Born in Cubao, Quezon City, Bryan Estepa has come full circle with the release of his album, “Every Little Thing” with Manila-based indie label Lilystars Records. Though his family moved to Sydney, Australia in 1987, his upbringing in the Philippines left a very musical mark on his life. His musical influences are across the map, ranging from Muddy Waters to 90’s Alternative music and Hall & Oates, but his constant go-to artists are The Beatles and their respective solo projects, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, The Band, You Am I, and Elliott Smith.
Memories of his uncles singing John Lennon’s songs around the house in Cubao, QC, are among his earliest. Relatives filled young Bryan’s ears with the Eagles (Hotel California) and Simon & Garfunkel (Sound Of Silence), and he spent hours sifting through his British uncle’s vinyl collection of 60’s Rock and Roll.
Likened to a cross between Alt-Country and Power Pop, Estepa simply calls himself a singer-songwriter, a craft he has pursued since he was 15. Life, friends, and more recently, his young family give him plenty of writing inspiration. Starting his adult musical journey fronting indie pop band Swivel in Sydney’s late-90s pub scene, he recorded his inaugural CD with the band, which paved the way for his solo career. A year of travelling across the USA and performing at open mics inspired songs for his first solo EP, ‘Start Again’ in 2003. This upbeat collection was enthusiastically received in Sydney’s iconic local live music venues and was spun on Sydney’s underground and US East Coast college radio.
His next album, ‘All the Bells and Whistles’ was released independently in 2006 after which Estepa was approached and signed by Melbourne’s Popboomerang Records, followed by Spanish label Rock Indiana Records for release in Spain and Europe. Estepa toured Spain and the USA in 2007 before releasing ‘Sunday Best’ in 2008, for which he was heavily influenced by the sounds of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Ryan Adams and Wilco. The album was lauded in the press, earning ‘Indie album of the week’ honours in The Brag magazine. The album’s first single ‘Myself’ was included in an episode of cult Canadian TV show DeGrassi Junior High. A second tour of Spain in 2009 with ‘Sunday Best’ found Estepa playing live radio and festivals including a sell-out concert at Madrid’s infamous club, The Wurlitzer Ballroom.
Estepa’s third album ‘Vessels’ was recorded in 2011 with ‘Laughing Outlaw Records,’ and received regular airplay on Australian indie radio. After touring Spain a third time in support of ‘Vessels,’ he released ‘Heart vs Mind’ in 2013 in Australia on 12-inch vinyl. Winning support of the Australian music press with feature reviews and an Album of the Week nod in several major Sydney newspapers, the album was an ambitious undertaking that Estepa calls his “most complete and cohesive album to date.”
In 2015, Estepa toured Europe including London, England, Spain and Sweden, while writing songs for his latest album, ‘Every Little Thing.’ The recording was completed with his new band, ‘The Tempe Two,’ and was released May, 2016 with indie Philippine label, Lilystars Records.
Estepa had his first ever Philippine tour in 2017 to promote his album, ‘Every Little Thing’ in various cities in the country together with other Lilystars Records artists,. In the same year, after going back to Australia, he released a single called ‘Rattled and Rolled’ which was amazingly produced in just one day at Love Hz Studios with record producer Michael Carpenter whom he had worked with in producing his single, ‘All the Bells and Whistles’. It was followed by the release of his music video of Rattled and Rolled which featured clips from his Philippine tour. For the remaining months of the year, he had live performances with his new band The Tempe Two in Newtown and Glebe, Australia.
Estepa reunited with his other bandmates and the 5-piece band started off the year 2018 with a gig in Newtown together with special guests The Dardi Shades and Harvey Russell. A few months after, he shared the stage with Melbourne Guitar Pop legends, EVEN and DJ Roz Brown. He then released another single, ‘No Ordinary’. This year was ended with Estepa as a guest performer in ‘Hello OZ Tour’ which was the first Australia tour of Orange & Lemons.
In 2019, Estepa performed alongside Peta Caswell in her EP Launch in Enmore, New South Wales. In May, he released a brand new single called ‘I’m Not Ready For This’ and its music video directed by Michael Carpenter two weeks after. This single topped the charts reaching the #13 spot on the iTunes Top 200 Australia Singer-Songwriter chart gaining 2k on Spotify streams and 1.5k views on YouTube and Facebook in just a matter of two weeks. It got attention from the press being featured on various music blogs and played on different radio stations. In just a few months after, he released his 6th solo album, ‘Sometimes I Just Don’t Know’, digitally in major streaming networks and physically in CD and vinyl and record launch shows. Estepa and the band ended 2019 with two more live performances in Marrickville and Dulwich Hill.
Before the pandemic started, Estepa was able to hold another tour in Japan having two shows at the start of 2020 with Dragonfly Collector. He then took part in the Support Act’s fundraising activity to provide assistance to those part of the music industry affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. Life goes on for Estepa as he did not let the pandemic hold him back in putting out new music with his two single releases in March and September. He took an extra step further in helping out charities by donating all Bandcamp revenues from his single, ‘Weight in Gold’. Admit Now, Pay Later is his latest single and its music video premiered in Rolling Stone Australia on September 24.
Photo of Bryan Estepa by Peta Caswell
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