IÑIGO PASCUAL: Look at him now
INTERVIEW BY DENISE MALLABO
Filipino talent IÑIGO PASCUAL is no stranger to trials in his life, may it be concerning his personal journey or career. The goal to break into the international market might be the most challenging one that he has to take-on, but Iñigo is keen on keeping his heart and mind strong in sharing his brand of music.
Iñigo Pascual is your typical 21-year-old male performer — energetic, bursting with ideas, and agitated for what’s next to come. It showed during his interview; the boy can’t keep still. He’s an interviewer’s dream, he doesn’t give one liner answers. But there’s really nothing average about this actor and singer. Iñigo was born in the entertainment industry as his future playground, as his father, Piolo Pascual, is one of the most bankable actors and movie producers in the Philippines. Being Piolo’s son was an easy gateway for Iñigo to enter the showbiz industry but it wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with either. “A lot of people say that I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for my dad and I see that as a blessing. It's also something that made it harder for me in a way because I had a lot of things to prove for myself. People have these expectations that just because I'm Piolo's son, I must be good at certain things. I must be good at acting, I have to be good looking, I have to be this and that. But I use that as motivation to push myself harder, to work, and to show that I want this and it's not just something that was handed to me. It's something that I really want to work on and share. I appreciate whatever my dad did for me; I'd always be thankful for that,” says Iñigo. He did several movies in the Philippines and has already released a self-titled album. His song “Dahil Sa’yo” is the first number one track in the Billboard Philippines. But it’s time to go bigger. Iñigo is now gearing to release his first international single “Options” under Tarsier Records. The song is produced by Bernard “BHarv” Harvey, who worked with Justin Bieber, Eminem, Gucci Mane, to name a few, and Felisha King from the duo Cherish and will be streaming on all major music platforms.
Having all the success that he’s already enjoying in the Philippines, why endure the imminent struggles of going global? Read on as Iñigo answers that and more in this exclusive interview with A Book Of.
What was the first album that you listened to that made you decide that you want to be a singer and who influenced you to become a performer?
It's Chris Brown's Exclusive and Justin Bieber's My World. I was that kid who would argue with people who would make fun of artists like Justin Bieber. As for my influence, my dad, that's a given. He's my idol.
You have a huge following in Manila. What do you do to keep them all continuously be fascinated towards you?
That's a question that I ask myself everyday "how do I keep them interested?" In my YouTube channel, we let them see how my life is like daily. I also just stay personal with them. The more you directly communicate with them, the more you show them that you appreciate their efforts. They sacrifice a lot for you and for you not to show your appreciation is sad. As much as possible I always try to thank them for everything that they would do for me.
Let’s talk about your international release. How did the decision to go worldwide came about?
I've always had a dream of making it out there because one, I don't want people telling me that you're only popular because of your dad; that's a motivation that I use to work harder. I love music and how it connects people. I've been in the Philippines for 5 years, and the first three years, I've been acting, and I fought for my music career. After releasing my album in the Philippines, we just started thinking on what we can do next. I met up with my label, Tarsier Records, because I was starting to get anxious and it was perfect timing because they were building up this whole plan to go international. I said that this is going to take a while because it will be the label's first time to do this, but I was surprised because the following month they already told me that I was going to the States and will be recording. When I was in America, I met up with singers Alex Aiono, Leroy Sanchez, Jessica Reynoso, and AJ Rafael, and did a cover with all of them in a week.
Everything that's been happening has been crazy and I want to prepare for it because I won't be Iñigo, Piolo Pascual's son, I won't be Iñigo seen on Philippine TV; I'd be Iñigo the newcomer. I'd be Iñigo the new guy that will be judged to see if his music is good enough in that market. It's a whole different and difficult thing but I got good people that I work with that are very supportive. I've already gone through events and meetings in the US and no one made me feel that I didn't belong there. I'm really very excited about it.
Tell us about your first single “Options” and how it was produced
I worked on this song with BHarv and Felisha King, and they were so cool. I first met BHarv last year. I presented him some of my songs. He just wanted to know my style; my genre. He wanted to see who I am as a person. At that time, I wasn't sure how to put myself out there because he's the first guy that I'm meeting for my international projects. The whole process of recording with him was fast because the first two days were our writing sessions. We worked on this song with Felisha from the RnB group Cherish. She already had an idea for a song, and she was telling BHarv "I want this sound." The first line of the song was "I have options" and it's like saying that if you don't want me, I still have options and I said that I wasn't comfortable and confident saying that on stage. We changed it to "I had options" and it's like telling someone that I used to have options but when I met you, they didn't matter anymore, so we went in that direction.
I had a poll. I asked my friends and family and they all had the same reaction that when they hear "Options," they want to listen to more songs from me. It's their curiosity kicking in and that's what we're after. For the first release, we want something that would strike people's attention.
What are your plans on touring your music globally?
We're trying to map out a lot of things on my calendar this year. I've always dreamt about touring and traveling the world. I really want to share this new music to everyone. I know it's a scary thing to think of because it's a whole different market, but we want to share what we got out here in the Philippines. I've always pictured myself to be able to do that. We want to bring my music around the globe, not only mine, but to represent OPM in general. As much as I'm going to the US and hope to make a career out there, I'd still represent the Philippines forever.
What are you looking forward to the most this year?
The whole process. I want to see how I will be next year. I'm looking forward to everything, but at the same time, I'm scared for everything. Right now, I'm excited to travel. The airplane would be our home for a while. We'll be touring with Tarsier Records, so that's going to be with other Tarsier Records talents. I want them there; I want my team there. I want to experience what the overall tour life would be like.