SPOTLIGHT: Singer-songwriter Jace Roque reveals why he’s not keen on singing ballads

Published May 23, 2022, 9:23 PM

by Robert Requintina

Jace Roque

Singer-songwriter Jace Roque returns to the music scene with his latest Tagalog single “Di Para Sayo” which was released on April 22.

Jace, 30, has also signed up with Philippine based international label Ditto Music Philippines. He rebranded himself as a PPop soloist with the release of his highly anticipated mini-album “Inferno.” His English comeback single “Be Someone” has also been dropped.

In this latest interview, Jace opens up about his music and why he’s not interested in singing sad songs.

Manila Bulletin Entertainment: What’s keeping you busy these days?

Jace: “I’ve in been on hiatus ng one year after promoting my previous single ‘Forever’ last Feb. 2021. Nag take ako ng break from the spotlight. And, ngayon lang ulit ako nag reemerged.”

MBE: Why did you take a leave for one year?

Jace: “To be honest, kaya ako nawala sa spotlight is because nag therapy ako for my mental health. Iyon talaga yung reason kung bakit ako nawala sa showbiz. Supposedly, may expectation po sila na kung ano yung next move ko, kasi nag 1 million yung music video ng previous single ko, which was ‘Forever’ so merong anticipation, na what’s my next move. Anong gagawin ko naman next. Ang naging next move ko talaga is to take a step back from the spotlight. Kasi parang yung pandemic situation na-build up na siya, to the point na it really affected me a lot, affected na yung work ko, yung life overall in general. So, something I needed to address in 2021, so nag break ako. But, after healing, after finishing my therapy, that’s when I started to resume my music career, na doon na ako nag start mag produce ng mini album, until sa ni-release ko na po siya. Slowly ni-roll out ko na yung single ng mini album which was yung ‘Di Para Sayo’ which was released last month. And yung ‘Be Someone,’ na-release na po. I’m very happy I’m getting my life back, promoting my music.”

MBE: Do you write all your songs?

Jace: “Yes. I write, arranged, and produced all of my songs.” 

MBE: Tell us about the song “Di Para Sa’yo”.  

Jace: “Yung ‘Di Para Sayo’ is  my journey to finding myself worth, na after loving someone 100 percent, mare-realize mo na hindi siya worthy sa pagmamahal mo, so you’re gonna end up loving yourself na lang.”

MBE: So the song is based on your personal experience. 

Jace: “Ah yes, because autobiographical po yung song ko. It’s like my diary in a music form.” 

MBE: I noticed that all your songs are upbeat. 

Jace: “Yes.”

MBE: Don’t you write sad songs or ballads?

Jace: “On purpose ‘yun kasi the lyrics are painful na, laging may duality po yung tone ng songs ko na, painful yung lyrics pero upbeat yung production para hindi siya super gloomy na, painful na yung production, painful pa yung lyrics parang maiiyak ka na lang. So, dapat may uplifting aspect pa rin siya, na dance the pain away. Parang naging motto ko na.”

MBE: So for  now, no time for you to write sad songs? I remember Adele she doesn’t sing or write happy songs.

Jace: “Ballads are boring, to be honest. Most of the songs I listened to are like yung songs ko, reflecting lahat ng influences na pinapakinggan ko. Ako kasi heavily influenced by dance music, disco music  so  mas nakikita talaga yun sa songs ko, and yung mga acoustic, though nag release naman ako ng acoustic version ng ‘Forever.’ Lumaki kasi yung demand for the song, so nag release ako ng different version. But, as far as yung official single talaga na medyo departure from my current sounds na slower, more relaxed, ayoko ng songs na makakatulog ako. And for me performing those kinds of songs are boring din Gusto ko na-hype yung tao kasi whenever I’m performing on stage kinukuha ko lang din yung energy ko from the audience.”

MBE: Where do you get the inspiration to write songs?

Jace: “Whenever I create a song lagi siyang organic. Wala talaga akong specific day for songwriting, like kapag nasa shower ako kapag may naisip ako, i-voice note ko na, kahit nasa gym ako, kahit driving i-voice note ko siya. Tapos organic lang yung pag-conceptualize kasi easy to conceptualize because it’s based on my life story. And yung nagiging structured, later on doon na siya dumadating kapag out of all the voice notes na ginawa ko, which one yung gusto kong tutukan, doon na lang siya nag e-evolve to a full song. Usually, it takes about a month to actually produce the demo, kasi medyo meticulous din ako even though nasa demo station, I need to hear it more than a hundred times before ko i-greenlight.” 

MBE: You’re related to Gino Padilla and Luke Mijares. 

Jace: “Yes po, tito Gino po is my uncle’s uncle parang lolo ko na po,but I dont call him lolo po. Tito tawag ko. Then, si kuya Luke naman is my cousin’s cousin and every branch ng family tree namin may artista but ang pinaka blood relative ko talaga is my uncle na pamangkin ni Tito Gino.” 

MBE: Gino and Luke are big names in OPM. Are you pressured to reach what they have achieved in music?

Jace: “Ngayon po wala na. Before kasi talaga, when I entered the industry ang naging usapan talaga, papasok ako as an unknown individual. Walang backing from my relatives and all. Kaya for the first few years, I really had to prove myself kasi ang usapan, if you wanna go into showbiz, kailangan patunayan mo na kaya mo. Kasi ayaw namin masabihan na kaya ka lang nakapasok sa showbiz is because of your relatives. Ayon po yung naging struggles ko early on in my career, pero nung napatunayan ko naman na I can book my own jobs, I can do this and all doon na sila nag start na ‘yes, we’re gonna help you na kasi na-prove mo na yung sarili mo’. We really made sure na nagkaroon muna ako ng ‘hit singles’ before ni-reveal na may relatives ako in the  music industry. By the time na ni reveal nung 2020, I already have three consecutive hits. Pressure mostly nang-gagaling from myself because walang aware na may relatives ako in the industry, even the press were shocked. It’s a well-kept secret.”

MBE: The title of your mini-album is “Inferno.” Why?

Jace: “Inferno because yun ang purging ko of the pain, the guilt and the blame, na I had to experience and inferno because binased ko rin siya sa ‘Dante’s Inferno,’ and yung symbolism na whenever prior to going to hell, pinu-purge ka talaga ng lahat ng kasalanan mo. Ayun ang naging symbolism ng ‘Inferno’ for me.” 

MBE: How would you describe your journey in the music industry? 

Jace: “Challenging po. Roller coaster s’ya because early on ng career ko, ang nire-release ko was hard core electronic dance music songs, na pang Coachella. Ganun talaga yung level na nire-release ko, which I had to tone down because hindi siya well-received ng audience. Nag lean ako more into pop sounds, more dance pop na parang about me compromising. Ayun yung five years ko, me compromising sa audience until nag-meet na kami ngayong 2022 na medyo na-accept na nila ang different sounds ko. So, parang journey to becoming your authentic self rin yung five years ko sa music industry. Finally pwede ko ng i-release yung music na totoo talaga sa akin, na hindi ko na kailangan mag compromise, this is actually my music, the sound I want to portray.”

MBE: Any artists you want to collaborate with?

Jace: “Locally, I wanna collaborate with James Reid, Nadine Lustre, and with the P-pop groups. I wanna work with SB19, because I’ve met them na through Tita Lorie during their presscon. ‘Yun talaga ‘yung mga gusto ‘kong maka work, because I wanna work with people na humble pa rin from the start until the current status ng career nila.” (Translated by Jazzle Anne Calanao and Diannevie Feliciano/OJT from City of Malabon University)

For the full video interview of Jace Roque, visit the official Facebook account of Manila Bulletin Entertainment.