All About Music

On The Ballot! A GRAMMY Blog


Most of the time the things that we aspire for and dream about are based solely on what is “the tip of the iceberg” – the summit, if you will, in all its amazing glory. What lays hidden, except to the select few who have managed to reach the apex or those who have experienced scaling the mountain before, is a plethora of navigational requirements and challenges one needs to traverse and be aware of just to be able to say one has experienced the journey.

Forget for a moment about reaching the summit – that is an entirely different ballgame altogether.

The iceberg or the mountain being referred to here is what is known to the music public as the GRAMMY Awards.

Despite all references to “dreams” and “aspirations”, I’ll be the first to admit that anything GRAMMY related is far beyond the realm of reasonable or realistic expectations from my end as I went about my musical pursuits. I did, however, endeavor to find out how one becomes a member of the Recording Academy. And when I was able to get my membership in 2011, I already considered that a highlight of my career – to be part of this prestigious organization of musical peers.

Every year thereafter, I stood on the sidelines during the awards season, a proud listening participant during the campaign and voting process as I exercised the privilege of having my vote counted towards determining who among the best of the best would receive a GRAMMY.

When we released the album STRONGER THAN BEFORE last November 9, 2013, we never even considered entering it into any of the award categories in this year’s competition. As we have always maintained, it was too much of a pipe dream, even though the album was starting to get a lot of traction with positive reviews, and nominations at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards and the American Songwriting Awards.

grammy picThen late in 2013, we found out that we’d be able to attend music’s biggest night in 2014 – the GRAMMY Awards night itself. It was another first for me, and little did I know, it also planted a little seed of plausibility. Do I dare submit my work and my creation for GRAMMY consideration amongst those of my musical peers and music legends?

The decision was thus made after attending GRAMMY night last January to throw our hat in the ring and see where this journey would take us.

Despite the tempered expectations, there was definitely excitement too at the prospect of participating in this process – of having to submit your work, studying carefully the eligibility guidelines for album releases, to choosing the right category for our lone entry, which is the title track of the album – STRONGER THAN BEFORE.

When submissions were opened in June of 2014, we finally dared ourselves to dream as we filled in the online submission forms, read instructions carefully, and sent in a physical copy of our album for GRAMMY consideration.

The initial reluctance stemmed from that inherent doubt that echos the question “Am I good enough?” or “Am I worthy enough?” – questions that I continue to struggle with throughout my career. With every step forward and intermediate goal achieved, the doubts get a bit diffused layer by layer, but I guess one cannot totally outrun its pervasive nature – just as you can’t totally eliminate that initial nervousness every time you step on stage and size up a new audience.  You just have to face it head on, always trying a little harder each time to be better at your craft.

That’s how you grow. And eventually you find yourself asking a different type of question – “Why not me?”

After 3 long months, we found ourselves staring at the officially accepted entry list released last October 15, with STRONGER THAN BEFORE officially on the ballot for the 57th GRAMMY Awards.  I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill that experience was for someone like me. And the realization that all I’ve done thus far was to get myself to the starting gate – giving myself the privilege and the opportunity to be part of this race.

It’s another chapter written to my ongoing musical journey, one that has defied the odds so far and surpassed all my personal expectations already.

As before….my music journey continues. Thanks so much for being a part of it!



All About Music

DSYMusic 2014 First Quarter Update

2014 is off to a great start for DSYMusic!

Riding the momentum generated towards the end of 2013 with the release of our 3rd album STRONGER THAN BEFORE (STB) and the official CD launch at Toshi’s Living Room and Penthouse in NYC (click here to view photos), as well our attendance at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards in LA for the honor of having 2 songs from the album nominated at last year’s event, 2014 continued to roll along with the same pace and excitement that had us already dreaming about some much needed R&R as we close off the 1st quarter of the year.

STB’s radio campaign began right off the bat as we entered the new year, with a fun live interview last January 3 with the very cool Big Nel of Urban Soul Radio FM. I couldn’t think of a better audience to introduce our little old school / R&B tune STRONGER THAN BEFORE to,  than to the listeners of Urban Soul Radio. To date, we have garnered airplay at the following radio stations across the US:

CHOICE 107 in Columbia, SC


KPTR-FM in Atlanta, GA


MAJIC 93.3 in Denver, CO




STB is also being heard around the world with fans joining in from places like Slovenia, Canada, Israel, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, Venezuela, across Europe and Asia on Jango Radio.

DSYMusic at the GRAMMYs

Of course, one of the highlights of my career will always be the     opportunity to attend “music’s biggest night” – the GRAMMY Awards last January 26.

It was a night filled with inspiring memories – to be amongst the “best of the best” in the field of music, watching them strut their stuff in the grandest of stages, and witnessing the live performance of 2 of the remaining members of the legendary group The BeatlesSir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

It was an experience that fed the creative fire within me, to never stop learning and improving, and hopefully one day… 🙂

(Click here to view more pictures from THE GRAMMY EXPERIENCE)

DSYMusic at Truffles N Bacon CafeFebruary was quite an eventful month for us, as we were notified that another song from the STB album has been nominated at this year’s Hollywood Music In Media Awards – the song I’VE BEEN SEARCHING (Male Vocal Category).

It also brought us the opportunity for us to travel to Las Vegas to perform at the grand opening of Truffles N Bacon Cafe, a little piece of gourmet heaven in the heart of Vegas. We truly had a great time savoring the hospitality and gourmet offerings of owners Magnolia Magat & Chef Jackie Lim, as well as the 70 degree weather in the “desert”.

We rounded off the month of February with a live performance at Toshi’s Living Room & Penthouse last Feb. 22, with the always amazing The Kayumanggi Band, and a surprise jam session with Rockstar MiG Ayesa.

Catch a snippet of this impromptu jam session below.

Oh yeah – we also decided to enter the Apollo Theater Amateur Night Song Competition one night before the submission deadline! 

Armed with just a will and determination to come up with a song that we thought captured the spirit of the Apollo Amateur Night contest, we wrote the song HERE AT APOLLO.  With help from fellow singer/songwriter Chrysss Estipona in adding the drum tracks and other musical input in the arrangement, we managed to write, produce, record, and create our video entry within a span of 10 hours straight to make it to the submission deadline. And although we didn’t make it as finalists in this competition, we are proud of the effort that we put into our song entry, and we humbly share it with everyone here.

Well, that’s our little 2014 first quarter update.

Many more ideas and plans are in the pipeline, including a “concept album” of all original material, plus some live performances already booked for the year.  We look forward to the journey ahead and to whatever challenges and creative magic it ultimately holds.

Thanks always for joining me on this wonderful and amazing ride! Your support is what keeps us going as we traverse through this maze of totally uncharted opportunities and surprises.

Always In Music.


A Day In The Life · All About Music

Grammy’s Here I Come!

On this journey I’ve learned to temper my expectations with the realities of my circumstances without letting go of my dreams. I’ve come to accept certain doors might prove inaccessible because I regard my passion merely as a “serious hobby”. Yet I continue to knock, and the doors I’ve been able to open thus far have already been way beyond my humble expectations. But never did I believe that one day I would be given the opportunity to experience “music’s biggest night” in person.

Until today.

My journey continues.

#Grammys #ASongwritersDream #Grateful