LOVE IN THE VERNACULAR | Five questions with Keiko Necesario

Keiko Necesario is probably one of the few Filipino artists who actually thrived during this pandemic in terms of taking her music to the next level. Despite the less than ideal circumstances, the prolific singer-songwriter continues to release new music that showcases her propensity to try new things and her willingness to embrace all genres.

Cover sleeve for Keiko’s new album, OBRA

In her newest EP intriguingly titled, OBRA which generally means masterpiece, she takes her distinctive brand of folk-pop into a new and different direction with an all-Tagalog collection of songs produced by the acclaimed production duo, Chasing Fantasia.

During her exclusive interview with SoundStrip following the recent launch of OBRA, Keiko talked about how her latest compares with her previous releases, how she has weathered the still ongoing pandemic and how her recent marriage has changed her outlook in life and music. Excerpts.

How did it feel to personally meet fans and perform before a live audience at the Obra fan meet after a long time of lockdowns and Covid restrictions?

It was everything I’ve wanted and more; not being able to do gigs for a long time with frands who have already become family really was just so nostalgic and filled with so much emotion for me. I knew I’ve missed the live music scene but it really hit me on a different level once I was finally on stage. Seeing friends, fans, new faces, and my Warner Music PH fam definitely made the day surreal.

Tell us about the OBRA EP. Aside from the Tagalog lyrics, how is it different from your last album release, Ready, Let Go?

The OBRA EP embodies a totally different sound from the Ready, Let Go album. Both are still packed with original songs I wrote from personal experiences. Somehow alike but not as much. If RLG era was a body of work where I explored a pop electronic sound, OBRA is like going back to my roots, OPM folk with a bit of vintage and saturated sound. The concept of this EP is a reflection of what it’s about; a masterpiece. RLG was all green and all about light but this one is a celebration of love, all white representing purity. Imagine a blank canvas, you with a paintbrush and paint on your hand ready to create a life worth telling, told in tagalog language. 

Do you have a favorite track from this new EP? From your previous releases? Can you share why these particular songs are closer to your heart than your other recordings?

“Obra” itself (the carrier single ) is my ultimate favorite. This song just hits differently. It has such a powerful meaning, I wrote it with Quest and I remember the day we were writing it. I swear it was the very first time that I felt God’s presence while working on a song, it was like he was sitting right beside us. Obra is a song about life and how we continuously learn and grow in the process. 

A favorite from my old releases is “Di Bale Na,” it’s a song for all of my seasons and hopefully others feel the same way about it too, a song that celebrates the waiting. 

You’re one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in the country. How has your recent marriage affected your creative perspective? About the things that inspired your recent songs?

It affected my creativity in every way possible, this season of marriage has a lot of growing and changing, just like in my music. My marriage encourages me even more to write, whether they are happy or sad songs. My marriage inspires me to write more songs about love and life and just how beautiful it is to be alive. It reminds me how love is such a big reason why we all create. 

Now that restrictions have been eased and the pandemic will be hopefully over soon, what are your post-pandemic plans? What more can fans expect from Keiko this 2022 and beyond?   

More live gigs for sure, I want to spend time with people again, perform songs, have conversations and connect with everyone again. Creating music will never stop, it really never did even in the middle of the pandemic, but the fact that we get to do face to face shows again is an experience I want to help build up for everyone again. 

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