The Blooming Music-making Journey of Paolo Sandejas

The Beat Manila’s Up-and-Coming Artist: Singer-Songwriter Paolo Sandejas

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!

Though gaining recognition from the artist you admire may seem like a milestone that only happens in movies, it’s the reality for Filipino musician Paolo Sandejas, whose soul-stirring track “Sorry” was featured in the “Drive Vlog“ of BTS’ Kim Taehyung aka V.

Stitching heartfelt lyrics into melodious tunes that span across genres such as indie-pop, retro, alternative rock, and neo-soul, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter has consistently released chart-topping tracks since signing under Universal Records Philippines in 2018.

With nearly five million streams on Spotify, his mid-tempo pop anthem “Sway” earned him his first accolade at the 2020 Wish Music Awards. In late 2022, he performed at his debut music festival, Salo-Salo Fest, alongside OPM legends like Parokya Ni Edgar and Orange & Lemons. Now, he is part of Spotify’s RADAR Philippines 2023, a platform that spotlights up-and-coming artists who are making waves in the local music scene.

To celebrate the release of his new EP “BLOOM,” Paolo chats to The Beat Asia about his music-making journey and how capturing the attention of BTS’ V propelled his career.

Hi, Paolo! Can you tell us what made you decide to pursue music?

For me, I’ve always enjoyed listening to music growing up. I’m always in awe of songwriters who write music that makes you feel. Eventually, I decided to try my hand at writing my own music to tell my stories and experiences. I honestly just fell in love with the process and haven’t looked back.

Paolo Sandejas

What achievements are you most proud of since entering the music industry?

The last year has been a crazy ride of highs. From getting acknowledged by V from BTS to performing at my first music festival (Salo-Salo Fest), it’s been amazing. I’m blessed to have a lot to be grateful for. If I had to pick one, it would probably be my first award show win back in 2020 for my song “Sway” at the Wish Music Awards. Looking back, that was the moment that I realized my passion for music was no longer just something that I enjoyed in isolation. It suddenly became something bigger than myself, and I was humbled to know people were listening and enjoying the art that I make.

Who are the artists you idolize and why?

Growing up, it’s always been John Mayer. From his songwriting to his guitar-playing skills, I’m always in awe of how he crafts his music. He really inspires me to keep improving and pushing myself to be the best that I can be. Aside from him, some of my other musical heroes are Tom Misch, Bruno Major, Benny Sings, and Phum Viphurit. While they all have somewhat different styles and genres, I love to vary the music I listen to so that I can keep my sources of inspiration varied. It helps me create something new with my own unique blend of what I love about all these artists.

Congratulations on being part of Spotify’s RADAR Philippines 2023! How does it feel to be recognized as one of the rising acts in the country?

It’s unreal! I’m just honored to have this opportunity to show my music to a wider audience in hopes that their experiences find a home in my songs as well.

Paolo Sandejas Spotify Radar Philippines

Can you share with us the process behind your latest EP 'BLOOM'?

With this new EP, I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone. With every release, I try to get closer and closer to sounding like the musician I aspire to be. It’s hard to put it into words, but I just want to get to a point where my music can be played alongside my musical heroes. If I ever get to that point, I’ll be the happiest person in the world.

In terms of the theme of the EP, I really wanted to showcase how I’ve grown as a musician since I entered the industry back in 2018. The idea of “BLOOM” just fit perfectly. It’s me reintroducing myself to my listeners and the scene with a newfound confidence in myself and my craft.

Which track from the EP are you most enthusiastic about performing live?

If I could say all of them, I would. I really enjoy writing music with the goal of making it fun to perform live. If I had to pick one, though, it would probably be the title track “BLOOM.” From the second I finished it, I knew it would be such a blast to perform live and I can’t wait for everyone to hear me and my band play it.

Paolo Sandejas Band

Is there a local or international festival that you aspire to perform at or be part of the lineup?

I think Wanderland has always been a goal for me and my other friends in the industry. Other than that, I’d love to have the chance to perform outside of the Philippines and across Southeast Asia. Busan Rock Fest, We the Fest, and Summer Sonic are some of the many music festivals that I would be honored to perform at one day.

Thank you for your time, Paolo!

Thank you, Mark.

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

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