FACES OF CEBU: Jomari “Jomzay” Gil Denuro, 28, nominated for the 2022 FilCan Music Awards
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Filipino-Canadian Jomari “Jomzay” Gil Denuro was 9 years old when he started associating words and music.
Nearly two decades later, he is bringing his hometown of Cebu City pride to the international stage as the only Cebuano nominee for the 2022 FILCAN Music Awards, an award body that recognizes the talent and artistry of Filipino immigrants. and people of Filipino origin in Canada.
Denuro got his musical genes from his family, who enjoy playing music outside of their home in Arriola.
“I vividly remember hanging out outside our house in Arriola and the adults at that time would just jam with their guitars and I would start writing to the beat. The lyrics weren’t the best and it was complete nonsense, but I enjoyed that process of creating something out of nothing – it then slowly evolved into poetry and performing my poetry on stage and in competition across Canada through a youth group at the time,” said Jomzay, now 28.
Growing up in Cebu, he was influenced by Original Pinoy Music (OPM), Bisrock, hiphop and rnb. When he moved to Edmonton, Alberta City, Canada, his eyes were opened to more genres of music.
Over the years Jomzay met musicians like him in Canada and they founded a band, 12.01, featuring Denuro as lead songwriter and Michael ‘Mvki’ Cadorna as lead vocalist.
“Our music is really inspired by the experience of life and what we see around us. As the main songwriter of our band, 12.01, I tend to pull back memories of my childhood and my experiences growing up in Cebu and the relationships I had when I was there,” said said Jomzay.
Their group has already found success with performances with December Avenue, JRoa, Hale, Luke Mejares, Parokya ni Edgar, among others.
“But nothing beats a nomination for this year’s FILCAN Music Awards. Our song 12:01 featuring JusJrdn, who is also a local artist in Edmonton, was nominated for Collaboration of the Year. It was a surreal moment to get the nomination. For us, it was a testament to all the hard work we put into our craft, a validation that we are on the right track. Regardless of the outcome, we already feel like we’ve won with the recognition alone. Winning it will just be an added bonus,” Jomzay said.
Jomzay said he was in a very toxic relationship and that’s how the song’s main message came about.
“We wanted to make it an empowering experience – that no matter what you’re going through, you have the power to overcome those challenges and overcome the pain,” he said.
The songwriter is ecstatic and excited for the nomination as he not only represents Edmonton, Alberta, but also his beloved hometown, Cebu.
For him, the experience is humbling, showing the world the talent of Cebuanos, especially at a time when many local artists are also emerging in Cebu.
The success of Jomzay and 12.01 is proof that Filipino talent can thrive anywhere in the world.
“It’s hard to put a real value on success, but if there’s one thing I can say to anyone who wants to get into the arts, it’s to keep going. As cliché as it sounds, it’s the only way to be successful in this art form and in all the arts. Not everyone will like what you do and that’s okay. Do it for yourself, as long as you love what you do. Your happiness and success should not come from the opinions of others. It has to come from you first and the rest will fall in line,” he added.
As for his love for Cebu, Jomzay said their upcoming single is actually dedicated and inspired by the beautiful beaches of Cebu. CDN Digital was treated to an exclusive preview of the song, which is inspired by scenic spots around the country.
If Jomzay had the opportunity to write a song about the Philippines and Cebu, he said he would transform the lives of Filipino women into music and lyrics.
“If we were to write a song about Cebu/Philippines, it would have to be about the beautiful and strong Philippines in our lives because they are our support system. Our moms, our eats, our loved ones; without them there is no us, their strength and courage really inspires us and it would probably be in the tune of Anees and a bit of Chance the Rapper,” he said.
For those in the Philippines who aspire to the music scene, find their own sound as the music industry here is already saturated.
He added that it will be a difficult journey, but we must not lose hope and faith. After all, the beauty of music and words is the heart that creates them.
FACES OF CEBU: Janos Vizcayno Jr., 37, sports surgeon