26, independent musician, OPM advocate
Keiko Necesario shudders when she hears the word fan. “Can we call them ‘frands’ instead?” she exclaims, coining a term for a “fan” and “friend” hybrid. True enough Keiko’s social media channels are riddled with proof of this kind of outlook: she treats those who appreciate her music as friends she just hasn’t gotten to know yet, but would love to someday.
An independent singer-songwriter and advocate for OPM, Keiko is coming into her own as an artist. She’s come a long way since deciding to finally produce her own record at 21. In September, she dropped “Highway,” a catchy single featuring lyrics describing a getaway and a budding romance with a captivating electro-folk tune to boot. The following month, she appeared in a campaign advocating another cause near and dear to her heart: the #IAmDifferent movement, an anti-bullying initiative by local retail giant Penshoppe. Starring alongside the brand's internationalendorsers, Bella Hadid, Cameron Dallas and Kaia Gerber among others, Keiko outdid herself by lending her vocals to the campaign. “We rise above frustrations, light up the night with broken smiles. Don’t forget there’s beauty in all the pain and misery while we are young” sings Keiko in the single “While We Are Young.”
It seems the 26-year-old has figured out the formula for sure-fire bops and catchy anthems while managing to stick to themes important to her. “It’s important to me that all my songs have a clear-cut message of hope and inspiration.” And true enough, her singles resonate not only with regular listeners but entire institutions, too. If Penshoppe recruiting Keiko isn’t a strong enough example to make the case, perhaps this will: the Association of Southeat Asian Nations (ASEAN) recently called on Keiko for rights to her single “Through It All,” which will serve as one of the anthems for this year’s delegation in the Philippines.