Singer-songwriter IONE Talks About the Magic of Making Music

The Beat Manila’s Up-and-Coming Artist: Singer-songwriter IONE

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 to 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!

Hermione Granger. Regardless of the generation you belong to, you’ve probably heard of this name from the popular fantasy novel and film, “Harry Potter.” We mean, who doesn’t? It’s a classic piece that changed pop culture around the world and continues to live in our minds rent-free. But this up-and-coming artist we’re about to introduce does her magic in a different way: through the music she creates.

Singing chill melodies that can make anyone feel peaceful and relaxed, Hermione Morales, also known as IONE, shares with The Beat Asia how she decided on her artist name, how a challenge from her dad led to creating her first song, and how she sees music as a therapeutic outlet to express herself.

Hi IONE. Can you give our readers an introduction about yourself and how you discovered music?

I'm IONE Morales, an incoming sophomore at Ateneo de Manila University. I'm a fully independent singer-songwriter and producer from Pampanga, Philippines, but I also reside in Quezon City for school.

What's the story behind your artist name? Hermione is such a beautiful name, so why leave out the first few letters?

I feel like Hermione, with its origin literally being Hermione from the “Harry Potter” series, would leave me with an unoriginal legacy in terms of my music. IONE is unique to me and more artistic in general. That's why I chose to use a shortened version of Hermione.

How was creating your first song like? Any stories about it that you would like to share?

It started out with a car ride home when I told my dad that I needed a producer ‘cause I felt like I could make music. He challenged me and told me, “Why? Can't you do it?” He knew exactly what he needed to do to get my gears turning. That night, I played around with my six-year-old laptop, grabbed my brother's gaming mic, and sped through music theory to make “Purple Sunrise” and my unreleased song, “Open Letter” (it's on YouTube!).

You do everything from writing to mixing your songs, which we think is admirable. How does it feel to be a one-woman team? Did you ever consider approaching other artists so you can collaborate and share your creative process with them?

I feel like with my music, it's more of a very personal form of art that I appreciate doing alone. It's therapeutic. I don't mind being a one-woman team because, to me, it's just my way of completely expressing myself. I don't necessarily have to be perfect all the time, but at least if I'm alone, I'm not pressured to do it within a deadline or to change things that would make the music not feel like it's from me. Although with collaborations, I do like doing them, but only if I really form a good bond with the artist. That way, I won't feel uncomfortable in the process of making art.

Can you tell us about the process behind your first Filipino release, 'Delia'?

Delia” is my first Filipino song. I felt the need to write it in Filipino because it's dedicated to my late lola (grandmother), Delia, who was the kindest person I knew. It basically just describes my longing for her warmth again, and just me wishing her well, wherever she is now. It's a very personal song that I don't expect to be successful in a commercial way, but I needed my art to get through that very dark time of my life.

Just like with any song, I first imagine the setting I wanted to feel like I was in whenever I listened to it. For “Delia,” I wanted to feel like I was on a windy hill on a sunny day, near the heavens where I could see my lola (grandmother). From there, I wrote whatever came into my mind.

We read on your socials that you also did the artwork for 'To Be Loved.' Is it your hobby to draw? If not, what other things keep you busy apart from making music?

Yes, all my cover art was also drawn by me. I do have a knack for painting and drawing, and my dad always tells me that it's the talent that I have the most potential in, but I never really get to do it as often with my academics and music-making. Painting really takes a lot of time. Growing up, my dad made me really invested in the arts, because he was a painter himself and sponsors a painter too, so I've always been surrounded by paintings. Painting and music always ground me and make me feel human.

What do you think was your biggest achievement (or something that you're truly proud of) since you started making music?

One of my biggest achievements is still pushing through even when I felt extremely discouraged and defeated.

I'm also really proud of myself for being consistently on Spotify Editorial playlists (one even being an international playlist, Mood, with Niki, Sza, etc.). Getting recognized by my idols, and even being acquainted with them just because they know some of my songs is another. I know the general public doesn't really know about me, but it's another type of achievement to feel acknowledged by people you look up to. This applies to being featured by magazines such as The Beat as well! I'm endlessly grateful.

Did anything change in your life significantly since you started making and releasing music?

Yes, definitely. Now, I look forward to downtimes when I can make music in solitude. When I'm sad, I can rely on my art and myself to feel better. When I'm happy, I can preserve the feeling more. Now, I look forward to sharing my art, even if it's for one person or a thousand. I'm also less pressured to achieve so much in terms of academics and my STEM career because I already enjoy my life as an artist, and even if it's not as profitable, I can see myself doing it in the long run.

If you could collaborate with or open a show for a specific artist (local or international), who would it be and why?

It would definitely be Beabadoobee, SZA, or the band Lamp, just because I really love their songs and they comfort me so so much! It would be such a dream to see them live, what more to work with them?! Just thinking about it excites me so much!

What's next for IONE? Any future projects or gigs you're participating in soon?

I'm definitely working on a few singles (maybe an EP? I'll see how it goes!), but I also would love to dive into doing gigs or busking! I'm trying to find time to practice and have more time to book a few gigs in the future.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. To know more about IONE, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. You can also stream and watch her music on Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube.

Get the latest curated content with The Beat Asia's newsletters. Sign up now for a weekly dose of the best stories, events, and deals delivered straight to your inbox. Don't miss out! Click here to subscribe.