There was a time when it was easy to tell if you've made it as a musical performer. Sell a bunch of records, make it to the top of the charts, sell-out arenas, that sort of thing. But now, there's definitely more to it. Physical album sales and charts have given way to streaming data, and the pandemic has effectively shut down live events and touring in many places around the world.
So, how else can you tell if you've ~made it~ as an artist? Well, having a billboard on Times Square in New York is certainly something. Over the years, a few Filipino artists and local celebrities have had their faces shown across one of the most famous and most photographed city squares in the world. Most of them were being promoted through global streaming platform Spotify. Here are some of them:
Julie Anne San Jose
The singer and actress is the latest Pinay artist to be featured on a billboard in New York's Times Square. She is part of Spotify's Equal campaign "which aims to empower women all around the world." Julie Anne is also a featured artist in Spotify's Equal Global playlist with her song "Free," alongside Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, David Guetta, and other big-name international artists.
In April this year, singer and actress Nadine Lustre posted her own Times Square digital billboard. She, too, was included in Spotify's Equal Philippines campaign playlist. "We made it to NYC," she said.
A month after Nadine Lustre's appearance on the Times Square billboard, it was James Reid's turn. This time, the billboard was to promote Amazon Music's "Mixtape Asia" playlist, where James' song "Crazy" is included.
In June this year, indie singer-songwriter Reese Lansangan posted her Times Square billboard moment on Twitter. It was yet again, to promote the Equal Philippines playlist on Spotify. Reese released her second album, Time Well Spent, earlier this year.
Filipino-British singer and songwriter beabadoobee (aka Beatrice Kristi Laus) posted that she, too, made it to a billboard on Times Square last October. The promotion was for her second album Fake It Flowers. The Iloilo-born artist first made it to the mainstream with her massive hit single "Coffee."
Red Tan may not yet be a household name, but she's definitely on her way up. Born in Manila, the singer competed and won at the World Championships of Performing Arts in the U.S. in 2018 and eventually pursued musical theater in London. She has several songs on Spotify and other streaming platforms. In December last year, Red posted on her Instagram about her appearance on several digital billboards in Times Square.
Actress, fashionista, and philanthropist Heart Evangelista is part of the elite club whose faces have graced a Times Square billboard. Hers was for an ad campaign for fashion brand Ia's Threads by Ia Faraoni, which was beamed in the Big Apple in January this year. "Waking up with my face in Times Square is so surreal," she wrote on Twitter.
Leren Mae Bautista
Leren Mae Bautista is a beauty queen who was second runner-up in the Miss Globe beauty pageant in 2019. In June this year, she posted a video on her Instagram showing her face on the cover of Filipina magazine, which was, in turn, featured on a billboard in NYC's Times Square.