December Avenue’s ‘Langit Mong Bughaw’ Tops the List of All-Time OPM Albums With the Most Streams

MANILA, Philippines—Even the most deserving and well-meaning musicians would admit that, when it comes to writing and releasing music, the main objective is never accolades and praise. The moment when an artist’s work connects with a legion of music lovers and is deemed as a timeless and significant mark in music history by both fans and peers is the genuine reward for creativity, even though it may look good on the overall resumé.

However, there’s always that one rare and oft-elusive landmark achievement that’s hard to brush off and downplay even by the most level-headed of artists and critics alike—as with the case of one of the Philippines’ most successful and prominent recording artists of the millennium DECEMBER AVENUE, who was recently cited for having the most streamed OPM album of all time on Spotify.

Clearly, it’s a no-easy feat considering that theirs is a group that’s in very good—and equally acclaimed—company, the band (vocalist/guitarist Zel Bautista, guitarist Jem Manuel, bassist Don Gregorio, drummer Jet Danao and keyboardist Gelo Cruz) received the honors for their landmark 2019 full-length Langit Mong Bughaw recently, garnering over 720 million streams on the popular online music platform to date.

Image courtesy of Universal Music Group

Of course, for fans, it’s an accomplishment that’s not too hard to fathom, as the sonic masterpiece spawned quite a handful of smash hit singles, including the gigantic live anthem “Sa Ngalan Ng Pag-ibig,” “Kung ‘Di Rin Lang Ikaw” (the swooning duet with Moira Dela Torre, which was the official soundtrack for the blockbuster movie Hello Love, Goodbye…), “Magkunwari (‘Di Man Tayo)” which was the official soundtrack for the hit television series TODA One I Love, and of course, “Huling Sandali” which was the OST for the movie Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon

It was these releases—plus the sheer beauty and cohesiveness of the album’s non-singles—that catapulted December Avenue into stratospheric success, playing sold-out show after show, and ultimately found them embarking on humongous tours nationwide and in the United States and Canada. It’s also noteworthy to add that 2019 was also the same year that the band was named Spotify’s Most-Streamed Artist of the Philippines.

“Writing and recording Langit Mong Bughaw was a big challenge in many ways,” says chief songwriter Zel, when asked about the circumstances during the creation of the album. “It was a time when the entire band was maturing, and we became aware of the growth of our career: we had been an independent band for the longest time, and we all agreed that we wanted to reach a wider audience – thankfully, we knew exactly what to do to break barriers… of course, hard work, timing and luck was also a big part of the equation.”

Asked about other hurdles the band was facing, guitarist Manuel immediately quips: “Time was a big hurdle because we were touring non-stop, so we were exhausted, both physically and mentally,” while keyboardist Gelo adds “there was also the fear of recording something that sounded similar to other songs on the album, or songs we previously released… we wanted each song to be unique and stand-out on its own.”

“There was definitely a vibe when we were recording the songs,” claims Danao, as he shares: “We knew we had a great batch of songs, so we did sort of have an inkling that people would like it, so we simply just gave it our all during that time.”

Needless to say, Langit Mong Bughaw was not only a well-received release, but it also became a benchmark of sorts for local bands and musicians to gauge their work. Bassist Gregorio says: “We never expected the album to reach the heights it did, but we’re glad that it has so much meaning and feeling for everyone who listened to it. It certainly changed our lives as a group, because it exposed us to many big opportunities; and personally, because I had always felt like a nobody, it introduced me to many people who appreciated what the band and I were trying to accomplish.”

Without a shadow of a doubt, December Avenue is still going strong, with a growing fan base and consistently high-caliber original material. In no time at all, we’ll probably have another musical masterpiece in our hands.