With certain artists, you often have a preconceived notion of what to expect based on their image; perhaps it’s something to do with their choice of clothing and jewelry; perhaps it’s the way they carry themselves. Something about the artist triggers the subconscious to anticipate a particular type of performance. However, when it comes to Las Vegas Hip Hop and R&B artist Elmer Abapo, there’s an initial uncertainty with what to expect.
Standing at 5’5” and dressed in a minimalist aesthetic, Elmer Abapo discards the traditional extravagant jewelry and flamboyant clothing choices of his contemporaries, speaking to his philosophy towards music: stripping away all of the superficial and revealing the beauty underneath. Addressing the audience in a soft spoken, yet confident tone of voice, he speaks with a calculated cadence that momentarily neutralizes the energy in the room. One moment, Elmer Abapo is a cool and composed speaker; the next moment, he transforms into a dynamic whirlwind of vocal prowess, filling the room with a flood of energy that any unprepared audience could never anticipate.
A first generation Filipino-American, Elmer Abapo’s music depicts the ever-continuing journey of finding happiness and more importantly, learning oneself amidst Asian cultural expectations for success, society’s affinity towards negativity, and the greatest obstruction to success: lack of belief in one’s own mind.
Naturally, audiences can find a way to relate to these experiences and Elmer Abapo’s ability to produce and song-write creates a cohesive sound that paints those experiences through his eyes. Lofty falsettos and soulful chest belts effortlessly soar above self-produced beats. Articulating every word, his intense delivery seems to authenticate everything he is saying. The music production backing him is as versatile as his own voice, sliding up and down the genre spectrum, but often finds root with heavy, atmospheric late-night drive music. Occasionally, the music may branch off into stank-faced Bass Funk like ‘Wasting No Time’ or delve into heart-thumping House with ‘Indigo Child’, but no matter the genre, it seems that Elmer Abapo has the innate ability to match the energy and find his own place: a natural genre bender.
Stemming from recent epiphanies inspired by immersing himself with self-development books and mentors, Elmer Abapo’s music has matured in recent years to focusing on loving of oneself and others, as well as understanding the patience needed in order to grow. In pioneering such worthy ideals, Elmer Abapo seeks to be the artist that not only breaks the negative stigma often associated with Hip Hop and R&B music, but also the artist that breaks the glass ceiling for Asian artists in urban culture.