By JESSICA PAG-IWAYAN
With so many aspiring talented artists, bands, and musicians, the music industry both local and international is a cutthroat one. For an independent band to break into the local scene or to sign under a record label, is definitely a big leap.
It’s a leap that girl-fronted quartet Gracenote just accomplished. The group, composed of lead Eunice Jorge, her brother and bass player Jazz Jorge, guitarist Tatsi Jamnague, and drummer EJ Pichay, is now making waves in the OPM world.
Down the memory lane
Most would’ve heard of the band from the Coke Studio program, which Gracenote joined and where they collaborated with hip-hop artist Abra. But for fans of ‘80s American singer-songwriter Stevie B, Gracenote is a group that has made every Filipino proud.
A couple of years ago, they made a rock cover of Stevie B’s “When I Dream About You.” They offered a refreshing touch to the song with a more upbeat sound. It instantly became viral, so much so that even the original artist himself personally sent a message to Gracenote for the “fantastic job” they’ve done to his song and that he’ll be glad to hear more covers from the band. “I will surely promote it,” he said.
And the rest is history. From being an independent band, they have now signed under Universal Records and have recently released their third album Small World. In an intimate conversation, Gracenote shared with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle the story behind their newest record.
Inside the Small World
According to Eunice, the album two years in the making, is the product of hard work and a well thought out plan. It’s a combination of each member’s musical influence, their stories, and their journeys.
“We’re the type who love to explore. As musicians, we don’t put ourselves in a box,” Eunice says. She also said that for this third album, the group changed their sound. “We always want to take risks and to go out of our comfort zones.”
In the back of cover of the physical album, there’s a map that invites everyone to get into a journey inside Gracenote’s Small World. “This album is a journey of different emotions,” Eunice continues. “When you listen to it, every song has its own emotion.”
When asked why they jumped into tackling different human emotions through music, the group says it’s because they want to reach out to people who are still looking for their own place in this world.
“Composed of 15 tracks, there’s one song there called ‘City of Vulnerability,’” she says. “It’s a place—a city—I created for people [who are] a bit out of place. And this song talks about being vulnerable. The journey in our album started with the song ‘Arrival,’ then there’s ‘City of Vulnerability,’ and ‘Fantasy.’ Each of these songs is about a certain emotion that a person might be going through. It’s up to you to identify which track you can relate to.”
Meanwhile, Small World’s cover image is a head of an alien. It might look weird to some, but for the band, it’s their way of reaching out to everyone. “We used the icon alien because we wanted to reach out and to connect,” she says. “We know that our songs are a bit unfamiliar for first time listeners, but we want to exist in their world and we want them to be part of ours.”
Those 15 tracks in their album are all original songs. The the two Filipino titles, “Sa Kalawakan” and “Paulit-ulit,” are products of their collaboration with “Torete” songwriter Darwin Hernandez.
As a woman in music world
Locally, there are only a few bands that have female artists as a leads, such as UDD and Moonstar88. When asked if she sees being a woman as a disadvantage or a challenge, Eunice says no.
“I see it as an advantage,” says Eunice, who’s also a music teacher who can play different types of instruments, including the drums, ukulele, and keyboard. “People wouldn’t expect much from a girl. So when I play the drums, the violin, or the guitar on stage, they get more amazed because I’m a girl.”
Female artist or not, it doesn’t matter. Music binds us all. “We get to connect to a lot of people because of that song [‘When I Dream About You’],” she says. “It’s amazing how music works. It makes the world smaller.”