EXCLUSIVE: Paradise Rising Artist Leila Alcasid On Music, Family, And Creativity
We got to know more about this young and talented Filipino-Australian singer-songwriter in her recent Metro Chats on Kumu guesting
The quarantine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to start a new hobby, enhance their talents, and rediscover themselves. And it has been no different for the gorgeous and talented Leila Alcasid.
That’s what Metro.Style learned at the most recent episode of FYE Channel’s Metro Chats live-streamed on Pinoy community platform Kumu, where the young Filipino-Australian singer-songwriter got candid about the different aspects of herself—from her music and creative process to life with her loving family and beyond.
Didn’t get to tune in? Find out more about the up-and-coming artist below!
Leila is a self-taught songwriter.
Leila, who initially pursued Political Science but shifted to English Literature, has always enjoyed writing poems and reading books. When she moved from Australia to Manila in 2017, she encountered various artists in the local music industry through her dad, Filipino veteran singer Ogie Alcasid. Inspired by their talent, she later realized her interest in learning the songwriting process. “It was interesting because I didn’t know if I was doing it right but I was just like, ‘I’m just going to write and see if people like it,’” she recalls. “And then I signed with Tarsier Records and that was pretty much it. Earlier this year, I released a five-track EP, Better Weather, with all songs written by me.”
People’s appreciation of her music made her realize her purpose as a singer.
For her, one of the best feelings in the world is seeing others appreciate the songs she worked so hard on. “That was what kind of encouraged me to keep doing it because I wanted to use that platform to connect with people and I really liked that I could do that with my words,” she says. “I guess the feeling of something that I created, connecting to a lot of people who listen to it was a really satisfying feeling.”
Her favorite songs of her dad and her stepmom, Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid are “Kailangan Kita” and “Araw Gabi,” respectively.
“I’ve heard them so many times. I’d say my favorite of my step mom is ‘Araw Gabi.’ I think that’s such a beautiful melody and the words, it’s so gorgeous and when she sings it. That’s always my favorite,” she muses. “And of my dad, I think my favorite would be ‘Kailangan Kita.’ I think that’s also such a beautiful melody, and I guess that a lot of songs that he writes sung by other artists are really, really cool.”
She has a new song titled “Clouds” under new music collective Paradise Rising.
“Clouds” is a part of the semilucent mixtape by Paradise Rising, which is under American mass media company 88rising. The track was completed in only four days with the help of Moophs of Tarsier Records. “It’s kind of saying that I hope you’ll still be there when I’m feeling better and I hope that I don’t push you away because of how I’m feeling,” she explains what the song is about.
Before anyone else, it’s her mom who listens to her songs first.
Her mom, Australian beauty queen Michelle van Eimeren, loves to be the first to hear her new stuff. “Even if it’s not perfect yet, she’s just like, ‘I don’t care! I want to hear what you’re doing!’” she shares. Next is her dad, and then her boyfriend, singer/rapper/songwriter Mito Fabie a.k.a. Curtismith, who becomes the subject of some of her songs from time to time. “I’m a bit shy to show him but I try to as much as possible—especially if it’s something I wrote him, then I’ll show him.”
Even while in self-isolation, Leila makes sure to squeeze in some exercise into her daily routine.
Leila doesn’t follow a strict diet, but she makes it a point to be active for at least 30 minutes a day. She enjoys doing Pilates, which she sometimes combines with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts.
When it comes to skincare, Leila is all about the basics.
How did she achieve her glowing skin? Next to drinking a lot of water, she only uses three skincare products: facial wash, toner, and moisturizer! “I don’t really need anything that’s complicated,” says Leila. “I just use simple skincare.”
On her free time, Leila loves to paint.
She got it from her momma! Her mom—who used to hold art exhibits in Manila and is currently studying art in Sydney—loves pottery and other forms of art. When she was eight years old, Michelle made sure to enroll Leila in art classes every summer including pottery and painting. That’s how Leila’s love for painting started, a passion she now now nurtures with watercolor as the medium. “You can mix it with water and it kind of takes a life of its own. If you look at the artworks that were posted on my social media, a lot of it is just like, I literally put it on my page and move around, doing its own thing. It’s my way of letting go of control in my life and just expressing my feelings through painting.”
She recently found new love in furniture design.
Furniture design has been keeping Leila busy while in quarantine, merging her minimalist style with pops of color and interesting shapes. She has been interested in design since she was in high school and now she has finally decided to take it up as a course in college. “I’m still in the process of teaching myself how to do it. I haven’t actually made anything yet so hopefully once this quarantine is over I can actually go out and try and have stuff made and see where that goes. But for now, it’s just sketches.”
Leila has learned so much about herself during this enforced downtime.
Like most people during these challenging times, she’s had a lot of opportunities for self-reflection. The biggest lesson she has learned thus far is the importance of knowing that everyone has their own timeline in life. “It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you’re achieving things as long as you’re doing it at the pace that works for you. Up until quarantine, I was still really insecure about it,” she admits. “During this time, when we were kind of forced to slow down and stop and really take a moment, it made me realize that it doesn’t matter if I’m 23 and only at this point in my life. It doesn’t really matter what age I am as long as I am working at my own pace.”
Other artists who are under Paradise Rising are Kiana V, Fern, Jason Dhakal, and Massiah.
While semilucent is the first mixtape to debut under Paradise Rising, fans can soon expect more song releases that will be amplified by promotional events, digital content, and music video exclusives via their official pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Dive in and listen to the tracks from semilucent at bit.ly/semilucentmixtape.
Photos from @leilalcasid
Special thanks to Tricia Pablo