The Beat Manila’s Up-and-Coming Artist: Queer Davaoeño Singer Paul Pablo
June 24, 2023
The Beat Manila’s Up and Coming is a bi-weekly series where we feature rising talented artists from the Philippines, giving them a platform to share what they’re passionate about and promote the music they (and us too!) would love for the world to hear. Do you want or know someone who wants to be featured? Email us at [email protected] or slide through our DMs on Facebook or Instagram!
Marking the 54th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Pride Month serves as an opportunity to advocate for equal treatment for the LGBTQIA+ community. Paul Pablo, an emerging queer music artist from Davao, amplifies this message through songs that tackle identity, societal issues, and love.
Like most musicians in the Philippines, this 23-year-old singer started his music career by participating in various TV contests and singing competitions. Driven by a passion to enhance queer representation in the entertainment industry, he dropped his original songs “Bai,” “Kalawakan,” and “Kaya.”
His dance track “Bangin,” released in 2021, has amassed more than 2 million streams on Spotify, making it his biggest song on the platform. As a result, he has attracted a dedicated fan base of both Gen Z and millennials who resonate and find comfort in his music.
This 2023, Paul Pablo tells The Beat Asia the stories behind his new singles “Sagi” and “Takaw Tingin” and how Lady Gaga empowered him to embrace his sexuality.
Hi, Paul Pablo! Can you tell us how you got into music?
It all started with my love for listening to female pop and hip-hop artists. Because of them, I discovered the type of music I wanted to create. But before my interest in music-making began, I used to sing and participate in a lot of school programs and town events. I developed my confidence in performing by joining singing competitions, TV contests, and gigs to train myself. I was in preschool when my first-ever singing performance happened, and since then, I have enjoyed doing it.
How was creating your first song like?
When I reached the age of 14, I finally started writing random poems and lyrics and turned them into songs. Creating my first-ever song gave me a lot of hopes and doubts. I am doubtful if I am doing the right thing, but at the same time, I am hopeful that I can improve. That one day, I’ll be able to create songs that I’ll be confident to share. I think all my previous experiences led to who I am now as Paul Pablo. I’m still not perfect as an artist and I never will be, but my development and growth will make me better as I move forward, and I think that’s what this journey is all about. It’s about being a risk-taker and doing the things you believe in, even if people are not following you yet.
Where do you get inspiration in making music?
In my experience, my lyrics become more truthful whenever I draw inspiration from something I am deeply familiar with, whether it be a feeling or a situation. We all have different dramas and life experiences, and I believe these things can serve as perfect inspiration for a song.
Can you tell us about your latest singles “Sagi” and “Takaw Tingin?”
“Sagi” was written for people who don’t know where they stand in a relationship. It’s difficult to invest in love when uncertainties and questions accompany it. Meanwhile, my new single “Takaw Tingin,” produced under Warner Music Philippines, is a dance-pop song about self-love and embracing your uniqueness.
Congratulations on being featured on Spotify’s RADAR Philippines 2023. How does it feel that artists from Davao like you are getting recognized nationwide?
The Philippines is comprised of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and it is high time that we recognize and embrace the fact that people from different regions of the country deserve equal recognition. Being in Manila and meeting all the RADAR artists this year fills me with pride and confidence that Filipino music will thrive. I simply hope that our fellow countrymen will do their part and show their support.
Who are the artists you look up to, and why?
Being a Little Monster is a huge part of my life. I was 8 years old when I became a Lady Gaga fan, and even now, at 23, I still look up to her. I didn't want to copy her music, although I really love it. Her bravery in taking risks in music and her love for the LGBTQIA+ community inspired me. It became easier for me to accept my truth, that I am gay, because of her. I used to feel like an outcast, but as time passed, I realized that I was unique, and I no longer begged to fit in.
How important is LGBTQIA+ representation in music for you?
With the songs I write, I always aim to make my goals noticeable. I have no intention of limiting the gender forms that can relate to my songs. I want them to be for everyone, LGBTQIA+ or not. However, being open about my sexuality and my artistic expression is a risk for me. It takes time for people to take you seriously, and there is always a distinct impression when you are gay. I believe this is a stronger reason for me to pursue my work. I want to see more people like me represented in this industry.
What achievements are you most proud of since getting into music?
Working with Warner Music, performing at PLUS63 Music Festival, and being a Spotify RADAR artist for two years in a row.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue music?
Give it your all. Every exposure is an opportunity to be seen, so don’t waste it. Failure or mistakes should not prevent you. Just keep going forward and show them how much better you are getting!
If given the opportunity to collaborate with or open a show for a specific artist, who would it be and why?
I would love to try collaborating with P-Pop groups. It’s something I’m really curious about. I also wish to open for Jeff Satur, an artist from Thailand, since I’ve heard he might be doing a show here soon, and I’m a fan of his series KinnPorsche. I’m also a big fan of Lizzo and Charli XCX. If given the chance, I would love to open for their shows. Lastly, although it sounds impossible, I really hope that one day I’ll get to meet Lady Gaga in person.
What’s next for Paul Pablo? What can Fablos expect this year?
Expect a lot of surprises that will make your faces smile. I am currently working on more songs, and I can’t wait to put them all out.
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