“Sometimes, it’s okay to just let go and see what happens,” singer-songwriter Keiko Necesario shared with us in a virtual media conference what her second album, “Ready, Let Go,” is all about. “This album reflects so much of my journey. Me, surrendering. Surrendering isn’t really about losing. It’s really not about losing. ‘Pag sinabi mong surrender, it’s like you’re giving up. But no, there’s really more gaining than losing.”
The talented singer, now signed with Warner Music Philippines, told us in detail how beautifully things fell into place for her to penetrate the global market. Keiko revealed how she previously let go of a big opportunity that didn’t feel right and at one point said, “Bahala na, I’m gonna trust you, God.” Three days after that surrender, she received a call that led to her current UK-based producers. She added, “It’s really about timing. I’ve always wanted to go international. That’s my dream for OPM. To go beyond the Philippines. I know it’s not just me, but all of us in the music industry. That’s our dream.”
Working on the dream
This second album was six months in the making and is a collaboration between Keiko and UK-based producers Rusti Russouw and Tristan Charmichael, collectively known as Chasing Fantasia.
“I’ve had some of the songs in this album for years and some of them, I started writing while in process of the recording but technically, I only started working on the production last November 2019; I recorded 2 songs in London and the rest of the album was here in the Philippines. The producers, Chasing Fantasia flew in from London and we worked on the album for 3 weeks in Baguio. I think I’ve been working on this for 6 months in total,” Keiko said. “The process of making this album has been an adventure because there’s been a different kind of high in figuring things out; what sounds good and what doesn’t, or trying to make the elements work or even just listening to Rusti and Tristan throw ideas for every song and witnessing them talk about some of the technical stuff I know nothing about, haha. It’s been really fascinating and just fun getting to make a record that way. From London, where we recorded 2 songs in the span of 3 days, to Baguio where we had 3 weeks to arrange 10 songs together. It was a bit nerve-racking yet exhilarating at the same time because of the timeline, plus the feeling of, ‘I can’t wait to finish this record and hear what the tracks would sound like in the end.’ All of it was awesome.”
On the collaboration between Keiko and Chasing Fantasia, her manager Graham Perkins said, “This collaboration with Keiko, Chasing Fantasia, and Warner [Music] Philippines has been something very special to me. It’s playing a huge part of my plans as I build my management business across the globe. It’s been the catalyst to creating new partnerships and friends and the merger of my company with Open Door Artists in the Philippines has been a major outcome from the collaboration. For me, it’s all about making music that can come from anywhere. Here we have a Filipino artist, managed by a UK-and-now-global management company, produced by South Africans. The UK as a market has had this kind of concept for many years now and I’m hoping with Keiko, this body of work and others to follow, we can begin to make a bit of difference to the rest of the world. Certainly, the UK is going to be a major part of our plans for Keiko and with a strong population of OFWs and a powerful festival scene, do expect to see Keiko back in the UK in 2021.”
This is Chasing Fantasia’s first time to work with a Filipino artist. When asked about the possibility of collaborating with more talent from overseas, Rusti and Tristan said, “Definitely! It’s amazing when people from different cultures come together and create music. You learn so much and grow as both artist and producer.” They were also asked about what they learned about Filipino culture and they said, “Main thing we learned about Filipinos? You love to eat! Haha! Honestly, we were blown away seeing the amount of talent while attending a few festivals during our time in Manila. We could see a real support for the fellow artist! This is sometimes lacking in the west. There also seems to be a real openness to collaborate and build cross-border relationships. We felt so welcome and were treated incredibly well, thanks! We would be thrilled to do more work in Asia. The west needs to hear more of the diverse talent coming out of these time zones!”
Taking OPM and more around the world
Toward the end of the interview, I asked Keiko if there are plans of coming up with a full Filipino song since one of her singles, Closest Thing To Love, had a few Filipino lines in the lyrics. With a go signal from her manager Graham Perkins of Open Doors, Keiko excitedly revealed, “We’re planning a full Filipino song or Tagalog song EP. It’s already in the works.”
She continued, “We also want to really showcase our language. I really believe that our language is beautiful, so beautiful. Even if my dream for OPM is to go beyond just our country, I want our language, culture, and values to be promoted. Not only music.“
Keiko’s face spelled passion and love for OPM as she went on to share her dreams for the industry. She said, “I just really want to let people know about the beauty of the Filipinos and the Filipino language as well. Ang saya! I’m excited for that EP. We’re about to have a meeting for that one. I already recorded 2 Tagalog songs last February. But the full production has yet to be finalized. I’m excited for this because it would be ridiculous for me to connect to other countries and not connect to my Filipino fans. I wanna be able to sing in Filipino as well.”
Follow Keiko Necesario, Chasing Fantasia, and Warner Music Philippines on social media for more updates.
Random Question for Keiko: Since you have your passion as your profession, do you still experience burnout or creative roadblocks? If yes, what do you do?