13 Pinoy musicians who made it big abroad

Filipinos can carry a tune and dance like it’s no one else’s damn business. You can find Filipino singers performing here and abroad–be it in theater, dive bars, or cruise ships. These 13 musicians will tell you that hey, Filipinos have also been occupying global arenas and pop charts as well. 

 

13 Pinoy musicians who made it big abroad

By Coconuts Manila

The Philippines has a larger and more passionate artistic community than any other Southeast Asian nation. Born from this cultural hub are many famous artists. How many of these artists do you know?

  • Beck Motley [The Airplane Boys]

    By Coconuts Manila

    Mannie Serranilla in real life, this one-half of Toronto hip-hop/electro duo The Airplane Boys was born to immigrant parents in Canada.

  • Joey Santiago [The Pixies]

    By Coconuts Manila

    This half-Pinoy lead guitarist of legendary group The Pixies (they influenced the ’90s alternative scene in the US) moved to New York with his family right after Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972. 

  • Kirk Hammett [Metallica]

    By Coconuts Manila

    Did you know that Kirk Hammett, Metallica’s lead guitarist, is Filipino? His mother is of Filipino descent. In 2009 Rolling Stone named Kirk Hammett 11th of the top 100 guitarists of all time.

  • DJ Laidback Luke

    By Coconuts Manila

    Also born to a Filipina mother, the half-Dutch half-Filipino DJ known as Laidback Luke is known around the world for his awesome remixes. Before that, was a graffitti artist.

  • Vanessa Hudgens

    By Coconuts Manila

    Although she was born and raised in California, Vanessa Hudgens’ mother is from the Philippines. High School Musical made her into a star, but Vanessa has grown into a true, independent star.

  • Enrique Iglesias

    By Coconuts Manila

    International heartthrob Enrique Iglesias was born to a Filipina mother, the magazine journo Isabel Preysler. He has won multiple awards, and is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter.

  • Chad Hugo [N.E.R.D]

    By Coconuts Manila

    Born to Filipino parents, Chad Hugo was born in Batangas and is an internationally acclaimed musician and record producer. He was once in a band called N.E.R.D. with buddy Pharrell Williams.

  • Darren Criss

    By Coconuts Manila

    This Glee star was born and raised in the United States, but his mother is true and true Cebuana. Darren is an actor and singer who has performed in both Broadway and television.

  • Apl.de.ap [Black Eyed Peas]

    By Coconuts Manila

    Long standing member of the Black Eyed Peas, rapper Apl.de.ap was born in Pampanga. He formed the Black Eyed Peas alongside Will.I.Am who he rapped with in high school. 

  • Bruno Mars

    By Coconuts Manila

    One of the most popular Filipino artists, Bruno Mars grew up with his Filipina mother. He is a critically acclaimed artist who has sold over 11 million albums and 68 million singles. 

  • Jerome Fontamillas [Switchfoot]

    By Coconuts Manila

    Before you forget: There was once a band called Switchfoot and its guitarist was Filipino Jerome Fontamillas, born in Pasay City in 1967 and moved to the US at age 3. 

  • Nicole Scherzinger

    By Coconuts Manila

    Nicole Scherzinger is a Filipina model and singer more popularly known as a Pussycat Doll. Her father is Filipino—her real family name is Valiente—and she was born and raised in Hawaii.

  • Arnel Pineda [Journey]

    By Coconuts Manila

    He grew up in Sampaloc, Manila and famously became the lead singer of Journey in 2008 after he was scouted on YouTube. 

1. Beck Motley [The Airplane Boys]
 Mannie Serranilla in real life, this one-half of Toronto hip-hop/electro duo The Airplane Boys was born to immigrant parents in Canada.

2. Joey Santiago [The Pixies]
This half-Pinoy lead guitarist of legendary group The Pixies (they influenced the ’90s alternative scene in the US) moved to New York with his family right after Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972.

3. Kirk Hammett [Metallica]
Did you know that Kirk Hammett, Metallica’s lead guitarist, is Filipino? His mother is of Filipino descent. In 2009 Rolling Stone named Kirk Hammett 11th of the top 100 guitarists of all time.

4. DJ Laidback Luke 
Also born to a Filipina mother, the half-Dutch half-Filipino DJ known as Laidback Luke is known around the world for his awesome remixes. Before that, was a graffitti artist.

5. Vanessa Hudgens
Although she was born and raised in California, Vanessa Hudgens’ mother is from the Philippines. High School Musical made her into a star, but Vanessa has grown into a true, independent star.

6. Enrique Iglesias
International heartthrob Enrique Iglesias was born to a Filipina mother, the magazine journo Isabel Preysler. He has won multiple awards, and is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter.

7. Chad Hugo [N.E.R.D.] 
Born to Filipino parents, Chad Hugo was born in Batangas and is an internationally acclaimed musician and record producer. He was once in a band called N.E.R.D. with buddy Pharrell Williams.

8. Darren Criss 
This Glee star was born and raised in the United States, but his mother is true and true Cebuana. Darren is an actor and singer who has performed in both Broadway and television.

9. Apl.de.ap [Black Eyed Peas] 
Long standing member of the Black Eyed Peas, rapper Apl.de.ap was born in Pampanga. He formed the Black Eyed Peas alongside Will.I.Am who he rapped with in high school.

10. Bruno Mars 
One of the most popular Filipino artists, Bruno Mars grew up with his Filipina mother. He is a critically acclaimed artist who has sold over 11 million albums and 68 million singles. 

11. Jerome Fontamillas [Switchfoot]
Before you forget: There was once a band called Switchfoot and its guitarist was Filipino Jerome Fontamillas, born in Pasay City in 1967 and moved to the US at age 3.

12. Nicole Scherzinger 
Nicole Scherzinger is a Filipina model and singer more popularly known as a Pussycat Doll. Her father is Filipino—she was once a Valiente but became a Scherzinger when her stepfather adopted her. 

13. Arnel Pineda [Journey]
He grew up in Sampaloc, Manila and famously became the lead singer of Journey in 2008 after he was scouted on YouTube.

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