Don’t leave it on Paólo Melendez’s lips
On our quest to look for a song with a serotonin-boost vibe and one that you could blast in your small bedroom and sing your hearts out to; we chanced upon Paólo Melendez’s newest single “Don’t Leave It On Your Lips”. And much to our delight, he’s a Mindanaoan musician from Davao City.
The song has gotten us hooked on its first listen, to be honest. Safe to say that we might have started stanning him from there on as we not only played the song on repeat but we have also taken the chance to search him on all his socials just to check out some of his stuff. And guess what? This guy has been putting out bop after bop after bop for months already.
It’s about time we stop sleeping on our local artists. Now more than ever, they need our support. No worries, it’s not yet late to give Paólo’s songs a listen and stream them all night long.
Before embracing the musician status, Paólo admitted that he became a writer first. As he beautifully puts it, “I have been a lover of words way before I found my voice.” He performed in several musical productions and joined It’s Showtime’s “Tawag ng Tanghalan” a few years back. He also had an appearance in KZ Tandingan’s debut film “Art of Ligaw” and in her music video “Quicksand”.
Prior to his new image as Paólo Melendez, during his stint in Tawag ng Tanghalan, he had released an EP called “Lulubog, Lilitaw” under his then pseudonym Glenn Paul. The EP is consist of three tracks heavily influenced by 80’s or 90’s synth-pop sound. The same EP that has gotten us stanning this guy even harder.
“I released the “Lulubog, Lilitaw” EP with no clear purpose in mind. I was taking a gap year post-college and looking back, those were pretty pop songs and they were just that— pretty. I feel like the music I make now as Paólo is much more authentic compared to the music Glenn Paul made,” Paólo shared on his thoughts about his first-released EP. He continued “Before, Paolo without the hyphen (lol) is the name only my nearest and dearest would call me. Glenn was the me in school or later, at work. When I decided to release “Skin” as Paólo, I knew I was being real this time.”
Paólo expressed that Glenn Paul was “a lover boy hiding behind the music.“ For him, “By becoming Paólo, I was letting the outer world in and vice versa.”
The Middle Mag PH never missed the chance to sit down with Paólo Melendez and talked about his future plans which involves a new EP on the way, his musical heroes or inspirations, his newest single “Don’t Leave It On Your Lips” and more.
Who are your musical inspirations? How do these artists influence your sound (80’s or 90’s synth-pop)?
I am greatly inspired by 80’s pop and new wave mainly because I grew up listening to my dad’s U2 and Spandau Ballet cassette tapes. The unabashed emotion of songs from that decade really resonated with me. Toto’s “Africa” has this epic, lung-bursting chorus with the singer proclaiming he “would fight a hundred men or more” for his lover. It doesn’t get cheesier than that, but it’s a total bop. It’s a commitment to the genre saying, “This is a pop song!” and “This is emotion!”
Speaking of emotion, Carly Rae Jepsen’s album is my current beacon of light for my new musical direction. Other contemporary artist like The Killers with their glam rock, M83, Devonté Hynes and Chvrches with their glittering synthesizers, Jack Antonoff with his 80s flair, Lana Del Rey and Lorde with their moody and melancholy lyrics on love and loss have all greatly influenced me as an artist.
Can you tell us a little back story about the writing process for your latest single “Don’t Leave It On Your Lips”? It’s such a banger! What inspired you to write the song?
I GOT GHOSTED LOL. Coming from “Skin” and “You’ll Never Know”, it was a conscious decision to deviate from the sad-boy-with-the-piano narrative. I wanted to have fun and be fun again, given how alone I felt because of quarantine. No more yearning. It’s their loss, not mine. A good friend told me it takes two people to build a bridge. I had laid all my cards on the table, so my half was built and standing. If you want me, let me know. But if you don’t, I’ll be at a disco party!
This song was my first attempt producing my own music, so it was very trial and error. Good thing I met the amazingly talented Kent Salera and through online exchanges, we made this crying-on-the-dancefloor track.
One of our faves is “You’ll Never Know”. Could you give us a little back story behind the inspiration in writing that song?
This was the first good song I wrote back when I was just starting to write. It came from a place of pain and memory. I had just had my first real adult heart break and my chest felt like it was ripped open, with all the things left unsaid pouring out into this song. My feelings had nowhere to go so I sat down at my piano one cold, December night and here we are now. I ended up submitting it to the recent Mindanao Popular (MinPop) Music Festival and it made it to the Top 30 along with an unreleased song “Searching For You”.
What’s keeping you busy during the pandemic?
I have my job, which is in Gensan, where I currently am as we speak. I split my time between here and Davao, making music on the side. My mornings are for work and at night I often go back and forth with collaborators or videocall my sisters. Currently, producer Kent and I are settling on the final mix for my new single. I’m also in constant communication with other artists for my single art and a possible music video. In my free time I either read or cook or attempt to navigate the world of online flirtations.
Are we expecting a follow-up EP or an album from you in the future after “Lulubog, Lilitaw”? What are your future plans?
Originally, I had hoped to push through with a piano-driven EP, but my synth-pop muse just would not let me go. Consider “Don’t Leave It On Your Lips” as a prologue to a quarantine trilogy that I would like to call “Reformed Romantic” kay duh dili na ta hopeless oy, nag-learn na ta sa past! It starts with my upcoming single, “Come Alive” which is about something I’m sure many can relate to: that moment an online conversation transcends into something deeper than you expected and you find yourself contemplating the possibility of two lost souls converging in the loneliest place known to man - the Internet.
How is it like to be a rising independent artist in the local music scene?
I don’t really see myself as rising, to be honest. I’m just a guy with a day job who struggles to make music on the side. Hearing “Skin” on the radio as part of Magic’s summer line-up was surreal, though! Also, whenever friends or friends of friends come up to me saying they like my song or a certain lyric, it really makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Recently, an IG mutual used a line from “Don’t Leave It...” to caption his post and I responded with a string of crying emojis.
Do you have a message for those who want to become musicians just like you?
I’m quoting Ethan Hawke from his TedTalk on creativity. He closed it by saying, “Find what you love and follow it. There is no path.” And that is true to me. I love writing and I love music and I’m just grateful I have this medium of expression. Oftentimes, I find myself thinking “Will people like this?” before putting something out, but I always go back to addressing myself first, “Do I like this? Does this feel good to me? Does it feel right?” and if I answer yes to all three, then it is love and I shall follow it. So in creating anything, the one thing you should be sure of is authenticity. That’s a surefire way to know it’s coming from a place of love.
Any local artists that you would want to collaborate in the future. Why?
Agghhh! So many, actually! I once hosted Awitenista, the original music competition in AdDU, and ever since I’ve been a fan of Pao Lofranco, who also produces such great beats. There’s also this cool group of kids, 3 AM, that could give The 1975 a run for their money and I honestly wish I was as cool as them. Also, since I think of her as like a label mate given na Kent produces for both of us, I’d love to work with Cosmoselle. Her music is heartbreakingly good. And Cerisé, too! I live for the funk and I’d love to be a funky boy somedy.
What’s that mantra of yours that helps you to keep going?
Have courage and be kind.
Stream and support your local artist.
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