As a Filipino growing up in Oman, Middle East, music was far from what Jason Dhakal imagined his career would be. He said his family suggested he pursue something more practical like a doctor or an IT but never an artist—as there is a collective belief that pursuing the arts is chasing one’s own tail.
“When I was growing up, I never thought being an artist was attainable, you know,” the 22 year old artist admitted in a recent interview with SoundStrip.
Despite not being involved in any music clubs in high school, he started putting his creative ideas on paper, writing music that reverberated in his mind and making sure that other people would hear it in the future.
“I started writing songs when I was 15 and then I realized it was maybe attainable to do, so I just kept doing it,” he said.
He and his family moved back to the Philippines at 16, and from there, he started looking for the right listeners who could help make his musical pursuits a reality.
Jason added that he was also motivated by their financial problems, so he had to figure out how to make money with what he had—music.
He shared, “There was that time where we had financial problems at home… and I was thinking I need to make money somehow, you know? So I really tried to. I remember when I started messaging every single label here in the Philippines or anyone.”
In 2019, he signed with Warner Music Philippines. Recording company 88rising also included him in their Paradise Rising’s debut mixtape, with other local artists Kiana V, Fern., and Leila Alcasid.
For now, Jason still has a long way to go. But so far, the music he released is profoundly resonating with his creativity, which is clearly evident in his recent release neo-soul single, “can’t get enough.”
“can’t get enough” starts softly with a sensual lyricism about the “smoothness of his skin,” establishing the sense of tactility. But he smoothly transitions into an “all-out” Neo-soul tempo, proving that his genre as an artist mostly falls under R&B.
Although Jason shared that his inspiration mostly comes from Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu, and Amy Winehouse, his songs also resonate the same poetics as Frank Ocean with its profound lyricism on queer love and neo-soul music.
Jason admitted that “can’t get enough” is the perfect song that echoes his own personal life.
“I’m really happy with that,” he said, reflecting on his new single. “The quality just seems much more than different than my other past work, and I’m very happy [because] it feels like the most “me” right now.”
Yes, Jason has been around for quite a while and has been releasing music for the last three years including the albums, Night In and lovesound, in 2018 and 2020 respectively. In those albums, the R&B artist got to collaborate with fellow local artists dot.jaime, LUSTBASS, crwn, and Cavill.
Asked on who he would like to collaborate with in the future, Jason named Jake Zyrus.
“I wanna collaborate with Jake Zyrus,” he said. “I really love Jake Zyrus. He’s someone I would really love to work with.”
Jason added that he also wants to work with Sitti Navarro as he loved her song, “Para Sa Akin.”
Jason Dhakal has gone far from writing songs at 15 to signing with a major record label in 2019. Still, the 22 year old artist insists that he is still at the infancy of what he hopes to be a very fruitful career in music.
“This is just the start,” Jason said. “I’m only getting started right now. There’s so much more in store and I’m excited to show you. I’m really grateful to show all of this stuff.” (With interview by Edwin P. Sallan)
Released and distributed by Warner Music Philippines, “can’t get enough’ is now available on all major streaming platforms.
Image credits: Warner Music