Filipino songwriters

Kitchie Nadal talks songwriting and captivating a new generation of listeners

Juno Reyes

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Kitchie Nadal talks songwriting and captivating a new generation of listeners
'Ngayon, ayoko na masyadong magtago sa lyrics. Before, ayoko maging masyadong literal. But now, I want to be more courageous when it comes to writing,’ Kitchie tells Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – “I try not to and I don’t go there, kasi (because) it’s really important for me to be authentic,” Kitchie Nadal replied when we asked if she feels any pressure to live up to her status as a trailblazer for women in OPM. 

And perhaps it’s that authenticity that has given her music its longevity. 

Kitchie Nadal talks songwriting and captivating a new generation of listeners

Kitchie made her foray into solo music in 2004 with a self-titled 12-track album, which contains some of her most popular songs to date: “Huwag Na Huwag Mong Sasabihin,” “Bulong !!!” and “Same Ground.” 

At a press conference on May 23, the singer-songwriter noted that there were less ways for artists to promote their music back then, with them mostly relying on CD sales and having their songs played on the radio, among others. 

But the emergence of digital music platforms and social media has only amplified Kitchie’s impact further, and has, in turn, birthed a new generation of listeners – many of whom probably weren’t even born yet when she debuted.

Medyo surprised ako doon, kasi ‘yung iba, baby pa [raw] sila. They’d come up to me and say [they were] in grade school and fan sila. I’m really thankful that [my] songs still continue to find new audiences and it still resonate with people across different ages. I think it’s very encouraging kasi it means na puwede pa pala gumawa ng mga songs na ganyan,” Kitchie said. 

(I was quite surprised about that, because some of them said they were still babies. They’d come up to me and say they were in grade school and they were a fan of mine. I’m really thankful that my songs still continue to find new audiences and they still resonate with people across different ages. I think it’s very encouraging because it means I can still make songs like that.)

This new wave of listeners had come at the most perfect time: just as Kitchie is set to celebrate her 20th anniversary in the music industry this year. To mark that milestone, she will be staging a concert titled Same Ground on June 2 at the New Frontier Theater in Quezon City. 

“That’s actually one of the reasons why I decided to do this anniversary concert. It’s for the new generation,” Kitchie explained. 

Coming back home

Kitchie’s anniversary concert doubles as her return to the Philippine concert scene, so it’s bound to be a special night for everyone there. But the one thing she’s looking forward to most is performing alongside her friends in the industry, who will be serving as guest performers at the concert. 

Among these are Kitchie’s fellow female artists Aia de Leon and Barbie Almalbis. 

“I felt like it would be a great idea that they join me kasi na-realize namin na talagang same lang din ‘yung fanbase namin (we realized that we have the same fanbase). I know that they would be happy to see [Aia and Barbie],” Kitchie told Rappler in a separate exclusive interview. 

Kitchie’s concert already looks like it’s going to be an interesting mix of classic and fresh sounds. In April, she had shared a crowdsourcing poster for other artists her fans would like to see at her show, and several of the ones she chose based on the suggestions were young, rising musicians. 

Having been in the industry for two decades now, we also asked Kitchie if she noticed any differences between today’s music crowd versus the one around the time when she debuted. 

“They embrace originality [and] distinct sounds…. I love that people are now open-minded and more experimental with music,” she shared, her decision to include artists from the current music scene at her concert beginning to make total sense. 

Evolution

It’s not just the crowds that have changed, though. It’s Kitchie’s songwriting, too.

Now based in Madrid, Kitchie shared that her move to Spain has shaped her creative process into what it is now. 

Ngayon, ayoko na masyadong magtago sa lyrics. Before, ayoko maging masyadong literal. But now, I want to be more courageous when it comes to writing,” she stated. 

(Now, I don’t want to hide as much behind my lyrics anymore. Before, I didn’t want to be too literal. But now, I want to be more courageous when it comes to writing.) 

The themes she tackles in her music have also evolved. With Kitchie now being a mother of two, her lived experiences as a parent have naturally found their way into her music – and her latest release “Lahat” is a testament to that. 

“Meron din akong (I have a) conscious effort for my songs to be more positive. For example, in the last single that I released called “Lahat,” it’s about my motherhood. So, mas light na [‘yung mga kanta ko], ‘di na siya mga heartbroken (My songs are a lot lighter now. It’s not about being heartbroken anymore),” Kitchie shared, laughing. 

Despite these shifts in her creative process, one thing will always be for certain: that Kitchie has rightfully earned her title as one of the most lauded artists in the Filipino music industry at large. – Rappler.com

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