SHINE ON Review on Jamsphere Magazine

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“SHINE ON”: Dennis Sy featuring Natalie Jean and Darick DDS Spears – meant to enlighten, uplift and unite!

The track “SHINE ON” is the collaborative effort of hip-hop emcee and producer, Darick DDS Spears, the jazz-pop singer-songwriter, Natalie Jean, and award-winning pop-rock artist, Dennis Sy.  That we’re dealing with a quality crew is clear from the outset. Dennis is a Grammy member, Natalie has made the Grammy ballot twice and Spears has just had one of his songs nominated for the Global Peace Award in Hop-hop.

SHINE-ON-CoverTogether these three acclaimed and lauded artists deliver us a song that’s meant to enlighten, uplift and unite our spirits in a crusade against division and differences of any discriminating kind. The song itself evokes numerous emotions and thoughts right from the very first verse:

“Give me a second to catch my wind
Where do I begin?
Some say it’s a sin because of my skin.
Some say it’s us men who need to repent.
Showing hatred towards one another with no conviction.
Just listen!
I’m tired of these divisions…”

It’s all urban pop perfection, with the sound of an inescapable potential hit that doesn’t get boring, no matter how often you hit the repeat button.  Lyrically serious, the track comes accompanied by a frothy bubbling and bouncy soundtrack and the feeling that all might just be all right with the world, if only for a few minutes of dazzlingly executed song craft like this. Listen, learn and love, it’s quite simple if you just follow the chorus instructions:

“Shine on…Shine Through
Gotta give a little bit of you
For a better world & a better day
You know it’s true
When it all comes down to you
The time is now for us to change”

The question is, can we or will we? Music can only help to induce us into doing something, but WE actually need to do it. Darick DDS SpearsNatalie Jean and Dennis Sy lay it on the line with brilliantly infectious verses and choruses. The production is augmented by an organically driven acoustic beat, which helps give the song a cool groove that segues seamlessly into soulful choral chants providing most of the melodic and uplifting moments.

“SHINE ON” has the potential to please a wide range of pop and hip-hop fans. It’s a very catchy tune and it transcends a few different genres, so maybe people will be more open to it. The key of course is in the song’s musical reiteration and the conscious nature of its lyrics. The three oscillating performing styles by Darick DDS SpearsNatalie Jean and Dennis Sy add just enough interesting sparks to light the proverbial musical fire and build an appealing group identity that almost anyone can relate to.


Dennis Sy
Natalie Jean
Darick DDS Spears


SHINE ON Review on Sleepingbag Studios

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Dennis Sy – “Shine On” Featuring Natalie Jean & Darick DDS Spears – Single Review

It’d be hard not to appreciate the passionate power of enthusiasm in the pop-melody of “Shine On” – it certainly radiates an inspiring amount of positivity in its combination of message and music.  Enlisting some excellent assistance to bring his vision to fruition, singer/songwriter Dennis Sy has the support of singer Natalie Jean & the hip-hop vocals of Darick DDS Spears appearing on “Shine On” – and together these three have made a song that is pretty much guaranteed to stick in your head for weeks on end.

It’s also definitely worth mentioning, that “Shine On” is being considered for the 59th annual Recording Academy Awards…that’ll give you a solid indication of the level of songwriting you’ll find in the composition of this new single…it’s top-shelf stuff for sure.  When you hear the hooks of “Shine On” you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about; it really is the kind of melody that never leaves you once you’ve heard it…highly memorable and completely catchy.

Musically I thought the song was bang-on the entire way through…”Shine On” is delivered with a high-level of execution and professionalism while still being informative and fun all at the same time.  I had a few slight issues with the vocals of Sy as I adjusted to his sound/style at the very beginning of when he takes the verse, but I felt like he really warmed-up throughout the song and consistently raised his performance up from the first moments onward.  Spears sounds spectacular and lends some incredible energy to this entire song with multiple-parts that are delivered right on the money with precision-timing and real passion in his tone.  Natalie Jean remains in the background for the most-part, but sounds solid every time you hear her…and the combined sound of the vocalists together in the chorus nail a tough part to sing with real heart and emotion.  These three definitely sound great when they’re right there together with each other in the chorus…a real collaborative effort that really works well.

What I do really believe…is that songwriting remains the star of this song from beginning to end.  As strong as the performances are – it’s impossible to deny that lyrically, musically and creatively this is all a part of one really great idea overall…”Shine On” is truly solid song and bulletproof in its structure, composition and twists and turns in the music’s writing.  Between the uplifting messages of change in the lyrics and the brightness of the execution…you really can’t help but find a part of you that ends up connecting to this super-shiny pop rhythm.

Musically-speaking, I can certainly understand the positive support this song is already receiving online – the drums, bass, piano, guitars…it all works so incredibly well together that it’d be impossible to ignore.  You can feel the magic of the moment on “Shine On” and how it builds and evolves as the bright-energy, positive-vibes and inspiring lyrics grow and expand as the song plays.  The sentiment is certainly a beautiful one…clearly these are three people united in their belief of a better tomorrow.  “Shine On” has a decided point of view…it’s certainly a sunny one, but that’s a tone, texture and atmosphere people truly do appreciate beaming through their stereos.  The potential audience for “Shine On” is widespread and the opportunities that exist for a song like this to be featured in numerous parts of the music-industry from commercial awareness-ads to soundtracks are pretty much potentially limitless.  There’s a reason that strong writing and inspired sounds like this get considered for awards – they’ve done a great job here and all three of these vocalists take a turn shining beautifully in the spotlight and glowing warmth of one of the friendliest and most-inviting songs you’ll hear this year.

Find out more about Dennis Sy and his music through the official site at:

SHINE ON – A New Collaborative Single coming soon

Shine On Release Date poster
SHINE ON brings together the hip-hop stylings of Darick DDS Spears, the jazz/pop sensibilities of Natalie Jean & the earthy rock/pop flavor of Dennis Sy in an Alternative/Pop tune with a message of positivity & hope in the midst of unrest in today’s social climate.

This song wakes us up and helps us to understand that skin color and every other difference we have, should never cause killing and mayhem. As it is far more important for us to put our differences aside, so that we can work together towards having a future that is bright. As we set good examples for our children and stop the hate so that love can shine through.

Without much pre-planning and intent, this song somehow came together during the last couple of weeks during offline collaborations and discussions between the artists, and will be released as a digital single on September 15, 2016. 

The record kicks out a solid message of positivity and unity that is definitely needed during these troubling times. The mix of rap and melody with a blend of vocal harmonies throughout definitely gave a well constructed track. Stronger music has great order (solid beat, transitions, bridges, breakdowns etc) and everything about the track structure was on point.

The soon to be released single is also included in Bongo Boy Records Volume 10 for worldwide distribution.


Preview SHINE ON here.



Indie Stories: A Shared Struggle

Last Monday I was able to immerse myself in the music and artistry of many Indie Collaborative members, and even got to bring some of their music home to further enjoy in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

But apart from the music sharing, sometimes the opportunity to converse with fellow artists offers a glimpse into a reality that goes beyond the creative. Sometimes when we’re comfortable enough, we get to talk about shared struggles, shared challenges, and shared dreams. They’re the stories that enter the realm of the unglamorous – the amount of money already invested in chasing dreams; the sometimes daily struggle to believe that our dreams matter and make sense; the fight to stay positive when the onslaught of negativity is too prevalent to ignore; the drought of encouragement when you need it most.

They’re the things that maybe only a fellow artist would understand, and somehow when we’re lucky enough to have such conversations, we find ourselves no longer alone in carrying the weight of unspoken fears and frustrations.

The CDs that I was able to bring home with me are your “babies” – a testament to your artistry, to creative thought, but ALSO to your unwavering spirit and dedication to see things through, to believe in your vision and carry it to fruition.

I just want to take a moment to offer a humble SALUTE to all you wonderful artists! The struggles are all too real, but in all of you I find every reason to believe in the power of inspiration, and to focus on the journey and find ways to make it more meaningful – with the people I meet, and in ways I can contribute.


CSW60 Women For Peace Event

Today’s tragic events in #Brussels underline the heed & call for peace & change.

All the speakers today at the UN sponsored Women For Peace event held at The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission in NY brought a unique perspective on their vision on how to bring about change as shaped by their individual experiences. I am in awe of their courage and inner strength.

I am truly privileged to have #StrongerThanBefore be a part of this event.


Teresinha de Jesus Nacli – Human Rights Activist

Alexandra Summa – Student Activist

Maggie Law – Artist Entrepreneur

Josaine Espinal – Promoter Entrepreneur

Sonia Hu – Media Entrepreneur

Cecilia Garding – Award Winning Filmmaker

Guest Speaker – Vincent Lyn – World Kickboxing Champion & Grammy nominated composer

Moderator – Ling Luo – American Political Campaigner & Asian Community Civil Activist


Women For Peace

I’m privileged that my song STRONGER THAN BEFORE, my homage to the inner strength of women, will be played at the UN-sponsored Women For Peace event where my friend and fellow GRAMMY member and international martial artist and actor Vincent Lyn will be giving the opening speech on his first hand experience of the plight of women and children around the world.

The event will be held on March 22, Tuesday 10:30am – 12pm at The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission, 221 E 52nd St., New York, NY 10022.

Many other noteworthy speakers will be sharing their wisdom and experiences towards spreading awareness on this important topic.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a UN established global organization dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Collective is hosting a parallel session under the NGO CSW committee as part of their Women For Peace campaigns, championing freedom and justice.

A Night At The Prom~Di

Last Saturday, March 12, 2016, I had the pleasure of performing at a gem of a restaurant, bar and lounge in the heart of Woodside, NY – Promdi Kitchen & Bar.

This gig was courtesy of a dear friend and colleague in the music business – the “piano man” Mr. Bobby Ramiro. I’ve known Bobby for quite some time now, as we’ve crossed paths many times before in various Fil-Am music events. We’ve always talked about doing a show together, and many friends have suggested the same. The only time that sort of came to pass was last November when he and I played together in a band to back up Kirby Asunto for her 18th birthday concert.


Photo Credit Mylz Tolentino

Until now.

Having Bobby on keys lent to a show that was very acoustic in flavor, with a lounge feel reminiscent of the music lounges that I used to frequent growing up in Manila. To me, it was an excuse to go “retro” with song choices, and to also highlight a lot of OPM (Original Pilipino Music) tunes that we could all be proud of as Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.

Upon seeing Promdi 2 days prior to the show for a soundcheck, I felt that we were right on track with our concept – the interior elegance of the restaurant, coupled with the sweet, full sound coming out of the in-house PA system really lends credence to Promdi being a favorite hangout amongst people looking for excellent Filipino cuisine, as well as a diverse slate of musical entertainment befitting of the chic, stylish yet cozy ambiance of the place.

Apart from all the above reasons, as a performer it’s hard not to fall in love with a place where friendliness seems to be an overriding ingredient that goes along with everything else that they have to offer, from chief chef RJ Estor, manager Kenneth and the wonderful staff, all the way up to owners Martin and Alex (apologies for not getting their last names), who altogether made every guest (and performer) feel very welcomed and right at home.

I truly had a blast performing for old friends and new ones last Saturday at Promdi! Thanks to everyone who came, and kudos to the entire Promdi family for creating this “home away from home” – an establishment we could all be proud of as Fil-Ams and Filipinos in New York.

Photo Credit: Rolan Gutierrez Photography

Looking forward to the next time!

Always In Music,

Dennis Sy