Do you remember the saying: “The rose among the thorns?” Well, in Filipino hip-hop’s male dominated industry, Marga Bermudez has risen to the occasion to elevate the playing field. But let it be known that she’s no dainty flower. She’s one of the few female MCs in the country that’s smashing gender roles while dropping a few verses here and there. Sennheiser knows how to recognize a true blue artist like her and has given her the title as one of their Sound Heroes.
Marga on the mic proves on a daily that women can have the last mic drop too. We got a chance to talk about her love for the local scene, being blessed or cursed by being “the only female MC” in the country, and being a defacto fan of the brand.
“Being able to represent the power of women is my heart and my pride because then, I am able to be an example to other women who want to do things great but are hindered because of the power of a man.”
How did you get pulled in to the world of hip-hop?
Marga: I met a lot of people through my sisters, mostly DJs, club owners, and MCs. Then I got around to being able to promote for a couple of clubs, doing my own nights, putting my creative thoughts into parties.
In those parties, I would grab the microphone and just play around until one day I got a call from this club asking if they could book me for one night. I remember being so dumbfounded like: “Huh? I’m not an MC.” But I went on and did it anyway. It was hella scary ’cause most of the owners were there. It went well, then I got another call a week after from the same club, from there I felt like I must’ve done something right.
When did you become an MC? Is that something you imagined yourself to be when you were a kid?
M: I’ve always loved the thrill & rush of doing something that instantaneously connects you to people. I felt that the most when I first did an MC-ing gig and I felt like it was something I could be good at and it felt right. So I went for it! I realized how much I loved being connected to random strangers through what I was doing. I loved how music was truly linking individuals together by having a good time and that’s what I’ve been doing since then — showing people a good time.
Which artists are you digging now?
M: I dig J.Cole, Kendrick, Badu, The Fugees, The DJs of Soulection, Bondax, Amtrac, Masego, Odesza, Tokimonsta, Tourist, Blu & Exile, Chance The Rapper, Kehlani, The Internet, Kaytranda, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, so much more! I don’t usually stick to one genre, it usually depends on my mood. Sometimes all I listen to are mixes of just dope beats. This usually helps me practice my words.
Locally, y’all should check out Chocolate Grass, She’s Only Sixteen, Techy Romantics, Rjay Tee, Curtismith, SKARM the Pharm The Hernandez Bros, RH Xanders, QUEST, Shadow Moses. For clubs and parties, peep DJs Marc Naval, Kat DJ, Abdel Aziz, Nix Damn P, Jessica Milner, Euric, Divine Smith. They have really good taste in tunes.
What are your music essentials?
M: For a performer, you’re always looking for the best engineered sound. You always want to make sure you hear that deep bass, the clear vocals, basically what gives justice to who you’re listening to. You gotta have good headphones, you gotta have good speakers, and in my case, the best microphone you could work with. Oh and disposable ear plugs!
Has your taste for music changed compared to when you started out?
M: Oh definitely. Growing up, I wasn’t into only RNB & Hiphop. In fact, a lot of people assume that’s all I listen to. But in fact, my roots lie from house, deep house, elektro and alternative music. My older sisters would listen to these types of music and that served as an influence to my taste to this day. Now as an MC, you’re surrounded by all sorts of genres from different DJs. Sometimes, I’m in the middle of a set and I turn to the DJ and tell ‘em how dope this track is, how good it sounds, how I love the mix and all. Being surrounded by music all the time takes you to different genres to appreciate and explore.
What’s one topic that you haven’t written about yet but would love to someday?
M: My mom. I haven’t written about her ‘cause you know, there’s so much to say. There’s so much to tell and sometimes it’s hard to express things that are sensitive. I love my mom and I’m waiting for that moment to come to me. So I could write about her and how amazing of a person she truly is.
What’s the one track you’ve done that you’re the proudest of?
M: The first track – it’s called “Control” and it was produced by one of the best producers I know, Mecha aka Crystalfist aka Mike Ignacio featuring Miki Hahn (who has been my longtime friend). This was under ToneDef Recordings. It’s a song that reminds myself that you take the course of life you want to, with your own control. It’s about what’s real. It’s about speaking up and taking action for things around you. It speaks about the more important things in life. How you gotta move forward, always forward. It voices out on you being able to control the wheel of your life.
Is being a female MC in the PH a blessing or a curse?
M: I wouldn’t say it’s a curse, but I would say it’s a challenge. Being a female MC in the PH especially in a male dominated industry, isn’t a walk in the park. Every day you have to prove that you can definitely do what men or anyone can do– perhaps even better. I’ve always kept the mindset to be the best I could be when performing ‘cause I know I could rock a shop, you know? I could make thousands of people throw their hands up just as how a man can do it. Life is a challenge, man. You gotta show up and blow it up. All the time.
Being a female MC in the PH is beyond a blessing. It is more than what I could say. Being able to represent the power of women is my heart and my pride because then, I am able to be an example to other women who want to do things great but are hindered because of the power of a man. I respect men just as how much they respect me. This is something I am definitely proud of.
What would make the hip-hop scene in the country perfect?
M: Equality. Equality in taste, in thought, in idea, in criteria, in vibe, in style, in sound, in everything. If you think about it, the hip hop scene preaches the most about being positive on things but in fact, a lot of these artists actually shoot other artists down. They shoot ‘em down ‘cause they fail to appreciate things others create because they always think they’re better lyricists, better beat makers, lots of that. It would be a perfect world if we didn’t.
Are you coming out with something anytime time soon?
M: Lately I’ve been occupied with some other things work-related, but I am in the works of an EP with a couple of local producers. I’m looking forward to that time! There are many unfinished tracks, many holes in some of my material, but I’m slowly getting it together and I can’t wait to be able to share it to the world.
How does it feel to be chosen as one of Sennheiser’s ambassadors?
M: The first email I received from them telling me they wanted me to be a part of the Sennheiser Sound Heroes, I yelled out “FINALLY!” Finally a brand that connects to me, a brand that is respected globally, a brand that specializes on music and the future of audio. Something I can be proud of and represent. It’s definitely surreal and an absolute blessing.
What draws you in to the brand? What attracts you to it?
M: As an MC, it’s hard to find a brand (for microphones) that understand my needs and the sound I like and need for gigs. It’s hard to find a brand that understands your problems and actually caters to it. The worry about bad feedback, the worry about the glitches and all. Sennheiser is always able to deal with those problems. Every time I prepare for a show, they hand over the microphone, and the first thing I look at is the brand. Sennheiser is always my secret boost of confidence when facing a crowd. Not to mention the precise and clean pair of headphones they have. Man, I’ve never heard anything clearer than a Sennheiser.