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RJ Manulid on “Di Mapaliwanag”: This was a difficult song to write for different reasons.


RJ Manulid’s poignant Cover Art for his single “Di Mapaliwanag” created by Sabadontt. RJ shared that it took one week for Sabadontt to finish the cover artwork. “When I don’t make the cover art myself, collaborating on the visual art concept for a track is one of my favorite things about telling stories through songs. I’m very happy that our collaboration went flawlessly.”

On “Di Mapaliwanag”, RJ Manulid gets real about the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic.

“After everything that's happened in 2020, I’d be lying to myself if I were to write a cheerful song for the holidays,” RJ told The Middle Mag PH as he shared with us the nitty-gritty songwriting process of his newest single.

True enough, it’s hard to be in a grand celebration mood this 2020 given all that has happened. Even if there are only a few days left before 2020 aka “the worst year” will finally be over, one could still not fathom to just put everything in the back seat and pretend everything is okay when the truth is, we’re far from it. In an interview, RJ shared that this is what somehow inspired him to write and produce his single “Di Mapaliwanag”.

In this song, the singer-songwriter tells us a story about a father who lost his job amidst a health crisis and how to explain his current predicament to his child. Lest we forget, in a report by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there are 3.8 million Filipinos that have been displaced or unemployed as of December 2020 due to COVID-19.

“Di Mapaliwanag is about the challenges we’ve had to face during these times. This track was my way of processing my feelings about this year. I wrote and produced the song myself. Keeping everything in-house (literally? Haha) allows me to be as outside the box as I want to be musically,” he said.

He added that this song was a difficult song to write for different reasons. Citing that he had to put himself on someone else’s shoes to be able to convey the message properly to his listeners.

“First, I challenged myself to write a song from the perspective of a parent trying to explain the situation to their child. Second, to write honest songs, you often have to go to the deepest parts of your feelings and tackle your suppressed emotions head-on.”

According to RJ, “Di Mapaliwanag” will resonate to those who have lost anyone or anything this 2020 alone. He expressed, “Whether it’s the death of loved ones, plans wasted, or silent battles with inner voices that’ve gotten louder during distant isolation, this year has taken so much from us. I hope “Di Mapaliwanag” helps listeners remember that they're not alone.”

You can stream RJ Manulid’s single, “Di Mapaliwanag”, on all major streaming platforms and YouTube Music.

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