Rapper and songwriter John Neil Roa (a.k.a. “John Roa”) revealed on Tuesday, February 5, that has officially gone solo, leaving his former hip hop group Ex Battalion to focus on his solo musical career. He signed an exclusive contract with Viva Artist Agency and he is set to release his EP later this month and soon after his music video too.
Originally hailing from Cebu, John wrote his first song at the age of 10. He joined various talent competitions like Pilipinas Got Talent in 2013 but his name rose to fame online when he joined Ex B. He made several songs with the group including “Need You”, “Bootyful”, and an unofficial version of the group’s breakout hit “Hayaan Mo Sila” before deciding to go solo in the latter part of 2017.
Roa clarified that there’s no bad blood between him and the band (who popularized the song “Hayaan Mo Sila”). He expressed his intent to leave the group nicely and they mutually accepted his decision.
“Nakasali ako sa Ex Battalion last 2016. I tried to blend in by studying hip-hop R&B hanggang napag-usapan namin, kalagitnaan ng 2017, nasabi ko na gusto kong mag-explore sa music ko. Gusto ko naman na makilala ng ibang tao kung ano pa yung kaya kong gawin sa music ko. Napag-usapan namin na mag-leave ako by August 2017, pero naging public siya nung December.
John Roa released the single “Oks Lang” last January 13 which was arrange and produced by his mentor Quest. “Oks Lang” currently has over 3 million YouTube views doing well in various music charts.