‘Agencies tend to shy away from extremely political people, so I’m really, really grateful that they took me in’. said Dora Dorado, one of OC Records’ newest artists. Dora first made rounds on social for marrying dance moves with eye-opening social commentary on TikTok, and has since transformed the newfound fame into a radio gig and now, a record deal.
‘I was really surprised they approached me,’ said the University of the Philippines alum, who has faced his own share of backlash and threats for his stances. Undeterred, Dora now hosts ‘Sunday Palengke‘, a Trevor Noah-esque commentary show on YouTube.
Normally, having a squeaky clean image and micromanaging personal views is preferred to ensure longevity in the biz, but OC Records has opted for a different route. The label, founded by Chynna Ortaleza and Kean Cipriano, has opened its doors to talented misfits, or ‘Odd Creatures’, whose unorthodox traits are encouraged to be explored.
Take for example Mimiyuuuh, who initially didn’t want anything to do with the music scene.
‘I asked her ‘Gusto mo ba mag-release ng kanta?’, shared Kean during the virtual presser. ‘Sabi niya, ‘Opo, gusto ko, pero masyado ko nirerespeto ang OPM’, drawing chuckles from Mimi.
The hesitance was understandable, as the YouTube star was generally seen as a comedian first, hydration advocate second. What would the usually judgy pvblic think about this new venture?
But Kean was having none of it. ‘I said, the fact that you respect it means you can offer something different, a kickass track’. Eventually, ‘DYWB (Drink Your Water B*tch)‘ was born with written input from Mimi herself. And while hip-hop ‘purists’ might scoff at the track, the single perfectly reflects its artist – random, kooky but undeniably beloved by his audience.
The decision to explore creators that would otherwise be an afterthought starts with a mindset. According to Kean, he sees OC Records not just as a label, but also as an expanding community catering to various genres and content producers.
‘We’re not afraid to release whatever it is our artists want to say, because we believe art is an important part of society’. Another Odd Creature, Earl Generao, released two contrasting singles: the thought-provoking ‘Magkano Kaluluwa‘ and the lighthearted ‘Sumayaw (Sa Kanya-kanyang Kwarto)‘ in the same year.
‘Artists are blessed with the medium to explore perspectives. To jumpstart commentary’, added Chynna. ‘And I know some feel like that they don’t have a voice’.
‘So when [me and Kean] were given an opportunity to foster [empowerment], that was the first thing we mounted. We want artists to have creative freedom because their stories also serve as OC’s fuel’.
This freedom is only limited by the artist’s decision to stick by their ideals, especially in the face of brutal honesty. Sugarcoating isn’t in the company’s culture, after all.
‘We don’t guarantee our artists fame and fortune. What we can promise is that we’ll be there for them, in failure and in success. We’ll take care of you and your work’, said Kean.