Last Saturday, SB19’s Ken released a solo song titled “Bulan” under his stage name FELIP. As A’TIN and FELIP’s fans were streaming hard, the song quickly gained traction with over 700,000 views as of writing. But it also captured the attention of one fandom. Upon listening to the song and watching the music video, the fans of Chinese singer Lay Zhang (a member of Korean boy group EXO, also known as Zhang Yixing) pointed out similarities between “Bulan” and Lay Zhang’s 2020 song “Lit”, with photos and videos putting the two songs side by side.
@bambaekluvr I am a Filo and this needs to be addressed. There is indeed a resemblance. It would be fine if the producers said that their ideas were inspired/derived from that of Lay’s. But they didn’t and that is the issue. I hope their management could explain this. #fyp ♬ original sound – exopods
‘Bulan’ and ‘Lit’
Lay Zhang’s “Lit” fuses traditional Chinese music and modern pop against a background of Chinese myth and lore. The song had a history of being plagiarized before, which may have attributed to how passionately Zhang’s fans are about protecting his work.
Meanwhile, FELIP’s “Bulan” mixes experimental hip-hop and rock influences with ethnic elements, presented in a music video that draws inspiration from Philippine mythology.
Angry fans on both sides
After fans of Lay Zhang slammed “Bulan” with allegations of copying Zhang’s work, the two fandoms involved engaged in an online war of words. A’TIN defended “Bulan”, saying that it’s an original work based on Philippine mythology, while EXO-Ls asked FELIP and his team to give proper credit to Zhang. The allegations have blown up so much that it even made its way into Chinese social media platform Weibo.
whether we know the fandom or not, we, a’tin should know how to calm down and let the people who are part of it handle the situation. the best things we could do is to control our emotions and settle down. leave twitter if u must. goodnight :))
— ًmark (@fanboytwts) May 30, 2022
The point will remain the same: none of us have anything against the artist and we think what he’s doing (representing his culture) is admirable. We just ask for the work of other artists to be recognized and credited and not copied for one’s own gain
— May (@_mayzyx) May 30, 2022
Earlier today, FELIP responded to the allegations in a statement expounding on the elements and inspirations in his song.
He acknowledged the similarities of the two songs, but added that “a closer examination of the chord progressions, instrumentation, samples used, and even syllabication will prove the claim otherwise,” with the melody and ethnic chants being rooted in “indigenous Filipino ritual music, made modern with the addition of rock and hip-hop elements.”
Hello, this is FELIP & team.
We are aware of certain posts circulating on social media alluding to the similarities between Bulan & Lay Zhang’s Lit. We’d like to clarify the allegations & shed light on the concerns as these are issues that need to be addressed. pic.twitter.com/bTNmgi1CJf
— FELIP (@felipsuperior) May 31, 2022
FELIP also pointed out how creating art usually involves drawing inspiration from other works: “As the creation of art is often borne out of inspiration, it is inevitable for any of my (or any artist for that matter) songs to have some similarities in style with other artists as I often harness my musical references when creating,” saying that he was, in fact, influenced by Lay Zhang.
In regards to the similarities of the two music videos, he enumerated each visual element one by one, naming his references and how he drew inspiration from pre colonial Filipino lore. “‘Bulan’ was heavily and responsibly researched that details in the MV had its cultural basis, executed with some variations so as not to offend any cultures/indigenous populations,” FELIP said.
FELIP concluded his statement by giving credit to Lay Zhang and his song, “acknowledging ‘Lit’ as one of the many references that we used for the work we do” as well as by issuing an apology for the incident. “Moving forward, we will continue to create more art, break stereotypes and promote Filipino culture and artistry,” he ended.
Netizens, including fans of Lay Zhang, commended the statement, thanking FELIP for addressing the allegations.
As an EXO-L, thank you for clarifying. We need this for our peace of minds. I hope you understand as a fan and as a Filipino, I am proud and you are bringing our culture to the world. I didn’t know you yet but am surely be rooting for you! 💪
— gie-myeoniee (@gieaniss) May 31, 2022
What do you think of this issue?