In a celebration of resilience and creative ingenuity, the multi-talented Nicole Laurel Asensio unveiled her latest musical endeavor, “Matter Over Mind,” on January 26, 2024. Comprising three original compositions, this EP delves into the depths of the human psyche, offering a melodic exploration of atonement, acceptance, and the triumph of the human spirit.

The launch event, held at 19 East on East Service Road, was a testament to Asensio’s artistic prowess, featuring a special guest performance by ang Bagong Luto ni Enriquez and Iwi Laurel. Attendees were treated to a mesmerizing evening of soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics, with entrance priced at 500 pesos.

At the heart of “Matter Over Mind” lies a profound thematic exploration, as Asensio explains, “As we are blessed with a brand new year, I am reminded of what it took to get to this point, the hardships, failures and finding the guts to keep going.” The EP title itself, a play on the popular saying “Mind over matter,” signifies the intricate interplay between the mind and the heart, echoing the journey of self-discovery and growth.

The EP opens with “Comprehend,” a soulful ode to introspection and healing. With its silky Neo-soul influences and poignant lyrics, the track invites listeners to reflect on past relationships and the process of letting go. Accompanied by a rich arrangement featuring thick vocal sections and soulful saxophone melodies, “Comprehend” sets the tone for the introspective journey that lies ahead.

Following suit is “Vibecheck,” a brief yet powerful reminder to cherish the connections we hold dear. Sung by Asensio, Kevin Yadao, and Gabe Dandan, the track exudes warmth and camaraderie, serving as a beacon of hope in uncertain times.

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Rounding off the EP is “Get it Right,” an English-Tagalog fusion that seamlessly blends funk, soul, and jazz influences. Beneath its vibrant exterior lies a poignant message of redemption and self-discovery, as Asensio sings of hidden struggles and the longing for acceptance. With its infectious groove and lush instrumentation, “Get it Right” serves as a fitting conclusion to Asensio’s musical odyssey.

The creation of “Matter Over Mind” was a collaborative effort between Asensio and Gabe Dandan, whose prolific writing tandem brought the EP to life. Speaking about the creative process, Dandan reflects, “This collection of songs all began with impromptu jams,” highlighting the spontaneous nature of their musical exploration.

Asensio echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and creativity in their collaboration. “For a number of years now, my musical inclination has been a blend of old and new, classic and current,” she shares. “I feel like Gabe has similar sensibilities, and together, we’ve been able to create something truly special.”

Looking ahead, both Asensio and Dandan express excitement for future musical endeavors, hinting at the possibility of a full album in the works. “This year, I feel like a lot of pent-up songs and stories need to be told,” Asensio remarks. “I am looking forward to releasing more songs, perhaps in ‘suites’ of two, three, or more songs at a time.”

Dandan echoes her enthusiasm, emphasizing the limitless possibilities that lie ahead. “Surprising ourselves and others with the musical fruit of impromptu sessions,” he muses. “I am grateful to scratch the surface of possibilities with ‘Matter Over Mind’ and looking forward to the flow of creativity to come.”

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As “Matter Over Mind” continues to resonate with audiences, it serves as a testament to the enduring power of music to inspire, heal, and uplift the human spirit. In a world filled with uncertainty, Asensio’s musical journey offers a beacon of hope, reminding us that, indeed, the mind triumphs over matter.

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