Filipino artists are no stranger to making waves internationally, and one platform is committed to making that a consistent thing. PARADISE RISING, a sub-collective of Asian-American label 88rising, dropped semilucent last year, a five-track compilation album featuring Kiana V, fern., Leila Alcasid, Jason Dhakal, and Massiah.
This 2021, PARADISE RISING returns with semilucent 2, with tracks from both homegrown and international artists, like Fil-Canadian duo Manila Grey, singer/instrumentalist Steven Peregrina, rapper/songwriter Curtismith, electronic producer Manila Killa, Amsterdam’s R&B protege daze, New York hip-hop powerhouse CA Christian Alexander, and Malaysia’s multi-talented global artist Yuna.
We spoke with Curtismith, CA Christian Alexander, Manila Killa, and Steven Peregrina on their music styles, the vibes their tracks exude, and who is on their quarantine playlists.
How would you describe your music to newbies?
Curtismith: ‘Reflective, authentic, and human. All of my lyrics are about my experiences or stories I heard from friends.’
CA Christian Alexander: ‘Wavy, because I try to make my music, the sonics, the flows I use sound different. Relatable, ’cause everything I rap about I’ve been through myself. Authentic, ’cause I think if your music is true to yourself, it’ll stand the test of time.’
Steven Peregrina: ‘Passion, Masaya. I want people to see my music as an escape from real-world problems, especially nowadays.’
Manila Killa: ‘Dance Music. Filipino-inspired. I take what Filipinos love: the soft, emotional ballads and I turn that into something you wanna dance and cry to at the same time.’
What is the ideal setting you can see your music being played in?
CA: I used to work at The Palace as a party host, so I feel like my music is the soundtrack of Manila nightlife. It can get crazy here with the late nights. I also grew up in New York City, so if you love traditional hip-hop, I have some bars and punchlines that are good.
Curtismith: For Black Hearts, I’d like to imagine someone driving along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Los Angeles, while listening to it on the radio.
Steven Peregrina: In the car, with good vibes all around. The pre-pandemic feels.
Manila Killa: In an airplane, traveling alone with the headphones on. I try to go for euphoric, dreamy music because I want people to think about the lyrics and how they can relate to their lives.
Who’s on your quarantine playlist?
CA: I used to be a journalist for music magazines in the US, so I can’t really pinpoint a specific artist. I’m a songwriter for other artists. so I listen to a lot of genres I can draw inspiration from.
Curtismith: Isaiah Rashad has been one of my favorite artists for years and he just came out with a new album. I admire the authenticity. I can relate to his addictive personality to vices and how he was able to get out of his hole.
It was something I connected to, especially since COVID I was doing anything to stay somewhat sane.
Manila Killa: I only listen to dance music, and there’s this artist that released an album where everything on it was influenced by the pandemic. He would cut audio clips from IG Live stories and incorporate that into his music.
His name is Fred Again and I just found that album so special because I felt I wasn’t alone, that there were other people trying to get through this pandemic.