Filipino-Australian producer Kuya James has released his debut solo single, ‘Sabaw’, a collaboration with indie singer Serina Pech.
James, known off-stage as James Mangohig, said in a press release that ‘Sabaw’ – which means soup in Filipino – is a song that hopes to “put an Asian face in Australian mainstream culture”.
“The song is about overcoming oppression and realising the power and beauty in our true nature,” James said. “I want young Asian people and those of mixed heritages to feel like they are represented in spaces they otherwise might feel like they are excluded from.”
“My music is unashamedly inspired by Asia and all that fits under that umbrella. The sounds I create are inspired by a mix of musical cultures, just like my biological heritage. It reflects our Australian existence.”
An accompanying video for the single was also released today (March 20). It was created in collaboration with director Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore and choreographer Jenn Ma. Actors and dancers from the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China and Japan are also featured in the music video.
Check it out below.
Before James adopted the Kuya James moniker (Kuya the Filipino word for ‘older brother’), he was one of Australia’s most highly regarded producers and songwriters, having worked with household names like Jessica Mauboy, Briggs, Gurrumul and more. James was also previously one half of the electronic soul duo Sietta.
‘Sabaw’ featuring Serina Pech is out today, March 20 via Settle Down Records.