THERE are songs one can’t help but play over and over and over. Recently, the song “Cebuana,” by international artist Karencitta, became one of those tracks. Since its release, it has gained quite an audience.
The hit single went No. 1 in the Most Viral Music on Spotify Philippines. Its music video, released on Facebook, got over one million views in 24 hours and was No. 2 on MYX this month.
Growing up listening to songs by Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, the 22-year-old singer and songwriter recalls humming their songs at the age of two and dancing to them in her living room. When asked what made her decide to pursue music, she said: “There wasn’t really a moment nga, ‘Okay, I’ll do music.’ It just developed.”
Fast forward to 2013, she released a mix tape titled “So Help Me God, Vol. 1,” then switched gears to pop with her first single “Fckroun” followed by the track “Cebuana.”
“I’ve always wanted to make a song dedicated to my hometown, my Cebu roots,” she said. “I wrote it in November and I was like, ‘November, December, January, ah perfect! Naay Sinulog event so I should dedicate this to Sr. Santo Niño and release it right before Sinulog.’”
Looking back at all the attention the song has been gaining, Karencitta shared how overwhelming the response has been and how her life’s been like since.
“The hustle is still the same. I just feel like I’m in the same building but on a different level now. More opportunities are coming in—the table really turned and it feels overwhelming. Very overwhelming,” she said.
When asked about her musical and fashion influences, she looks to artists like Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga but also takes this important notion: “First of all, I will never forget the Filipino culture.” This is why the culture is always incorporated in her music and in her fashion—both of which she describes as constantly evolving.
For instance, the color yellow, like the yellow fur coat she wore in her “Cebuana” music video. “I just picked yellow because it’s so bright and it reminds me of Cebuanas: They’re bright; they’re free-spirited; they’re loving; they’re beautiful; they praise Sr. Santo Niño—it’s just a bright color,” she said.
“When people or my fans think about or see yellow, they remember ‘Cebuana! Karencitta!’ and I get those tweets and I say ‘Oh! Thank God!’ because it makes an impact when they remember you.”
The song is released under Yellowbird Records, an L.A.-based record label founded by Karencitta and Grammy-award winner Jon Ingoldsby.
Bringing new flavor to the Philippine music scene, it’s one edgy and upbeat track fans can’t help but get the Last Song Syndrome.
“I think it gave leverage to OPM (original Pilipino Music) on an international level. We’re now being heard in the United States, in Japan, Korea—my songs are being played there in the clubs—so that was my intention talaga, to bring OPM to the next level,” Karencitta said when asked on the song’s impact.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on January 16, 2018.
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