Friday, September 09, 2005

Kitchie Nadal: More Than Just a Rock Chick

By Dominique Cimafranca with interview by Lorraine Marie M. Evasco, Marianne Catherine F. Tapales, and Rodrigo Bolivar

All of 25 years old, Kitchie Nadal is a genuine Filipino superstar in her own right. Starting out as a replacement lead singer for the popular band Mojofly, Kitchie went solo after a brief hiatus to finish her studies. In short order, she caught the ear of the listening public with her single "'Wag na 'Wag Mong Sasabihin", theme song of the hit Koreanovela "Lovers in Paris." Kitchie cemented her place in modern Filipino alternative music with "Bulong" and "Same Ground."

Thus it was with great anticipation that local music fans awaited Kitchie Nadal's first concert in Dumaguete on September 3, 2005. Kitchie proved herself a true professional, attending to a local press conference, a radio interview, and a motorcade around our fair city despite a gruelling touring schedule.

But where Kitchie really shone was in her performance that night at the Macias Sports Coliseum with hundreds of fans in attendance. After the front act by local band Koo Fellas, Kitchie Nadal came on stage to thunderous applause belting out her latest hit, "Breathe."

Midway through the concert, the alternative rock diva issued an invitation for a fan to join her on stage to sing "Same Ground", an invitation that Silliman University nursing student Paula Jasette Anne Tumulak bravely met, matching her idol note for note.

By "Ulan", the stadium was alit with cellphones swaying to Kitchie's beat. And by the last few numbers, Kitchie had come off stage to join her thronging fans, much to the chagrin of local security and her manager Roca Cruz. Fortunately, Dumaguetenos are a well-behaved bunch, and the singer was all smiles.

Who is Kitchie Nadal? What is the personality behind the rock-artist persona? Catch glimpse of her from her Dumaguete interview.

Q: When did you start singing?
Kitchie: I started singing professionally, 19 years old with another band.

Q: And how old are you now?
K: Twenty-four – and turning 25 this September 16. (Laughs).

Q: Prior to your professional singing career, what were you doing?
K: Ah, so you mean other hobbies? Before, I was into sports. If I have extra time, I paint. That’s what I love to do. And reading books. That’s pretty much it.

Q: How do you define your kind of music?
K: There’s a term called “Kitch pop.” I just learned that a couple of weeks ago. It’s like a fine line between -- how should I say this? -- it’s like pop music and “astig” music na parang “masa” music and then parang there’s an edge.
Roca: In between baduy and ano....
K: (Talking to Roca) If I’m gonna say that I’m gonna ruin my reputation.
K: Astig, that’s “Kitch pop.” (Laughs).

Q: Where do you find inspiration when you compose your songs or when you sing?
K: When it comes to song writing naman eh it’s just like any – I don’t know – for me, I treat it like any other job. Of course, it’s something that I really love to do but I don’t really look for an inspiration to write. Like you guys, a lot of you are writers, you know, hindi kayo masyadong dependent sa inspiration. Parang you just happen to be doing what you’re good at and you just do it. But it’s good also ‘coz there are times that we also get inspired and then write songs. ‘Yun.

Q: Haven’t heard about your love life. Do you have a boyfriend?
K: Wow, straightforward man! (Laughs). Ah, no, no, no. No love life.

Q: You don’t have a boyfriend, right? So, where do you get the creative impulse to write songs?
K: Well, I get inspired with, of course, the fans. And then -- well, what else, inspirations? -- well, as a Christian kasi, parang I think mostly talaga, I get inspired by my faith, my spiritual life. I believe that what we’re doing has a purpose, that’s what keeps me going.

Q: How about your musical influences?
K: Musical influences. It would be my Mom because she’s a classical pianist. I grew up singing for her all the time.

Q: You started off as a member of a band?
K: Yes, professionally, but ever since I can remember, I’ve been singing na.

Q: You mentioned earlier that you were in a band before and you left that band, Mojofly, in favor of your studies. Now that you’re back in the music scene, why did you choose to go solo?
K: Why? The reason why I left that band is because it’s so... well, it’s really a logistical nightmare because we work around four members. And then, we work around our schedules. For this band, since I’ve gone solo, uhmm.. we work around my school schedule. So that’s the difference. But I can’t say it’s easier because in a way, I almost do everything like musical direction and all that. I can’t say it’s also harder because it’s easier because at least now, parang there’s an understanding na, okay, we’re gonna work around my school schedule whether we like it or not. It has to be my priority.

Q: How often do you perform?
K: Now, four times a week. But there was a time na almost everyday. Now we’re reaching the end of our promotion of our album, so medyo, kumunti na siya.

Q: Have you gone overseas with your concerts?
K: We went to Japan and Canada.

Q: Well received?
K: Yes, yes, yes! They were very nice. Two great gigs. Unforgettable gigs.

Q: How do you handle your popularity nationwide and how has that changed your life?
K: It’s ano eh, it’s life changing. We grow up and then yung ano...ang interest mo... changes. Kasi before, I have this tendency to go out everywhere. I go to Palawan alone and then... But now, ‘yun nga lang I can’t do that anymore. I think ‘yun ‘yung pinakamahirap for me to let go. That freedom to go anywhere I want. Because in Manila like from my house to my school, I used to commute. Now I can’t.

Q: Where did you study?
K: I studied in De La Salle.

Q: You have a double degree in Psychology and Education. Do you have any plan to pursue a career in Psychology or Education in the future?
K: Some people think kasi that it’s a fall back. But actually, for me, no eh. Parang it conspires with what I do now. It helps me with my writing and because it’s education also. It’s about relationships also and you know with people. And it’s also my taking up Psychology as well. Parang nagco-conspire talaga siya not only with my writing and also my relationship with...'yun nga – people.

Q: You’re very popular in the music scene, a lot of people have you as their inspiration, how about you? Do you have a role model or someone you look up to?
K: I look up to a lot of people in my church. Our pastors and our pastors’ wives. (Laughs). Ayun, I’m pretty much...well, I make it a point kas, that there’s also a conscious effort na to make Jesus my role model.

Q: First time in dumaguete?
K: First time in dumaguete.

Q: One last question: how do you find Dumaguete?
K: well, you guys have good food. (Laughs).

Q: Thank you very much.
K: Welcome.

Yes, this interview is in keeping with the trend this week for blogging the unexpected. First, National Geographic-type shots of reproduction in the insect world. Now Kitchie Nadal. What can I say? I have many talents.

Lorraine, Marianne, and Drig are MassCom students of Silliman University.