A new music video starring a Frenchman singing about his love for the Philippines is turning out to be a great pitch for tourism in the country.
The song, "Phil So Good", is written and performed by French writer-turned-musician Julien Drolon.
Shot on location across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the video can be seen on YouTube and on the website juliendrolon.com. It shows Drolon basking in the sun on various beaches in the country and extolling, in French and English, this "paradise on earth". He also visits other popular destinations.
The music is an upbeat mix of funk, reggae and dance pop, and lends a cosmopolitan touch to the tropical scenarios.
But it is the guest appearance of Filipino actress Rhian Ramos that kicks the video into high gear. Ramos raps in English and Tagalog about what makes the country tick. She is visually arresting-singing and dancing, fixing the camera with persuasive eyes that seem to speak only the truth!
Drolon told Inquirer Entertainment that he saw Ramos' hilarious cameos on Moymoy Palaboy's famous spoof music videos, and was convinced she was perfect for "Phil So Good".
He said Rhian was one of the main reasons that he had decided to spend more time in the country. "More than the places, it's the people that made me come back again and again," he said.
Drolon, 30, produced an earlier video that was a cover version of VST & Co.'s "Ipagpatawad Mo (Forgive Me)", and featured a Filipino beauty queen, Venus Raj, fourth runner-up in the 2010 Miss Universe contest.
The Frenchman first came to Manila in 2007 while on assignment for an international news agency to write a story on investment prospects in the Philippines.
His five-month stay was extended to another five months when he was commissioned to write another article about the country.
After doing more writing around the world, he took a break in Mexico and Spain. He said spiritual enlightenment came to him in Mexico and led him to pursue music as a career.
"The Philippines is the land of music in Asia," Drolon said, explaining his decision to launch his music career here. "In France we don't live music the way Filipinos do."
He admitted that his passion was rooted in his appreciation of Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.
He has so far recorded six songs with an all-Filipino lineup of musicians that also serve as his regular band, including keyboardist Leal Nanca, who wrote the rap lyrics to "Phil So Good." Drolon has also worked with Noel Mendez, Jack Rufo, Rico Blanco and the band Brownman Revival.
The six tracks are contained in an EP album, also titled "Phil So Good", now available online through iTunes and Amazon. It will be released in music stores nationwide at the end of this month.
Drolon is currently on a mall tour around the country. He said he has signed a deal to distribute his album in China, and will promote the record in Spain and in France.