Malaysian band rocks US chart

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 10 Oct 2015

Flying high: (From left) Yap, Oommen and Ravi who are making it big in the United States.

PETALING JAYA: Local pop rock band Paperplane Pursuit has taken off big time in the United States with the song, Feel Good, which hit No. 30 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 Indicator Chart last week, ahead of established US acts such as Maroon 5 and Adam Lambert.

Unlike the main Billboard Hot 100 chart, which combines single sales, radio airplay, digital downloads and streaming activity, the Billboard Indicator chart measures radio airplay alone.

“It’s like a test tube for the main charts,” said the band’s lead singer and primary songwriter John Oommen (better known by his stage name John O).

“Big labels would go to the Indicator charts to look for the next big thing.”

The song’s success is the result of a promotion campaign the band has been conducting for close to a year with Asia International Records (AIR), a music promotion company that works with record labels.

AIR is working with Paperplane Pursuit’s label, Breaking Records, to push the band in the United States.

“The campaign really exceeded our expectations,” said Oommen, 31, in a phone interview.

“A huge contributing factor was the fans back home. When we broke the news that we had entered the chart, our fans just went with it and wrote to the radio stations to request the song.

“That bumped up airplay, and other stations started picking it up too.”

Formed in 2009, the band also consists of guitarist Isaac Ravi, 28, and drummer Andrew “Drew” Yap, 31. The band has released two albums – Malaysia 2.0 (2011) and Higher (2014).

Oommen wrote Feel Good for someone he cared about deeply.

“I think highly about this person, but this person doesn’t see his own worth. It’s become my anthem for all the people with self-esteem issues,” he explained.

Paperplane Pursuit recently released its latest single Who’s Gonna Stop Us in Malaysia, which will be the next one to be sent to radio stations in the United States.

“It is a big deal to us that we did well in Malaysia before going anywhere else. We’ve had strong support from the fans, media and radio stations here,” said Oommen.

Calling Malaysia a “wonderful place to make music”, he said the band’s dream was to spread its music internationally.

“We want to give Malaysia something to be proud of and put us on the map for the right reasons,” he added.

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