Bopea, a music festival established in 2015, will return to Phnom Penh in February. According to Bopea founder Tin Kolmen, the latest festival will be held under the theme of “Original songs, bands and electronic dance music (EDM)” as a response to the heat these issues have generated with the music industry of late. More than just a festival, Bopea is becoming a platform for the younger generation to learn about various music subcultures.
“I can see there is confusion in the music industry. This time, we will talk about original songs, bands and EDM,” he said. As the number of singers and songwriters in Cambodia rises, the issue of original songwriting has sparked controversy–and some confusion–within the local music industry. But Mr. Kolmen believes many people are confused about what an original song actually is, as opposed to a new song, copy or cover version.
Part of the problem, he said, stems from the behavior of the artists who perform and compose original songs. He described a pattern in which some new artists find sudden popularity with a hit original song, handle the fame poorly and engage in bad behavior, and then suffer personal attacks in an audience backlash.
He said original song-writers need good advice when they’re getting started. In line with Bopea’s themes, part of the audition process for all new talent is to undergo behavior training and other types of instruction to allow them to better manage their ascent to stardom.
“The idea behind Bopea is to give a chance to young original song-makers to perform on stage; but they will need to go through our audition process,” he said.
The audition process has reached the semifinal stage, which involves online voting.
Six solo singers and six bands are required to produce short music videos with the help of a producer, for use in online voting. The idea is that they learn the ropes of working with producers, and other types of teamwork. The live auditions will be staged by the beginning of January in order to bring more quality original song-makers and singers to the music industry.