Pop-Culturalist Chats with The Filharmonic

The Filharmonic

The Filharmonic sang and danced their way into the hearts of millions back in 2014, when they competed on NBC’s The Sing-Off. Since then, their rise to fame has been astronomical. They’ve had several appearances on The Late Late Show with James Corden, performing alongside Anna Kendrick and Shawn Mendes, made a cameo in Pitch Perfect 2, and toured internationally, but most importantly, the all-male, Filipino-American a cappella group is proudly representing and promoting their heritage. This year, VJ, Niko, Jules, Joe, and Trace released their new original single, “Dance Wit Me”, which won the ASCAP Expo Factor competition.

P-C: For our readers who may not be familiar with The Filharmonic, tell us about the band and how you guys were formed.
Jules: Niko, Joe, and I were already friends since we went to the same college, but it wasn’t until we found Trace and VJ through choral competitions that we decided to form The Filharmonic. We started rehearsing together to audition for The Sing-Off, we made it, and it all just clicked.

P-C: You guys have become an overnight sensation since competing on NBC’s The Sing-Off. You’ve had a cameo in Pitch Perfect 2, several appearances on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and embarked on a nationwide tour, performing alongside Linkin Park and The Black Eyed Peas. If you had to choose your favorite experience since forming the group, what would it be and why?
Trace: It definitely has been a whirlwind. I think one of my favorite moments was going back to perform in the Philippines for the first time. We started this group to promote Filipino-American talent and culture, so being able to go back to our roots and performing for our loyal fan base in the Philippines is so, so rewarding.

P-C: Being an all-male, Filipino-American band, you guys are a voice for an under-represented group in mainstream media. Do you ever feel that pressure and how has the reception been—especially with that community?
Niko: Sometimes I feel the pressure, but I like to think that that very same pressure is what drives our success. Knowing that we are aiding in helping represent the Filipino-American community means we cannot slack off, we need to keep working and show the world what the Fil-Am culture has to offer. Not only are we proud of the work we are accomplishing, but the fans we have made along the way seem to be proud and support us, as well. The Fil-Am community is special in that way—we are always trying to build each other up and help one another because we are all working towards the same goal.

P-C: Tell us about your new single and music video, “Dance Wit Me”. How did that come to fruition and what was the creative process like?
VJ: “Dance Wit Me” was a song I wrote for everyone who just loves to dance. Within the Filipino culture, line dancing and choreography are really popular, so I created a song that would incorporate that. We also came up with a cool dance that complimented the song. It’s just a fun song that everyone can just get up and dance to.

P-C: You had a performance at The Hotel Café recently. How was that?
Joe: We were so excited for the show because we don’t get to perform originals very often and we just released our latest original, “Dance Wit Me”.

P-C: Do you guys have any pre-show rituals or superstitions?
Niko: We like to calm ourselves through a prayer circle, immediately followed by pushing each other to get the adrenaline going. It’s just a loving push though, nothing too rough! We also say, “I love you and I trust you”, as we do it. We get the best of both worlds that way.

P-C: You guys have done a ton since forming in 2014. Is there anything left on your bucket list?
Jules: We are having a blast doing everything that we’re doing now with all the touring, music videos, etc., and now the plan is to ramp it up to an even bigger scale. We want to do an album full of original music, travel the world, and keep on rising!

Pop-Culturalist Speed Round

VJ

VJ

P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
VJ: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
VJ: Mean Girls

P-C: Favorite book?
VJ: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

P-C: Favorite play or musical?
VJ: Hamilton

P-C: Favorite social media platform?
VJ: Instagram

P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
VJ: Rascal Flatts

P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
VJ: “Rock With You”

P-C: What’s the first album you bought?
VJ: *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached

P-C: What was the first concert you attended?
VJ: *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached tour

Niko

Niko

P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Niko: The Bachelor or The Bachelorette

P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Niko: Tarzan

P-C: Favorite book?
Niko: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Niko: The Lion King or Wicked

P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Niko: YouTube

P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Niko: Marshmello

P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
Niko: “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey ft. Boyz II Men

P-C: What’s the first album you bought?
Niko: No Strings Attached – *NSYNC

P-C: What was the first concert you attended?
Niko: *NSYNC at The Honda Center

Jules

Jules

P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Jules: Keeping Up with the Kardashians

P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Jules: You Got Served

P-C: Favorite book?
Jules: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Jules: Book of Mormon

P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Jules: Twitter

P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Jules: We Are Scientists

P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
Jules: “How Deep Is Your Love”

P-C: What’s the first album you bought?
Jules: Astrolounge by Smash Mouth

P-C: What was the first concert you attended?
Jules: The Black Eyed Peas

Trace

Trace

P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Trace: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Trace: Bruce Almighty

P-C: Favorite book?
Trace: Harry Potter

P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Trace: Next to Normal

P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Trace: Twitter

P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Trace: Yellowcard

P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
Trace: “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel

P-C: What’s the first album you bought?
Trace: Millennium – Backstreet Boys

P-C: What was the first concert you attended?
Trace: Queen

Joe

Joe

P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Joe: Friends

P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Joe: White Chicks

P-C: Favorite book?
Joe: The Game of Thrones Series

P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Joe: Wicked

P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Joe: Instagram

P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Joe: I don’t have a specific artist, but I listen to a lot of opera.

P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
Joe: “Back At One” by Brian McKnight

P-C: What’s the first album you bought?
Joe: No Strings Attached – *NSYNC

P-C: What was the first concert you attended?
Joe: It was a Motown Christmas special featuring so many of my favorite artists like Destiny’s Child, Stevie Wonder, and Brian McKnight.

Make sure to subscribe to The Filharmonic’s YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Pick up “Dance Wit Me” on iTunes or Amazon

Photo Credit: Bobby Quillard / Grooming: Aliana Moss

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Kevin

Kevin is a writer living in New York City. He is an enthusiast with an extensive movie collection, who enjoys attending numerous conventions throughout the year. His favorite shows include Game of Thrones and The Flash.

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