Kean Cipriano explains why he left Callalily: “It’s hard to stay in a place where you’re not happy anymore”

The Filipino musician also addressed the issue of the band's name, which he owns the trademark to

Kean Cipriano, former frontman of Filipino rock band Callalily, has opened up about his departure from the band in a new interview.

Speaking to ABS-CBN, Cipriano said: “It’s hard to stay in a place where you’re not happy anymore, where you’re uninspired, and where you don’t feel valued and respected. You can’t hide the feeling that the spark, the magic is gone. I was no longer happy.”

When asked how he felt about being called the “former Callalily frontman”, Cipriano replied: “I feel good about it. I respect what we did, I respect the legacy. It was a good run, I must say. Now, it’s just a different chapter. I don’t feel iffy about it because we did something good.”

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The band’s last releases were two 2021 singles, ‘Ilaw’ and ‘Bahala Na’. Cipriano said the band’s stagnation during the coronavirus pandemic also played a factor in his departure: “For quite some time as well, we didn’t even meet eye-to-eye as a group. During the pandemic, we never even got together to play or to create. We never even talked about creating something.”

He also noted that he had been contemplating “disengaging” from the band for two years before deciding to make it official earlier this month.

The remaining members of the band have now rebranded themselves as LILY, after it was revealed that the Callalily name was created and trademarked by Cipriano. Cipriano claimed he had agreed to license the name to the band for a fee so they could continue using it, but they stopped responding after he sent them a licensing agreement.

“When they asked for the figures, I put figures and all. After that, they didn’t talk to me anymore. I said, ‘Let’s talk.’ I actually reached out to them a couple of times, to our group, to our former road manager, to the members themselves,” Cipriano claimed.

Watch Cipriano’s full interview below.

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On June 23, Cipriano announced his departure from Callalily. Earlier that month LILY announced their new name and their search for a new frontman. The band are holding auditions throughout the Philippines in July and August.

“We’re looking for a new singer to front the band on the stage, and together, we will share a new set of interesting stories and experiences through our music,” commented guitarist Alden Acosta at the time.

Last week, LILY said they were planning to release an official statement regarding the name change and Cipriano’s exit, but will “have to consult with our lawyers” first, according to a GMA News report.

Cipriano’s wife Chynna Ortaleza – who also serves as the Vice President of the label Cipriano founded, O/C Records – said in a statement to GMA News that the Callalily name has always belonged to Cipriano and that he wanted to license the name to his former bandmates, “but I don’t think they understood what that meant. And it’s being loosely thrown on social media that he stole [the name]”.

Ortaleza’s comments came after remarks LILY drummer Lem Belaro made on Facebook on June 13: “Just asking for a friend. If you’re a vocalist, should you also own the whole band? They said they worked hard for 17 years for all of that and it will just go to one person,” a translation of his post reads.

On June 19, Belaro jokingly announced that comedian Kevin Hermosada had joined LILY as their new frontman, writing: “I hope you don’t register our band’s name without our knowledge”.

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