The whirlwind popularity of Lola Amour’s “Raining In Manila” cannot be understated. The song peaked at number two on the global Spotify charts, just second to Jungkook and Latto’s “Seven.” From K-pop boy group ENHYPEN’s Jake to Thai rapper and singer BamBam of Got7, we’ve seen multiple cosigns for the track coinciding with the rainy season of the Philippines itself which continually had the song trend across social media platforms. Since then, the band has embarked on their wildly succesful nationwide Raining In Manila tour, with appearances on TV, radio, and digital.
It’s been a steady climb for the group, with viral hits being released one after the other. From “Pwede Ba,” to “Fallen,” their Al James collaboration “Madali,” and the band’s current chart topper, “Raining In Manila.”
What Lola Amour have mastered is the balance between building a consistent signature sound but leaving enough space for reinvention. “Raining In Manila” is the epitome of that: the glistening piano chords are reminiscent of “Pwede Ba,” the syncopated brass riffs seem to be borrowed from previous tracks like “Fools,” but in “Raining in Manila,” Lola Amour delivers a fresh take on their songwriting with incredibly catchy instrumentation to match.
Billboard Philippines spoke with Pio Dumayas, Raymond King, David Yuhico, Angelo Mesina, Zoe Gonzales, Raffy Perez, and Jeff Abueg on what went right with “Raining In Manila” and how they’re gearing up for their upcoming debut album.
Billboard Philippines: You’ve mentioned in previous videos and interviews that “Raining in Manila” was being worked on for a long time, and went through several versions. What was the moment that you knew that this was the final form of the song?
David Yuhico: When we were about to release it, they were like “oh, it’s too long.” So, we didn’t know until the very last step that this was the final version. Until the end, it was versions on versions.
Pio Dumayas: Songwriting-wise at least, it went through a lot of versions. Nagsulat si Raymond ng lyrics [Raymond wrote some lyrics,] and nakailang revisions na siya [he had done multiple revisions already,] until one day he came to the rehearsal studio with new lyrics and a melody. That was the day he showed us “It’s been raining in Manila / Hindi ka ba nilalamig?” [It’s been raining in Manila / Aren’t you cold?]
Most of the lyrics were scrapped, but “It’s been raining in Manila / Hindi ka ba nilalamig?” stayed. I think that’s when the final version of the song started. That’s when we filled up the lyrics and fleshed out the rest of the song.
Raymond King: I think what helped was the fact that we were playing the song [live] long before we released it. We got to road test it. It helps to play a song live before releasing it because you can kind of get the feel of what’s missing or something.
Billboard Philippines: In your opinion, what factors or variables do you think made “Raining In Manila” get so big when it did?
Pio Dumayas: [The rain] gave us [the] opportunity to get so many memes out there so people could instantly relate even if they didn’t understand the song yet. That was the first wave. When the song came out, the first thing that gave us exposure or reach were the memes that people were sharing in relation to it [like] baha sa España at may nagje-jetski sa University of Santo Tomas [like it’s flooding in España at someone was riding a jetski at the University of Santo Tomas].
It was like a chain of events where there was one main influencer every week (laughs). First, it was the memes. Second was when the ENGENEs [fanbase of K-pop boy group, ENHYPEN] discovered us. Ni-reto nila kami kay [They recommended us to] Jake [member in ENHYPEN].
After that week, that’s when it started reaching everyone. We started getting Instagram stories of toddlers singing along to the song, we also released a lyric breakdown before it went viral. People started sharing their stories or telling us that they related to the meaning of the song. It’s a mix of being prepared and luck.
Angelo Mesina: A lot of markets abroad received the song well. I think the English lyrics in the chorus also helped people visualize [rain] in Manila.
Pio Dumayas: We were able to hit [those] markets abroad because of the topic of the song. If you look at our data, you can see the countries where we have a following outside of the Philippines, you’ll see the United States, Australia, Dubai, Singapore…the places where you’re sure you have a friend who migrated there.
The stars aligned for Lola Amour’s “Raining in Manila.” With a mixture of timing, preparation, and luck, their latest single skyrocketed the band even further into the mainstream, proving the saying true that when it rains, it indeed pours.
A version of this story appeared in Billboard Philippines’ pop issue, dated Oct. 15, 2023.