It won’t be long before everyone knows the name, Philip Lagabelo. He is a talented musician and soul singer, captivating any audience lucky enough to see him perform. I have seen firsthand the way a roomful of people fall instantly under his spell, hanging on every word and soulful note. And now, his talent will be televised for the rest of Indonesia to see, as he competes on The Voice Indonesia, 2019.
Originally from Bajawa, Flores, Philip only moved to Bali in 2015 to pursue his dream as a professional musician. He first tried out for a music competition in 2010, but says that he didn’t win because he wasn’t ready. He remained in Flores and used his time to develop his voice, singing with friends and working on his skills. During this time he met a girl who sang in and travelled with her band, and she told Philip that if he was ready to be serious about his music, he must leave Flores and move to Bali. A self-taught musician, Philip was nervous about taking the leap of faith, but he decided to follow his passion and by 2015 he was living in and playing with a blues band in Bali.
In October 2016, Rob and Jo Brierley were sitting in the former Trophy Bar having dinner and listening to a band...but not the band performing in Trophy Bar! They could hear a deep, creamy voice coming from the restaurant next door, and ended up turning their chairs around (much like the judges on The Voice), to see where this voice was coming from.
At the end of the set, they went over to tell Philip and Joe how much they enjoyed their music and that was the beginning of them playing at Beach House Sanur, formerly Stiff Chilli. The first time they performed, Philip was singing and playing ukulele while Joe was on guitar. They played for five hours straight – it was new to everyone and no one really knew what breaks they should take and when!
Since then, Philip and Joe have played regular gigs at Beach House Sanur and Café Smorgas, as well as weddings and events including playing to a crowd of nearly 500 people at the Evening on the Green held at Hatten Wines, Sanur. There were times were Philip’s voice was the only sound you could hear as the audience were totally mesmerised by the music.
Philip says that singing soul music can be an emotional experience, and not just for the audience. As a singer, hitting the high notes while being moved by the music is something that inspires him to do his best on stage every single night.
And he used this emotional drive when performing in the blind auditions for The Voice Indonesia. There to cheer him on was his girlfriend Sam, and his friends Joe and Carmella, but it was also important for him to have his Australian ‘family’ with him so he asked Jo and Rob to join him in Jakarta as well. It was a proud moment for everyone when Philip took to the stage.
He says the audition experience was nerve-racking, but that he was also left feeling exhilarated by the process. Rob recalls it a little differently saying that Philip seemed relaxed and calm; in fact he fell asleep while waiting for his turn. But when he wasn’t sleeping, Philip talked to all the other singers, encouraging them and making them feel positive about the experience and the chance to perform on stage. Then it was Philips turn...
It was no surprise to anyone who has ever heard Philip sing that he did an incredible job at the blind auditions, getting through to the next live rounds. His family in Flores will no doubt be cheering wildly when they see him perform. Even though their traditional Flores farming lifestyle is so different to Philip’s life as a musician, he has their loyal and enthusiastic support. This is something that Philip is especially grateful for, and he is blown away by the community support and excitement for this new chapter and challenge. He is especially grateful to everyone who came to Jakarta to be with him while he auditioned in front of the judges.
Make sure you tune into The Voice Indonesia to watch Philip and cheer him on, and of course head down to Beach House Sanur on a Wednesday and Sunday to see the Philip Lagabelo magic for yourself.