Tondo, Manila is a place where people struggle on a daily basis. It is well known as one of the poorest regions in the Philippines. Born and raised here, singer/songwriter Otan Vargas spent his formative years surrounded mostly by poverty and despair. It is this humble background which helps motivate him to this very day. Vargas’ music is a powerfully simplistic combination of melancholy vocals accompanied by a brooding acoustic guitar. He writes songs about man’s struggle, sorrow and pain and finding the strength to continue on. What started out simply as a means of personal therapy for himself has transformed into an inspirational beacon for adoring fans worldwide.
Vargas grew up immersed in music from an early age. His father is an accomplished international entertainer and his siblings all sing and play musical instruments. But it wasn’t until the age of 17 that Otan would start playing the acoustic guitar. Around that time, he also began to follow his father to his shows in the Philippines. It was a great experience for him to see his dad perform live and learn how he handled business matters. But ironically, the family discouraged Otan from pursuing a career in music knowing firsthand how difficult the industry could be.