YOU know you have discovered a gem when someone’s songs have the power to pierce through your heart and embrace your being; when he or she is able to put a smile back on your face and help you have a good cry when you need one.
Moira dela Torre is one such jewel. The singer leaves her listeners suffering from last-song syndromes (in millennial parlance: “LSS”) every time she performs her trademark “hugot” songs. With catchy melodies and earnest lyrics matched with her honesty and genuine emotion in singing, she has already made a mark on the masses’ music consciousness.
After joining the first season of ABS-CBN’s The Voice of the Philippines, dela Torre has kept her music career’s traction by lending her voice to TV commercials and radio ads for big brands that you had been singing along to, without knowing it’s actually her: from a laundry soap, an infant’s shampoo, a tummy medicine, a top-selling detergent, to a foreign fast-food chain.
Triumph over anorexia
THE 24-year-old singer turned to songwriting as a way to deal with her battle with anorexia, a result of her being bullied during her teen years.
Not knowing that she had the disorder, or that it was a mental condition to begin with, she needed an outlet to help her cope with such.
“It was coming to a realization that I wasn’t the only one hurting and hiding; [who was] insecure and fearful, [and] who felt alone.”
“I guess when you realize there are more people who go through what also you go through, and who feel rather voiceless, you’ll feel the need to let them know that they don’t have to go through it alone,” the upstart musician shared.
Truly an artist
BORN into a family of musicians, dela Torre quickly learned the intricacies of songwriting and arrangement. In fact, at the age of 12, she had written her first song After Your Heart, a God-oriented tune that talked about understanding one’s purpose and calling in life, rather than just going with the flow.
“We have a family choir, so at an early age, I know [that I could keep a] tune,” she shared. “So I started writing a poem, and it was also the time when my stepfather taught my first four chords on the guitar. [Everything took off from there],” the songwriter said in an interview.
WITH interest in making music and armed with a songwriting background, a big break was bound to happen. It did so when dela Torre caught the interest of Ivory Music that led to a recording contract for her eponymous debut album Moira in 2014.
The tracks in what she calls her “personal album” include Love Me Instead, Be My Fairytale, Happily Ever After, If You Tell Me You Love Me, After Your Heart and a duet with Sam Milby entitled, Wala Nang Kulang Pa.
There’s certainly no stopping de la Torre, now that she’s bringing her OPM career to full throttle and trying to become more influential in the industry, with all the “hugot” songs she writers herself.
DELA TORRE enjoyed mainstream popularity after the movie Camp Sawi, where her song Malaya served as one of the official soundtracks. It instantly became the anthem of all the brokenhearted—a song about setting one’s self free in the hope of finding happiness again.
“[It’s] about a lot of things and a lot of people. And although what triggered it was a person, I penned the rest with so many other things in mind. In the end, from setting another person free, it became about setting myself free: from depression, things I can’t control, people I can’t please, and people I can’t have,” she explained.
Contrary to the song’s theme of letting go, her emotion-filled voice enfolds each listener—whether he or she is suffering from the pains of love, or otherwise. The live rendition of her biggest hit aboard the Wish 107.5 Bus earned her first music accolade. She took home two Wish Awards in January: Wishclusive Contemporary Folk Performance of the Year, and Wishclusive Viral Video of the Year at the third Wish 107.5 FM Music Awards.
THE songstress also achieved a record no OPM artist has ever done before, after ranking first in the Philippines’s Top 50 charts of leading music streaming service Spotify with her song Titibo-tibo. Dela Torre’s ditty was streamed 214,877 times within 24 hours. It outlasted foreign entries and secured the top spot for that period.
Composed by Libertine Amistoso, the fun pop track is about a girl who finds herself acting more lady-like after falling in love with a guy.
Her interpretation of the song was hailed as the winner of the Himig Handog 2017, the biggest Filipino songwriting competition organized by ABS-CBN and Star Records. Interestingly, dela Torre used to just submit entries. She however became one of the interpreters, and it’s no surprise that she bagged the title of the music competition.
Music, poetry, surprises
AFTER all the accomplishments and awards dela Torre has achieved, she still continues to turn her dreams into reality—slowly, but surely. The Star Music Artist has successfully staged a two-night show before a jam-packed crowd in her first major solo concert at the Kia Theater on February 17 and 18.
With dried leaves scattered on the floor of the venue as well a stage full of trees, wooden chairs and autumn leaves, concert-goers went on an emotional rollercoaster ride during the 3-hour concert.
Her Tagpuan concert, named after the song she recently wrote, featured several guests, who included Richard Poon, Kiana Valenciano, Claudia Barretto, Iñigo Pascual and Filipino-American singer AJ Rafael.
She also performed a medley of the official soundtracks of various films and TV shows she herself sang. This included Marco’s Theme (Saglit) from the TV series “The Better Half,” Sundo from “The Good Son,” Torete from the blockbuster film “Love You To The Stars,” as well as Back and You Are My Sunshine from the movie “Meet Me in St. Gallen.”
Spoken-word acts from Bela Padilla, Brian Vee and Angelica Panganiban also gave the audience a taste of their heartbreak-inspired pieces.
Initially scheduled on February 17, the concert was declared as “sold out” four days after tickets were released. Due to public demand, it opened for a repeat on the following night.Never in her wildest dreams did dela Torre anticipate this kind of support from her supporters.
“When I prayed for a concert, I didn’t expect it to be sold out—let alone have a repeat. My heart is overwhelmed,” shared the singer-songwriter on her Facebook page.Dela Torre is the lady of surprises on the night she released her sophomore album Malaya in her star-studded show. The album is a narrative of feeling the pain and finding hope in the end.
It was supposed to be released in March, but her management decided to exclusively sell copies before they commercially hit the stores. Her team sold Malaya tees, pins and stickers as well. Dela Torre has also added a new dimension to concerts, where here in the Philippines, they were usually lively, full of dancing and singers hitting the high notes. But with her, it was totally different. She did it in her own style, and the people loved it.
She said she did not expect the massive turnout and the kind of warm welcome from her fans.
She said, ‘Yes!’
DELA TORRE also made waves online in April when she launched the official music video of her Tagpuan single, the highlight of which was the surprise proposal she received from boyfriend and now fiancée Jason Hernandez.
The singer said she had no idea Hernandez, whom she had been friends for seven years, would be proposing during the shoot. “When Kuya Pratty (John Prats, the director of her concert) and I were conceptualizing the whole music video, [it was about my life]. We wanted to incorporate [the idea that just] because you come from a broken family, it doesn’t mean your future is going to be broken also,” said dela Torre in a TV interview. “On a cliff at sunset, my best friend asked me the easiest question I have ever had to answer,” she happily shared on her Instagram account her engagement.
Being the hardest song she had ever written, her spoken word-inspired composition Tagpuan took two years to be finished. Only after meeting Hernandez, dela Torre finalized it in just a matter of ten minutes. She then came to a realization that the piece she meant to write as a heartbreak song was actually one about hope. No doubt, it holds a special meaning to the composer.
Queen of Emotions
DELA TORRE just wrapped up another concert on June 1 at the Big Dome, alongside American band Boyce Avenue. Its members are among those who believe that the Filipina can make it big internationally. “From what we’ve seen in the videos, she’s the Queen of Emotions,” lead guitarist Fabian Manzano said in a news conference. “People all over the world want to see that genuine emotion. We are excited to see what happens with her. I think it’s going to be incredible,” Manzano added. His band members also revealed they plan to do a musical collaboration with dela Torre in the future.
“This is just the beginning of our good working relationship,” the band shared, referring to the just-concluded concert. “We are looking for a possible collaboration with her, so we just have to find the right songs that will empower our deep emotion and passion [for singing].” A few days later in Singapore, dela Torre once again took the stage as she shared an intimate performance with the Queen of R&B, Kyla, in the “Kyla x Moira” concert on June 17.
After a decade of hard work, multiple covers, endless songwriting sessions, a whole lot of prayers, a bunch of auditions, and even a few heartbreaks, dela Torre has rightfully carved her name in the Philippine music industry by proving that she is more than just a singer of “hugot” songs.