EXCLUSIVE: Frankie Pangilinan Talks About Studying In New York And Pursuing A Career As A Singer
Gifted with a sultry voice, Frankie Pangilinan has made a name for herself in the local music industry. We turned emotional over her song "Battle Scars" that debuted in 2017, jammed with her song "Selfish" that was released last year, and loved her cover of "La Vie En Rose" on Soundcloud.
For the 18-year-old, stepping into the limelight was not a conscious decision she made. “Sometimes, I’d reflect on my childhood, everyone was kind of paying attention in a weird way. I remember seeing this video of me on YouTube the week after I was born and there were cameras in the house. I was like, ‘Why do people care about that?’ I looked like a little worm and I was just asleep the whole time!” she jokes. After all, she’s the daughter of Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who have been nothing but supportive when it comes to her decisions in life.
Being part of a famous family, however, comes with a few challenges. “I feel like there’s a mold. My ate and my mom are amazing artists but they are not necessarily me. I think I kind of feel a lot of pressure because I have to live up to these names that people know and there’s a certain degree of expectation that I feel sometimes I’m not able to meet,” she says. “But I believe in myself, my capability, and if it’s what I truly believe in, I have to stand by it because that’s my integrity. I can’t give that away to anyone because that’s all I am.”
"I think I kind of feel a lot of pressure because I have to live up to these names that people know... But I believe in myself, my capability"
“I guess being born to my parents, it’s not something I asked for but it’s something I’ll always be grateful for,” she continues. “I have learned more firsthand from them than I have from anyone else. I learned a lot by watching them work and I admire them a lot. They inspired me to carve up my own voice so I try to stay independent as I can with the path I’m taking. I guess we’ll just see where that goes.”
According to Frankie, she wouldn’t love singing as much as she does now if her voice was any different. “When I was really small, I used to be insecure because everyone could make super birit and I couldn’t. When I got a little older and my voice got super deep, I was like ‘What is going on?’ I was really insecure,” she tells Metro.Style. It all changed, however, when the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey started dominating the music scene. “You hear all these people with beautiful, deep voices and I think that’s not necessarily something you hear a lot even in OPM,” she continues, adding that what excites her the most about singing is having a whole new artistic venue. “I love the freedom of it. I love writing my own songs. It means so much to me.”
As for her writing process, the singer shared she usually writes at night, fixes up the lyrics in the morning, and finds inspiration in many things throughout the day. “I’m a big hopeless romantic. I find beauty in everything,” she says, expressing her love for writing poems and stories. “Ever since I was really young, I was encouraged to be free. Don’t limit yourself in terms of your imagination. That’s where I pick everything up from—aside from lots of love.”
“Ever since I was really young, I was encouraged to be free. Don’t limit yourself in terms of your imagination"
When she’s not busy singing and songwriting, Frankie is watching movies, cooking for her family, and reading books. “That’s my dad’s influence because I have been reading since I was four. My favorite book is The Little Prince because every time I read it, it’s so meaningful and it’s so profound. I ugly-cried to that book ten million times. Every time I need to be grounded back to reality, I read that book,” she shares.
Another thing Frankie loves is thrift-shopping. “That’s where I find pieces that never go out of style,” she says. “I try to find what speaks to me the most, check the quality, haggle, and have fun.”
Her fashion style has gotten a lot more adventurous now, saying, “I used to go for basics but now I feel like I have this brand new independence and suddenly, I want to try new things. I think I’m getting into the whole 90s, 80s look and stuff. I love bright colors now.”
“I used to go for basics but now I feel like I have this brand new independence and suddenly, I want to try new things"
Frankie with father, Sen. Kiko, mom Sharon, and siblings Miel and Miguel during her graduation. | Photo from @reallysharoncuneta
Frankie just graduated from high school, and looks forward to going to The New School, a University in New York City. “I’m probably going to major in literary studies and I might minor in anthropology because that was one of my higher level classes for grades 11 and 12 and I loved it so much,” she declares. “I feel like it’s understanding groups of people and it’s like you really get how you can help them. With the way everyone connects, it’s like a crazy world.”
When asked why she has chosen to study in New York, she quickly pointed out that it’s the city that never sleeps. “It makes me feel like I’ll always be up to something and I won’t feel lonely about being awake at night. The music, the culture, and also the food is great! It’s like I can eat in one different place every day and not run out for ten years,” Frankie says
Lastly, she teased about releasing new music. “I’m going to get that finished before I leave,” she stresses. “It’s going to be a bit more honest than what I have ever put out before. It’s like me baring it all, you know?”
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz and Kate Paras-Santiago
Photography by Ria Regino
Creative direction by Chookie Cruz
Makeup by Justine Navato
Hairstyling by Francis Guintu
Styling by Myrrh Lao To, Zia dela Rosa, and Mack Bersalona
Shot on location at Axiaa Hotel - 135 West Ave, Project 7, Quezon City
Shoot assistant: Eli Montoro
Special thanks to Beyond Flowers