What was the feeling when you heard that Sony wanted to sign you?
Super nagulat ako because at first I didn’t plan to sign sa label. I planned to stay independent. But after hearing what Sony wants to happen, in-explain ko sa kanila yung direction na gusto kong tahakin, and yun. With Sony, kausap ko sila Maan and they were super supportive dun sa direction. I really felt that they see me as an artist.
One of your songs, Ayaw, went viral because of how you tackled the issue of consent. Where’d you get the inspiration for it?
Ang hirap sagutin kasi pakalat-kalat siya. It’s literally everywhere. The song talks about sexual harassment and catcalling and victim blaming. It’s everywhere and I think it’s something na kailangan nating pag-usapan, lalo na sa generation ko. I want them to be aware of these topics na taboo.
I was wondering about it because that’s not something local artists your age usually think to write about in music these days, and with as much depth.
Feel ko as an artist, yun yung role ko. Ako yung magiging voice. Last year ko lang na-realize na gusto kong mag-rebrand. Kasi dati, yung first two songs na na-release ko puro hugot, typical pop songs. There’s nothing wrong with that, kung gusto mo ng ganyang music. Ang akin lang is feeling ko lang na sobrang daming music na ganoon? Gusto ko lang umiba ng onti. I want to be known as an artist who talks about issues na hindi masyadong nata-tackle. Like now, tago pa siya sa iba kahit na alam natin sa mga sarili natin na kailangan siyang mapag-usapan, kailangang marinig ng mga tao, lalo na yung ka-henerasyon ko. But the thing is, sa social media pa lang, yung age ko lalo, very into social media and everything. Yung sexual harassment, hindi mo siyang maiiwasang makita. Like every day halos. It’s literally everywhere.
“As an artist, isa sa mga main objectives ko is ipalakasan ko lalo ang boses ko when it comes to my advocacies and the things that I believe in like women empowerment and basically pagmamahal sa sariling wika and gusto ko panindigan yan sa buong music journey ko.”
What was it like opening for Ben&Ben?
Sobrang kinilig ako. Who knew, diba? It was such an honor to open for them kasi fan talaga ako ng Ben&Ben. I really love their music. Isa sila sa mga pinapakinggan ko talaga.
Who else do you listen to?
Iba iba. Sa folk, si Bullet Dumas, Dong Abay — yun yung mga influences ko. Also, usually hip-hop. Lagi ko din name-mention sa mga interviews na yung hip-hop talaga, since I was 10, super big fan ako. Feeling ko since then, ang laki ng impact ng hip-hop sa songwriting ko. Lalo na ngayon. Local hip-hop like sina Loonie, Ron Henley, BLKD. But not really that scene lang, also others. Sa songwriting, for me kasi, sa rap, sobrang daming mga salita ‘tas nagpapakasiya nila. You know, compared to acoustic.
The symbolism that they pack into a song is also thick.
Parang poem talaga ang rap kasi. And I find it beautiful lang, lalo na that I love Tagalog. Advocate talaga ako sa sariling wika. [At this point I ask about her tattoo that’s written in Baybayin, she says it means “Tiwala lang.”]