Welcome to my Musical Journey!

Rap Esteva - How It Started

How It Started

It all started during my theatre workshop days in Repertory Philippines back in 2002. I was exposed to these Musicals and Broadway songs because of my mother who was also a Theatre and Vocal coach at the time. I did shows like the Lion King, Once on This Island, Mamma Mia and Thirteen the Musical, to name just a few.

When I was 12, my mom bought me a Blue Nylon guitar from RJ Music store as a Christmas present. My Uncle Manny in Manila taught me the basic Chords (D, G, A, C,E). I couldn't see the sense of the chords then until I heard him play the guitar in front of me using the said chords. As far as I remember he was playing a Spanish tune.

Once I got to learn a few chords, I got so overjoyed and had to learn chords of songs I've been listening to. Just like any other beginner, I had to stop on one song because of its complexity and had to choose an easier one. At some point I had to stop for months; it was on and off experience for me learning the guitar as I only had initial lesson from my Uncle. I couldn't say also to myself that I was self taught, albeit managed to meet up with my Uncles just to have one day of special lessons. So it was like 80% self taught and 20% from personal and online tutorials.

Rap Esteva - Instruments


Guitar was my first ever instrument I've learned to play, albeit, still trying to achieve a mastery of it. I even named it NEON. Almost every guitar technique I've learned came from practicing with NEON; from strumming, plucking, fingerpicking, to simple guitar picking.

I struggled to pick songs that was right for me and my guitar. At first, my effort seemed going nowhere but I still managed to play somewhat at a level I could jam with my former classmates in high school.

In *2016*, I purchased my first career acoustic guitar and named her Crisanta. It was neither too hard to press nor too soft that the tone could suffer. And every performance I joined in, Crisanta was always my go Guitar.

In 2017, I bought my first violin which I named Alice. It was then I thought that learning guitar was hard until I realized that violin was harder. It was such a blind instrument you had to really start from the basics: from forms and positions to applicable techniques. Luckily without bargaining, I was able to go through learning it thru my experience with the guitar and by having a sound sensitive ear to guide me on what I need to press on the fingerboard.

Rap Esteva - Inspirations


When we say of inspiration, we think about the people who influenced us the most. My first inspiration was my Uncle Manny from my mother side, who was also my first guitar teacher back in 2007. He taught me all the basics I had to learn but ever since he left for Hongkong, I never got to talk to him again not until 2011 where I met him again in Hong Kong to learn Major and Minor scales and the CAGED system, demonstrating how Chords can be shaped in different positions. In 2018, I managed to visit him again for Country Violin lessons and one of the best things I've learned was the Hokum Bowing and the Figure Eight for the Orange Blossom Special.

My Uncle Henry who resides here in the Philippines, filled in the void during my beginner days of learning guitar. In 2009 I learned my first fingerpicking song from him entitled Dust in The Wind, from there I was able to woo my contemporaries who at that time was not learning much songs from the olden days.

My Uncle Herby who was also Uncle Manny bandmate in Hongkong taught me the Blues and the Advanced Fingerpicking styles which I incorporated into my technique. But he was not just an ordinary guitar mentor, he was also a life mentor. And we talked about anything from Gigs to Real life situations and what I can do with them.

New Wave

Rap Esteva - New Wave

New Wave was the very first genre I fell in love with. I was originally influenced by my Mom as I listened to Madonna, Cindy Lauper, A-ha, The Cure, The Police, just to name a few.

My Uncle Jojo was also crazy over New Wave music so I got some of his stuff from him and was jamming with him to play most 80's stuff.

At the time, the game "Guitar Hero" was a thing and we had this version of the game that played to 80's tracks which got me more excited and motivated to learn guitar, despite the genre being keyboard focused, I was always feeling hyped into listening to this type of music.

Pop Punk

Rap Esteva - Pop Punk

Alternative and Punk music were the genres that unleashed my wild side of music playing. I had a cousin named Erika who was part of a rock band competing in Band Contests at the time as well as doing Theatre.

During 2008, she brought her Electric Guitar and it was my first time holding one. She taught me to play the Power Chords and for a beginner like me, I was really happy to think that it's easy since it's just the same shape for every chord in different positions.

A classmate of mine Kenn, introduced me to such bands like Boys Like Girls, The All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy and Yellowcard. I was getting addicted to the point that I explored more and got me to having Green Day and Blink182 as my all time favorite bands.

Because of the Pop Punk flame I had, I was motivated to learn more Power Chord based songs.


Rap Esteva - Classical

Classical Music was more like a come and go genre for me as I only get to enjoy it occasionally. I would only get to play it when I feel like it, but the techniques I have not had and the complexity of the music style, always lead me to give up easily and come back again when I feel like I'm ready to play it.

My Mom was a classically-trained singer in UST. Since I was a kid, besides her new wave tracks, she'd play some classical ones as well mostly from Bach and one of her favorite pieces Canon in D by Pachelbel.

I loved some of the Classical stuffs so much I had to force myself to learn one by ear. And that is Minuet in G Major by Bach which I learned in High School of 2009 and Canon in 2010.

By 2011, my mom enrolled me in Guitar Lessons in Greenhills to learn to read notes. It did not last very long and I forgot almost everything I learned from it, but my Guitar Teacher, Phil, taught me to have discipline on plucking the strings alternately instead of having to pluck twice or thrice with one finger on a string. He also taught me to shape your fingernails properly into producing a nice guitar string sound on a Nylon Guitar with the use of Nail Filers and Nail Buffers.

When Covid-19 became pandemic and started implementing lockdowns in 2020, since gigs were not allowed, I was able to start playing Classical Music again but on the Violin. If learning Violin by ear was already a pain, it was even harder for me to play it while I read the notes on the music sheet. I usually picked up the flow of the piece by ear and had it memorized, which made it challenging for me as I had to train myself to play the piece as written in the sheet and not what is based on my memory. But eventually I was over that and got to do at least the basics of sightreading which nurtured my violin playing a bit more.

I love Classical Music but I believe it is far too late to be indulged in it as I was already enrolled in a Computer Science Degree in college. And the best thing I could do was learn the basics and appreciate where beautiful music of today really came from.

Folk, Country and Rock N Roll

Rap Esteva - Folk, Country and Rock N Roll

2011 was the most eventful year of my life, mixed with both sad and happy moments. It is also the year when I first stepped foot in Hong Kong to meet Uncle Manny and Uncle Herby. My mind was so naïve to think that I know a lot of Music already not until I saw both my Uncles perform live Folk, Country and Rock N Roll music. It was exhilarating, the music style was entirely new to me, that when I got back in Manila, I knew I had to update my personal playlist and learn some of the songs. Jim Croce, Eagles, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Simon & Garfunkel, Bread, Cat Stevens and several others were just all a bliss to listen to.

Bands / Affiliations

The most exciting part of playing music is having the opportunity to play in a band. We all know that self-practice is really important but if you want to know how far you really progressed is by collaborating with friends of the same interests. Testing ourselves to perform with people and to know much of a team player we are is no mean gift.

Being in a band is also like being in a family, you treat each other, compliment each other and enjoy music together. Like any other families, bands also undergo emotional situations that they have to resolve as a group. In spite of this, it is still fun to do music as a group.

Janemist (2011 - 2015)

Rap Esteva - Janemist (2011 - 2015)

Janemist was my first ever band. I was thrilled when I got to watch my first ever Battle of the Bands competition in my 3rd year of high school. This started the motivation for me to build my own band as I was really fascinated to see people my age to be playing music on stage.

Each and every member of Janemist was part of a band at the time of the competition. When school year was over, I was lucky enough to approach Zyril (Drummer) to invite him to form a band and I was thrilled when I played with Genrei (Lead Guitarist) for a jam session in his house.

As time went by we were growing and invited Darwin, Jona, Gizette, Kisha and Emman to be part of the band family.

We were crazy over Green Day, Blink 182 and Paramore and played most of their songs in a small studio in Libertad, Mandaluyong. We were young, alive, promising, yet broke, but dreaming to be professional musicians someday and we just kept on practicing until we were ready for each competitions or events we joined in.

We have had a fair share of ups and downs, personal dreams and aspirations got on our ways and we eventually parted off. Yet, our friendships remain.

29th of February (2015 - 2017)

Rap Esteva - 29th of February (2015 - 2017)

29th of February is a group lead by Milky (drummer) is an OPM, Pop, Rock group that I have been noticing during my college days. They were all energetic and passionate as I have observed and they love doing what they do.

I joined the group when the leader invited me to take over one of their members. The highlight of my journey with them was the weekly commitment to be in their band rehearsals. I was so amazed how much dedication everyone shows for the rehearsals which led us being part of the Top 3 Finalists in the 2015 Tiendesitas Sessionistas Competition, followed by being Champions in a contest held at Trinity University.

After a year, we continued on and participated in Greenwich's Band Contest and another organized by Atmos Music Society.

Folk Ridge (2017 - Present)

Rap Esteva - Folk Ridge (2017 - Present)

At some point, I felt lost and overwhelmed with everything during my time as a college student and as an emerging musician. I was a little confused on what musical style I wanted to pursue.

But then all those inspirations that built up from my Uncles made me decide to go back to lead another group again but this time I went from Rock to Folk music and give myself a little taste on the latter genre.

I ended up liking it so much and became so dedicated I had to upskill myself. It took me two years to form Folk Ridge and another year for it to be strongly established.

Country and Folk music used to be a thing in the 70s-80s, the time I started to form this kind of group made me realized how Manila is overrun too much by Rock, Reggae, Pop music. Filipino Millennials and Gen Zs often refer Country and Folk music as old music, which is something sad for me to hear. I never knew how challenging and fun the musical style can be. I hope that with this band, it can change their perception with this kind of music and make Folk, Country and Rock N Roll be great again!

Other Bands

Rap Esteva - Other Bands

Other bands I also like to thank when I was a student are New World, Pitch Street and Catalyst. Honestly, their genres Hard Rock and Pop were all different for me but I still enjoyed it.

I'm also a part time violinist for Yandelz Wedding group on which it specializes on Wedding and other related events.

Currently, I am a part of an Indie-OPM group called Slumberparty. I'm excited to see how far the band can go and the compositions that Zoe (band leader) will present to the group in the future.