All-girl pop-rock band ROUGE is celebrating their seventh-year anniversary.

The band intentionally had latest single “Kalimutan Ka” released early this year to commemorate the occasion.

“Super proud lang talaga ako sa seventh-year namin,” said bassist Kara Mendez.  

“I’ve seen many bands who have given up already. And I’ve also seen successful bands but were in-fighting and eventually disbanded,” she continued.

Kara is a founding member of ROUGE. The vocalist-bassist have seen former members go in her course with the band.

ROUGE was formed in May 2013 by Paulo Zarate and JP Montilla. It was Kara, co-founding guitarist-vocalist Jeri Oro, drummer Celina Pastor and guitarist Ayu Kassinique in the beginning.

Then it was violins over guitars when Ayu left and was replaced by vocalist-violinist Princess Ybañez. Pastor eventually went to be replaced by one Jacq Abad Santos. The latter also went and left room for vocalist-drummer Gyan Bondoc in 2014.

And it is this lineup of Kara, Jeri, Princess and Gyan that stands strong to this day celebrating their 7th year together.

“It was a necessary evolution for us that made us stronger,” said Kara of the early changes that ROUGE went through. “We were all the better for it.”

Still, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for ROUGE.

“There were moments: first, was during the first year of ROUGE. Before Gyan came into the picture to complete the cast. We changed drummers 3 times. Many days we wanted to give up (during) that crucial first year. Next was when Jeri decided to get married and start a family 2 years ago. Our very busy schedule would make it impossible for her to do the band and take care of a family.”

“We tried finding a replacement but Jeri is irreplaceable. Period. (Then) the pandemic happened and everyone had a change in perspective.”

It was during the lockdowns that the band realized the group’s worth in their lives. “So much gratitude for the blessings the band has given to us as artists and as human beings. We would have missed beautiful and rich memories of life experiences without each other.”

The bassist went on to say that “despite age gaps, different backgrounds and (other) indifferences,” the band remains solid.

And their secret to keeping it together and advice for other bands?  

“Be good people to each other. Be a good person in general. Don’t try to dominate one another. The goal is not to be “right”. It should always be “what is best for all.” When ego and the desire to be right is out of the picture, the flow is much easier moving forward.”

The singer-bassist credits their team, supporters, fans and family for keeping ROUGE running for seven years now.

“Salamat sa inyo fam for keeping us solid. We are so grateful!”

Source: Manila Bulletin (