Last Dec. 10, we saw the emancipation of James Reid’s label Careless during their artist signing. It involved the core six of the former Careless Music Manila: Massiah, Curtismith, Astrokidd, Brett Jackson a.k.a KINGwAw, James himself, and of course, Nadine Lustre.
“When your songs are personal, it’s like telling everyone your story and who you really are.”
There’s a lot of hype surrounding Careless’ transition to becoming an independent label. We spoke to James and Brett, and their vision for the label are one and the same. In their new, independent label, they would want to collaborate with artists from across the Philippines and provide them with a bigger platform.
Read more: Nadine Lustre: Stargirl
This 2020, Careless will be about redefining how music labels should run. As for Nadine, she is following her label’s direction by releasing a debut album.
“I’m just excited for Careless kasi I can see that we’re doing a lot of stuff in 2020 including me,” says Nadine. “I’m already working on my album. A lot of good things are happening next year.”
With her label making big moves, Nadine joins them by crafting her debut album. She has five songs in the works right now and her goal is to show a side of herself we never get to see.
We talked to her about her album’s conceptualization, the inspirations she drew from, and how she overcame the fear of creating her personal tracks.
What can we expect from your new album?
Nadine: Right now, we’re still conceptualizing. I’m working with producers now. But they’re not here. And I don’t want to say a lot about the album, but I’m going to be working with Billy [Davis]. I might go to Australia next year in January to work with him.
I’m also working with Calvin Keith, a new artist who’s just starting out as well. This album is super close to my heart kasi it says a lot of stuff happening in my life. Nandoon siya sa album and it’s very personal.
Read more: The story of Careless Music Manila so far
How long have you been conceptualizing your solo album?
It started when we released “St4y Up” back in 2018. That’s pretty much my first song under Careless. Noong time na ’yun, si Brett [Jackson] pinupush na niya akong mag-release ng album.
Pero, before natatakot ako pagdating sa writing. I tried it when I was younger. I think I was 15 or 14. Dahil hindi ako confident, na-discourage ako. Feeling ko hindi ko kaya magsulat. Well, wala naman talaga akong experience and I was still pretty young.
Every time na gagawa ng music si James [Reid] o si Brett, they will tell me na gumawa ’rin ako ng kanta o sumulat ’din ako ’tas nagkaka-anxiety ako. Sinasabi ko: “Shoot, hindi ko kaya, hindi ko kaya, but na-discover ko na kaya ko last year.
What happened last year?
When we released the first mixtape, there’s a song there called “I Like It.” I was the one who wrote it. Super quick ko lang siya sinulat. I wrote it under two days lang, then we recorded it. After that, I think I can really do it.
How many tracks do you have so far?
I’m not going to spill a lot, but I have five tracks so far. Gusto ko marami pa. It’s very personal kasi I have a lot of experiences in life. When your songs are personal, it’s like telling everyone your story and who you really are. It’s different because iba si Nadine Lustre as an actress.
As an actress, I portray different characters. But with music, I get to release everything. It’s about me and my experiences. Dito nila ako mas makikilala because of music.
“[The album] is different because iba si Nadine Lustre as an actress.”
Isn’t it scary to reveal more about yourself as a public figure?
Yes. It is scary, especially here. People tend to judge you with everything that’s going on in your life. Konting kibot nga lang, ang dami ng sinasabi. But someone told me, when it comes to music, when you make songs or when you write songs, it’s like sharing the secret that’s out in the open. Everything that you’ve been keeping for so long would be out there.
Who are you taking inspiration from while making the album?
A lot of Tinashe, Doja Cat, Jhene Aiko—
—I know you listen to Qveen Herby.
I love Qveen Herby. But I listen to a lot of different musicians like SG Lewis, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Bjork. I love music, so I listen to different genres.
Read more: Billy Davis on CMM, Manila’s music scene, and embracing his Filipino roots
What do you hope the album would sound like?
Obviously, my personality is very mysterious. I wanted to sound mysterious. That was the vibe we came up with, so that’s what we’re going for. I want it to be pop with hints of EDM siguro, and house, but we’ll see.
What are your tips to musicians like you who’re afraid to shoot their shot?
Keep writing. Don’t let that scare you. Back then, I got FL Studio on my laptop and I tried producing. I was so young, but no one knows what the fuck they’re doing at 15. So please, don’t get discouraged. Keep writing and don’t be scared. Don’t let fear stop you.
Photo by JP Talapian