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In Conversation With Rising Filipina Singer-Songwriter Cesca

The promising artist gave us a glimpse of what her creative process is like and what inspires her musical journey

We recently caught up with budding Filipina singer-songwriter Cesca, a self-proclaimed old soul who embraces her Filipino roots and the stories surrounding its rich culture. The StarPop artist, who takes inspiration from Philippine tales and traditions, talked about how she loves to take time when concocting music. 



Her track “Balse ng Gabi,” for one, which she also wrote and composed, dates back to her high school years. Inspired by Filipino folklore, the song is an ode to the sea and the moon. While still half-baked at the time, the mythical tune finally turned into Cesca’s masterpiece at the height of the pandemic, telling a story about long-distance relationships.


Nu’ng pandemic, wala kasing magawa, and I’m at the peak of being creative. I think everyone was super creative nu’ng pandemic kasi wala rin silang outlet,” Cesca walked us through how she gave birth to the single.


Now in its full form, “Balse ng Gabi” is a track that lulls anyone to sleep. Sung by Cesca herself and rising R&B singer Maki, the creation stemmed from a random meeting at a party. “I had no idea who he was,” Cesca began, looking back on how she and Maki came across each other. “I asked for his Spotify. Hindi pa niya nire-release ’yung mga songs that made him who he is today, but there’s this one song on his Spotify. It was called ‘Para Sa Buwan.’”



Ako naman, I was on a search for a male artist na puwede kong hilahin for this duet. Sobrang specific kasi ng voice na hinahanap ko. I can’t just get anyone,” she continued. 


Though her initial line-up of artists are amazing, according to Cesca, there is a certain character that she is looking for. “Iba ’yung nai-imagine kong voice ng moon. I was in the car and I listened to it pauwi and then, kinulit ko na ’yung producer ko. ‘It has to be Maki. It has to be Maki.’”



Perhaps a divine interruption, “Balse ng Gabi” was a merging of two talents who both have fondness for the moon and its beauty and mystery. “Nu’ng nag-recording kami, sobrang saya namin. Para kaming mga bata,” Cesca told us. “It just came so natural to him so nage-gets niya [kung] sa’n nanggagaling ’yung kanta. One of my best decisions in this career is picking Maki for ‘Balse.’” 





As to what her creative process is like, however, Cesca revealed that her inclination to read books is what helps her come up with a song. She looks up to local authors, whose words she describes as “elegant” yet uncomplicated and easy to pick up. In fact, one of her favorites, multi-decorated author Fanny Garcia, inspired her to write more in the Filipino language.



Meanwhile, Cesca is grateful for her “artist friends,” too, as she considers them a support system. “Wala pa kong maisip na mentor, but I have lots of friends that I talk to, that talk to me about their creative process like si Trisha Denise, si Maki, si Sab, si Angela Ken. “Nagkukuwentuhan kami how we write, ano’ng inspo namin, ano ’yung mga hugot namin.”


“’Yun ’yung nagmo-motivate [sakin]. Parang grabe, there’s this whole community of people who just love to write. Parang it keeps you on a loop. It makes you want to create, create, create, kasi ‘yung mga kasama mo, mahilig ding gumawa,” Cesca added, noting that her fellow Filipino musicians such as singer-songwriter Gary Granada, inspire her to do better. 



“He’s so good at writing. Kaya niyang magpatawa. Kaya niyang magmakaawa sa kanta. He’s so witty kasi parang joke time ’yung mga kanta niya pero it makes sense—parang riddle. I like that type of writing—’yung mapapa-wow ka. ‘Oh, this person’s brain!’ He’s super unique.”


Cesca’s other interests lie along the lines of Taylor Swift, baking, and anything matcha. A graduating student of Multimedia Arts at De La Salle - College of St. Benilde, the musical talent is also juggling her career and thesis.


“I struggle, but ang ginagawa ko is, if alam kong busy [in] certain months—like may promo, ganu’nnag-a-underload ako,” she shared. “If I know na hindi naman ganu’n ka-heavy, I [take] full load, so it depends. There was a time na nag-leave of absence ako kasi I had to write an album. But now I’m back. Delayed nga lang ako, pero ang mahalaga, maka-graduate ako.”



On the topic of future collaborations and projects, Cesca is also hopeful that she will someday work with local artists that she admires like Moira Dela Torre, Adie, and Diwata. This year, she intends to give her fans a treat as well, as she will revive some songs from the past.


Lead photos by @jethwayneesplana via @cheesca.bum

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