The Future is Female: Athalie is Here to Prove it Right
by Maria Romero, March 15, 2019 3:40pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
Let’s all face the music. In the Philippine music scene, women are often looked over than men. So, it’s vesting to see women unapologetically amplify their power through the increasing number of emerging women musicians, female-fronted bands, and even all-female bands in this male-dominated district.
While most people may associate girl groups like 2NE1 and Spice Girls with female empowerment, it’s refreshing when women are up on stage sharing their stories through their music. The power and the raw energy an all-female band radiates on stage is thrilling to watch, and it’s definitely something anyone shouldn’t miss out on. So this women’s month, we give the spotlight to this four-piece all-female band, Athalie.
Athalie’s promising story began from the desire of weaving words and melodies to create songs. As music production and architecture students at the De La Salle College of St. Benilde, their desire grew as each member of the group pursues their dream of changing the world with their music. The group’s unwavering love for music keeps them intact, and it paves the way for their rising path in the local music scene.
Composed of Kristella Enriquez (bass and vocals), Mika Cruise on (drums and vocals), Franchezka Tandiman, (guitar and vocals) and Pauline Villanueva (guitar and vocals), Athalie has been together for three years. From cover songs to producing original songs, this jazz and blues band is ready to take over the music scene, one shoobidoobap at a time.
Each member of the band has a background in choral music; they all served as choir members in each respective churches and this, aside from their passion for music, prompted them to form a band with God in the center. So, when they chanced upon the word Athalie, derived from Hebrew word meaning “God is exalted”, they knew it would fit their identity well—feminine and god-fearing.
During their usual grind, the Athalie girls are normal, hardworking individuals. By day, Franchezka works as a music composer for television, Mika is a music administrator, Kristella is a music sequence arranger, and Pauline is an architecture student and freelance graphic designer. Looking at their line of works, it’s obvious that music is the field they want to prosper at.
As an all-girl group, they are usually hanging out through spontaneous all-nighters for jamming sessions, spa, and a lot of food trips. After years of sharing their stories to one another, they built a relationship where everyone got each other’s back. So, from schoolmates to bandmates and to sisters, these women are leading the jazz community to the pedestal.
Although each member grew up loving completely different genres ranging from pop, rock, classical piano, and neo-soul, they all share the love for jazz and blues. With inspirations from The Puppini Sisters, Postmodern Jukebox, and Pentatonix, creating jazz and blues music now comes to them naturally as if the genre is officially part of their system. And to innovate a new genre they can call their own, they incorporated some modernized touch to the already classic jazz and blues.
What’s in store
The band is on the process of re-branding to strengthen their social media presence and to show the world that Athalie is more than their pink-ribbon and dainty veneer. As a band leaning on social media to promote music, their online presence is something they intend to actively participate in. Social media paved the way for budding musicians like Athalie to share their music to a larger audience. Thus, it’s only imperative to strengthen their online presence.
Not only do they aim to gain a following but it’s also the dawn of presenting themselves as women of power. From preppy girls, they are ready to channel the fearless women residing in them.
Aside from establishing a brand for the band, they are also working on their new music. Now, they meet once every two weeks to work on their upcoming EP. Their usual process involves writing lyrics on the spot and then critiquing it after. As per the music arrangement, they do it together because as a band, they believe each decision should be agreed on by each member.
There are bands with only one person entrusted to write the lyrics but Athalie is not conforming with that style as each member contributes to writing songs for the band. So, expect songs about life and heartbreaks from the eyes of women from different walks of life. We could be expecting a new single or even an EP from the girls this year!
The Future Is Female
Championing a genre not normally explored by local musicians isn’t a walk in the park but Athalie is powering through the struggles. Despite being an all-female band in a sea of male musicians, Athalie continues to make music to normalize women’s presence in the music industry: playing instruments usually donned by male musicians. People look at women who assemble their instruments in gigs by themselves as unusual when female can equally do what males can.
Yes, there are women at the front line of the Philippine Indie music scene like Clara Benin and Coeli but they prospered as solo artists. Thankfully, Athalie is here to prove that the future of the local music scene is bright with women spearheading it.
As Pauline put it, “Just because we are women doesn’t mean we can’t play the instrument while singing. Seeing women musicians should no longer surprise people.”
At the time when women are still marginalized in different places, social media movements like #MeToo and #DontTellMeHowToDress are the frontrunners in gaining grounds to talk about their struggles. With this, women are somehow given the platform to break free from stereotypes where there seems to be no need to lurk behind a scared facade. They have come a long way past beyond the point anyone ever expected them to be at.
As for Athalie, their success point is far from where they are now but they are already geared up to conquer the music scene by storm with their promising music prowess. The future is female!