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Western Sydney producer creates music for Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray's 'Love Language'

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray recorded her first self-written song in Sydney with Billy Cabusas producing the music as part of Global Pinoy Music project. Source: Supplied by Billy Cabusas

Aiming to showcase Filipino talents from different parts of the world, the GloPM project brought together Catriona Gray and Billy Cabusas to collaborate for the song 'Love Language'.

The collaboration of the two Filipino-Australians is part of Warner Music Philippines' Global Pinoy Music (GloPM) project linking up Filipino artists in the Philippines and internationally.  

"This song was part of a big project by Warner Music Philippines. It is about linking up Filipino artists domestically and internationally and creating something cool," says Billy a.k.a 'Cabu'.

  

 


Highlights

  • Global Pinoy Music aims to connect Filipino artists in the Philippines and internationally.
  • Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray releases her first self-written song which she wrote in less than two weeks while in hotel quarantine in Adelaide when she visited Australia in May,
  • Sydney-based musician Billy Cabusas produced the song 'Love Language' and recorded it in just two days. 

Catriona Gray 'Love Language'
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray recorded her first self-written song 'Love Language' in Sydney with Billy Cabusas producing the beats and music for it.
Supplied by Billy Cabusas

'Global Pinoy Music'

Aiming to showcase Filipino talents from different parts of the world, the GloPM project brought together Catriona Gray and Billy Cabusas to collaborate for the song 'Love Language'.

"A guy named Alex Lim from Warner Philippines reached out to me and he wanted me to join this project where they wanted to connect talents in the Philippines and talents internationally," narrates Billy or Cabu.

Believing in the talent of Filipinos in music, Cabu accepted the challenge and was surprised to learn that he will be working with none other than the Filipino-Australian beauty queen.

"He said to me, I'm gonna pair you up with Catriona Gray and I was like what, really? I have to ask him a couple of times, are you serious cause I didn't think he's going to pair me up with someone THAT massive straight away."

"I was really shocked and it became real when we had a Zoom session with Cat [Catriona] and her team and that's when it all sinked in that it is really happening. I got more excited," fondly shares Billy.

In less than two weeks, Miss Universe 2018 wrote her first composition while in hotel quarantine in Adelaide when she visited Australia in May. 

The quarantine was like a curse but a gift at the same time. It gave us a lot of time to plan and get ready for the studio session.

Billy created the beats and music for 'Love Language'.

"I lay down some chords, some drums and give a sort of blank canvas for Cat [Catriona] to write and sing her parts to it and see where she wants to go with the song," tells Billy.

Although this is the first-written song of Miss Universe 2018,  music is not new to Catriona. She has always been a music enthusiast and even received a graduate certificate in music theory from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the United States.

Cabu is also impressed with Catriona's speed in writing the lyrics of her song, 

"She works really fast (in coming up with her lyrics). I've sent her some beats to listen to and see where she wanted to write her song to and 24-48 hours later, she came back with a full page of lyrics and melodies, the whole song basically done."

The actual recording of the song only took two days.

"When it came to studio time, we just had to record and not waste any time. It was super efficient when it came to the recording."

'Catriona Gray, not just a pretty face'

The recording may be swift, but Billy Cabusas got to know more about the fourth Filipina to win the Miss Universe crown.

"She wants to tell stories through her music which is something that resonated with me and I was really happy to help her with her first written song," reveals Billy.

Catriona Gray
Beyond the beauty of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray are stories to tell.
Instagram

Billy adds that it was a delight to hear about Catriona's journey in the pageantry and being a model, advocate and activist.

"We had a lot of deep conversation about my goal and her goals in life and where she wanted to go in the second part of her career."

"She really wanted to sort of elevate the way she carries herself and move passed the Miss Universe crown and offer more to the world than just being a beauty queen."

The Sydney producer also shares how "really down-to-earth" the beauty queen is. "She's half-Aussie and all the references we knew and the slang. It's like talking to another mate and it was really easy to get along with her."

Hearing Catriona's journey, Billy believes that the she benefitted from her being half Filipino-Australian but the pageant queen realises that it comes with a lot of responsibility.

"She is very much more benefitted because of her being half Filipina but at the same time she realises that it comes with a lot of responsibility to sort of show that she can do good things and not just be a pretty face and tell stories through her music."

"She uses her beauty for a benefit for the world in a cliché cheesy way and I am only helping her in a small."

Billy hopes to do more projects with the half-Aussie-Pinay beauty queen.

'Cabu Beats' 

Prior to his project with the Miss Universe, Billy has worked with several Filipino-Aussie and other musicians in Australia.

"Mostly I've been working with a lot of Australians and Aussie Filipinos as well. One big one that I got to work with was Maribelle. She used to do Youtube covers and she does her own music now as well. I got a chance to do a song with her. It's a good learning experience. She can produce, sing and a songwriter as well."

"I have a constant collaboration with Gabby Nacua, she's also Filipino-Australian from Western Sydney."

Billy might not be singing at present, but music is his life.

"It's a Cabu Beats sound if it's gonna make you dance sometimes, it's gonna make you chill out, easily listening but you can pop you head to it.  Just good music to make you feel good."

Cabu Beats
Billy Cabusas aka Cabu doing his beats in the local Sydney scene.
BestBefore.com

"I don't sing right now, but I'm trying to, but I play do play a little of guitar and drums," shares the Sydney producer.

Calling himself a "bedroom producer", Billy began making music when he was young and mostly, in front of the computer.

"Early parts of my career in this music industry, I like to work with people overseas so it's all through the internet and so everything can be done online."

"For me I was  just on my computer a lot, and just messing about different musical apps and programs and I just fell for it. I just watch a lot of Youtube videos and tutorials and how to make music and I just became a music nerd basically," reveals Cabu.

And during the pandemic, Cabu worked hard to better his music.

"It's not really massive changes for me. I feel like I got better in the way I do things, more efficient, more clear in what I want to achieve in a song or a project."

"My skills have been honed a little bit more since we've been in the pandemic, especially just spending a lot of time at home, constantly working on my production skills."

Billy Cabusas
'It's a Cabu Beats sound if it's gonna make you dance sometimes; it's gonna make you chill out, easily listening but you can pop your head to it. Just good music to make you feel good.'
Supplied by Billy Cabusas

And as New South Wales reopens, Cabu is excited to be working on some projects lined up with several Australian musicians.

For the Sydney producer, he considers himself fortunate to still have projects even during the previous lockdowns.

"I'm just lucky enough to sort of do those gigs but at the same time I can go back home and work on different project, my source of revenue, in a weird way, was not fully tight to doing live events which I'm very blessed to have and feel. But it's tough for other people."

For fellow musicians struggling due to the impact of the pandemic, it is important to connect with family, friends and even fellow musicians to get through the hard times.

"It's just tough to see 'coz I see a lot of my friends who they have gigs and it all just fell apart when the restrictions came."

"Work on your craft. Just keep getting better and better. In terms of the pandemic, reach out to people if you are feeling down or sad. Reach out even to me through social media as it's important to talk about mental health especially if you are in the creative industry," ends Cabu.

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