Cebuana's R&B bop makes waves

Justine Narvios
Justine Narvios

Justine Narvios, the rising pop R&B sensation from Cebu, is capturing hearts with her newest release. Alongside friends and family, Justine shows a greater lyrical depth with “Waves.”

Rolling Stone has reported on how R&B has been hitting the charts more and more today. Hitmakers from Usher to Beyoncé, Mariah Carey to Rihanna, and now SZA to Frank Ocean; music lovers can only describe the genre with two words: timeless and influential.

Somewhere in the Philippines, a Cebuana sweetheart is making waves in the world of R&B with her songwriting skills and a smooth, velvety vocal style that effortlessly glides through melodies. Justine Narvios brings her own game and sets the mood with her newest single “Waves,” which hits the sweet spot for every lover of the genre out there.

Creative process

“Waves” was released on March 22, accompanied by a press conference hosted by Viva Records. During the event, Justine mentioned that the song marks her third release under the record label, following her earlier tracks “Asa” and “Sine” in 2021.

“The genre for both songs is actually pop. For ‘Waves,’ this is what I feel like the closest to my heart. I wrote “Waves” all in English, my first language and a language I’m most comfortable with. In songwriting, I feel I express more in English and this is my favorite genre, R&B,” said Justine.

Justine shared that “Waves” is her first track to feature a rap part. She admitted to feeling a bit unsure about it at first. But as she continued to explore and grow in her music career, Justine easily found the groove to do exactly what felt right in her heart.

According to Justine, the song is inspired by a fictional scenario, marking a departure from her usual lyrical themes. She confessed that she had never ventured into writing a love song like this in her previous releases. This bold move sets “Waves” apart and adds a new dimension to her repertoire.

“When I wrote it I was thinking about what a common experience in terms of love is for a lot of people. It would be having a sense of confusion about going back to something you’re not actually sure of. So like the waves going back constantly to the shore, no matter how many times it gets sent away, it comes back to shore,” said Justine.

The artist explained that the song touches on a theme about confusion that goes beyond a simple love story. It can also be about grappling with bad habits or past experiences that one wants to move away from.

Justine fondly remembered the humble beginnings of “Waves” and how she finished writing it in the kitchen. She chuckled as she recounted how she made the song in under an hour, like a whirlwind romance.

Like usual, she wrote the lyrics first and then the melody followed. In collaboration with Shad, another Viva artist in Cebu, they finished the song’s instrumentals and started with studio recording.

Future projects

Justine became the first auditionee during Viva Records’ talent search in Cebu back in 2020. Before that, she had already showcased her talents in several competitions such as “Tawag Ng Tanghalan” and “The Voice Teens.”

Reflecting on her journey, Justine expressed gratitude for music being an integral part of her life since before. When asked about how far she sees herself going, she humbly replied, “I’m just grateful that music has always been a part of my life. In terms of how far I can go, I don’t know how to answer that. Right now, I just enjoy making music. If there’s an opportunity, I feel like I always try to grab it.”

Looking ahead, Justine aims to delve deeper into R&B, a genre she feels at home in. Additionally, she’s executed to explore more Hip-Hop and Blues in the future.

“I wouldn’t box myself as an artist that writes only from experience,” she said. “I think it’s important to always practice your songwriting skills and diversify. Whether it’s something that you experienced personally or not, I think the magic comes from that.”

Looking forward, Justine dreams of releasing her first album and collaborating with multiple producers. Amid where she is right now, she remains deeply thankful to her parents who have been her support system from day one. She holds just as much gratitude for her sister, Jaden, who shares the same path under Viva Records.

With her schooling now completed, Justine is excited to pursue her dreams with newfound vigor. The country’s R&B is getting more and more colorful and Justine’s take of the genre is something to watch out for.


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