Chivas Syndrome: Mad Hustle
Success is rarely singular. As individuals elevate themselves in their craft, so do the people around them and the culture they belong to. Think Michael Jordan and the ‘85 sneaker revolution, Jo Koy and Filipino visibility in Hollywood, or Francis Magalona and Pinoy rap’s mainstream popularity.
Chivas Regal is big on this belief. The whisky brand’s “I Rise, We Rise” campaign celebrates global hustlers and artists, “New Regals,” who shift the landscape and bring others along their ride to the top.
For the Philippines, Chivas and Complex Philippines teamed up to handpick four notable figures across the creative industry who embody “I Rise, We Rise”: R&B/soul singer Jess Connelly, content creator Gela Munoz, FlipTop founder Alaric “Anygma” Yuson, and hip-hop artist FELIP.
Each is featured wearing pieces from Chivas’ recent collaboration with rising Manila apparel brand, Syndrome Supply.
Jess Connelly wearing Chivas x Syndrome Supply tee
Before being a “multi-hyphenate” became the norm, Jess Connelly was already chipping away at an industry that once boxed its talents into singular labels.
“I first attempted to make music through the TV industry, and I was kinda categorized into this ‘artista’ world,” says JCON, who appeared in local shows before releasing singles and EPs that would turn her into an R&B icon. She would eventually open for Chance the Rapper and sell-out shows in Seoul and Hong Kong during her Asia tour in 2019.
“One of the biggest frustrations artists can have is to be misunderstood. But, once I started putting out music, I remember being happy with the transition of being seen as a singer and, foremost, a songwriter.”
While Jess won’t go as far as to co-opt the term, she believes she contributed a significant element to other multi-hyphenates: The confidence to be more than what society tells you to be.
“We show people it’s possible to do other things. When I dropped my first song, there was a separation of media figures and the music scene. We showed you can do whatever you want.
“Just do [your thing]. Make mistakes and do it. Not everything goes according to plan—not one thing will blow you up [into fame]. Don’t place so much importance on a single event.
Jess Connelly wearing Chivas x Syndrome Supply jacket
Elevating others doesn’t always require an earth-shattering phenomenon; sometimes, proving that things are possible can change hearts and minds.
Gela Muñoz is one example of how diverse the present generation has become. Set to take over the family business; she instead became a stylist for several media brands after winning a local competition.
She then transitioned into sneaker curation and content creation, collaborating with brands like Nike and Atmos Manila.
Gela’s whirlwind path opened her eyes to the possibilities beyond the established—and she has been encouraging fellow creatives to do the same.
Gela Muñoz wearing Chivas x Syndrome Supply hoodie
“I really encourage [my crew] that if I can go against the norm and not do the usual 9 to 5 job, the same is possible if that’s your dream—there’s always space for everybody in this industry.”
Few names can match Alaric ‘Anygma’ Yuson if we're talking about elevating your peers. While Francis M furthered Pinoy rap into mainstream consciousness, Anygma satisfied the hunger for a grittier, more “underground” side of the genre with the birth of FlipTop Battle League.
FlipTop has featured witty lyricism and intense duels for over a decade, transforming its battle rappers into household names. The league uplifted lives and launched careers, a feat not lost on Anygma.
“A lot of people that society might have given up on were given the platform and opportunity to make something out of themselves,” says Anygma. “That’s over 200 emcees on the roster.”
He continues: “FlipTop made Filipino hip-hop accessible and acceptable. There are over a hundred amateur leagues around the country, nasa kanto, in the most remote areas, with only a poor camera and microphone, trying to do what we did.”
As FlipTop continues to grant fame to the nameless, Anygma only has one request for budding emcees: be upfront with your intentions for the culture.
“Be consistent with your stance. If you want to do it for money, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you claim to ‘do it for the culture’ but secretly accept deals that don’t push the art forward, then it’s inconsistent with your projection.”
“Do it for the right reasons. If you love [the art] enough, whether it’s profitable or not, it should be fulfilling for your soul.”
FELIP aka Ken Suson of SB19 has been instrumental in turning P-Pop into a legitimate OPM genre.
From a viral dance practice video came a movement of jaw-dropping visuals and a global sound, proving Filipino groups belong on the world stage. But, while SB19 is at the forefront, FELIP insists it’s a collective effort from the industry.
“Mahirap i-penetrate ng Philippine music ang international scene. Ang key is magtutulungan lahat para makabuo ng isang Pinoy artist na magpapakilala sa unique music taste natin. Isang person lang, ’pag nakilala sila, susuportahan ka rin ng international fans.”
(It’s tough for Philippine music to penetrate the international scene. The key is for everyone to help each other build up a Pinoy artist who can introduce our unique music taste to the world. It only takes one person. Once they’re known, they’ll also receive support from international fans.)
FELIP wearing Chivas x Syndrome Supply tee
SB19 has since been the world’s gateway to Philippine music and has inspired new groups to introduce themselves to foreign audiences. But, through it all, Ken learned that change requires the bravery to stick with your guts.
“Madami kaming natanggap na hurtful words, but today, madami ang mga sumusunod sa kung ano ang nasimulan namin (We’ve received a lot of hurtful words, but today, many follow the path we’ve set forth),” says the Mindanaon native, who also adopted the grungier FELIP persona as a solo act to great success.
“Be brave. Try mo lang.”
Hindi madali yung path, nandiyan yung fear every time, pero di ka makakakita ng results unless mag-try ka talaga.”
(Be brave. Just try it. The path is not easy, and the fear is there every time, but you won’t see results unless you really try.)
JCON. Gela. Anygma. FELIP. Four individuals who embody the Chivas “I Rise, We Rise” mindset. The definition of a hustler has changed: They no longer just want to surpass the competition, but are rooting (and fighting) for everyone’s success. Figures like the “New Regals” carve and lead the way for us.
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