IVNFIL on His Beginnings and the Release of 'Glass Shuttle'

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

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!

Many of us picked a new hobby (or two) when we were confined in the four walls of our homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Reading, painting, journaling, sewing, baking — the list goes on. While most of us did so as a distraction and to beat boredom, Ivan Emperador saw it as an opportunity to get his gears going as well.

More known by his artist name IVNFIL, Ivan has been producing music at a young age until he decided to come out of his shell to write songs and upload covers on YouTube in 2020. Little did he know, though, that his first cover will be recognized by none other than the artist he admires later on. It was a dream come true, and it’s exactly what the artist inside Ivan needed to push himself forward.

Fresh from releasing his new single “Glass Shuttle,” IVNFIL shares with The Beat Asia how he transitioned to a new artist name, how he wrote his first song (in Korean and English), and how he felt when his favorite artist Eric Nam watched one of his covers on YouTube.

Hi Ivan (IVNFIL). Can you give our readers a short introduction about yourself?

My name is Ivan Emperador, also known as IVNFIL. I’m a 19-year-old singer-songwriter and music producer based in Manila. I’ve been producing music as a hobby since I was 14, but I’ve been blessed to work with a music production group called Umsic Music Production (UMP).

What's the story behind your current artist name? Was there something that didn't click with your previous artist name (jr. aori) so you changed it to IVNFIL?

I initially wanted to release music under a brand aesthetic, creating music for a front I wanted people to perceive me as. But as I started to pour my heart into the songs I wrote, it felt disingenuous to release music coming from my heart under a mere facade of a name. Ivan Fil has always been my nickname growing up, so I wanted to give an original and honest side of me for people to connect with.

You released your first song ‘지금도 널 생각해 (I Still Think Of You)’ in August 2020, which was during the COVID-19 community quarantines. How was creating it like? Was it already part of your plan to release music or was it something born out of the pandemic?

I made “지금도 널 생각해” as a way to cope with my boredom during quarantine as well as to pursue my dream of becoming an official artist. I don’t know if I’d call myself “official” then, but it was more of a fun project I wanted to make.

Ever since you started making music, do you do everything on your own or do you get help from others in some aspects?

My older brother Ethan Emperador, who is my “partner in crime,” helps in a couple [of] production stages in the various art forms we create, whether [it’s] the videos we work on or the music I write. He’s there when I get stuck in writing or when I need a helping hand when filming myself.

You've probably been asked this question a lot, but how was it knowing that the Eric Nam has watched your cover of 'Runaway'? Not a lot of people get this lucky.

Eric Nam was one of the people who inspired me to write my first song in the Korean language and produce pop music, so it was truly an honor to be recognized by him. I remember it feeling like a dream watching him react to my very first cover on YouTube, as it was my first time coming out of my shell to sing covers of my favorite artists.

Let's talk about your new single ‘Glass Shuttle.’ What was the inspiration behind it?

“Glass Shuttle” is a continuation of a previous release called “Glass Airline” that is set in the “glass series” that I’ve created. The series has a visual imagery set in the future that speaks about an adventurous journey between man and God, telling stories and concepts that are inspired by Scripture to reveal and portray the timelessness of the Father’s heart for us.

Why ‘Glass Shuttle’? What was going through your mind when you were thinking of a title for this song?

The title “Glass Shuttle” was initially just a mix of words and concepts that made my mind wonder and my imagination fly, but it soon molded itself into chapters of stories in the “glass series” that represent a state and stage in life.

We saw the teasers of ‘Glass Shuttle’ on your socials and we're amazed at how creative it is, especially when you were holding that blue light. Whose idea was it?

My brother and I pursued filmmaking when we were in high school, so a lot of the skills that we’ve acquired throughout those years have been favorable to us in our filming process. The creativity seen [in the teasers] is sometimes a happy accident I find on set to spice up the overall vibe.

Let's talk more about the future. If you could collaborate with or open a show for a specific artist (local or international), who would it be and why?

Growing up, I always loved listening to the whole discography of Owl City. I always told my friends that my favorite magician is Adam Young (the man behind Owl City) because his music is always so magical, so it’d mean the world to me to be able to collaborate with him. Another artist I would love to collaborate with locally is ena mori. I’ve listened to her music for a couple years, and throughout, she’s been amazing at what she does with her exuberant style and musicality.

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

“Glass Shuttle” is a pre-release of [my upcoming] “Glass Shuttle” mini album, which consists of three songs [that] express themes of wonder, companionship, and loss. I’ve also been working on future releases in collaboration with various international indie artists. As for gigs, I don’t have many plans to perform at gigs, but keep in touch with me for updates.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. To know more about IVNFIL, follow him on Instagram and Facebook. You can also stream his music on Spotify and SoundCloud or watch his covers on YouTube.

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