of self-help mantra, it speaks of how “we feel consumed and drenched, deeming that there’s no way out of this chaos,” Hya shares, proceeding to talk of how, despite the easy-on-the-ears spirit of her material, “Songwriting doesn’t come easy.” She adds, “Whenever you’re in the zone, just keep that notepad close.”
A “bob-worthy” follow-up track is in the works. But for now, a red-carpet rollout is in order. In a world which “sucks you in and spits you out,” Hya’s music is indeed a ray of sunshine.