Meet singer-songwriter Virtus Lenon. His first name has two meanings: “he who has moral excellence” and “he who is highly skilled.” However, he says that’s really ironic because he doesn’t see himself that way.
You know what? That’s just Virtus being humble. His new single “Asa Pa” is different from his previous releases because it’s more synth-pop, and it’s proof that he’s one to watch.
“I decided to make it sound that way, even if I knew it would strike some people as weird. There are people who are used to hearing me make music in my primary style na alternative pop and folk. But I didn’t want to limit myself,” Virtus explains.
It does seem like there are no limits to his talents as a musician, because Virtus is what’s known as a DIY (do it yourself) artist. Not only does he write his own songs, but he arranges and produces them too. He’s a one-man team in the recording studio, which is impressive. Not many artists can do that.
He says “Asa Pa” is about how hard it can be to to move on from someone.
“It’s easy to move on when you don’t see them often, pero what if you’re together every day? What if they do something that makes you assume or hope na pwede pang maging kayo? Parang mind games between you and your feelings tuloy ang nangyayari.”
A few years ago, Virtus uploaded several videos of himself performing anime theme songs. He became famous when those videos went viral, but what Virtus really wanted was to be known for his original compositions. So he began releasing originals online in 2017. Including “Asa Pa,” he has seven songs on Spotify.
In the beginning, his family wasn’t sure it was a wise decision for Virtus to become a full-time musician. But they changed their minds when they saw how passionate he is about the arts in general. For instance, before the pandemic hit, he was working as a video editor in Metro Manila. He’s also learning more about the technical side of music, because one of his dreams is to help younger artists—particularly those from his hometown of Nueva Ecija—the way his mentors helped him.
Virtus first picked up a guitar when he was 13 years old. A year later, he wrote his first song. That put Virtus on the path to the Elements Music Camp, where he honed his craft under OPM icons like National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, Ebe Dancel, Jazz Nicolas of the Itchyworms, and more.
“The most important lesson I learned at the Elements Music Camp is that ‘the key to your success is yourself.’ That camp taught me what I need to do this on my own. Kung ano man maabot ko sa industriya, I owe it to my batchmates and our mentors,” he says earnestly.
In 2017, Virtus became a camper at the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (FILSCAP) Songwriting Camp. It was there that Virtus reconnected with Raimund Marasigan of Eraserheads and Sandwich. Raimund remembered Virtus from his Elements Music Camp stint in 2015 and took the younger musician under his wing.
“Naging mentor ko siya, and tinulungan niya ako sa pagbuo ng ‘Asa Pa.’ He helped me create the groove of the song,” Virtus reveals. “I realized malawak yung appreciation niya sa music na pine-present sa kanya. When I played the song for him before, sabi niya OK naman na daw siya, pero nagbigay pa rin siya ng ilang suggestions to improve it. I’m really thankful to him for that.”
Now that “Asa Pa” and its official music video are finally out, Virtus hopes they will show people a different side of him as a musician.
“Asa Pa” is out now on all digital music platforms.
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