Behind the Music: Keiko Necesario on the Songs that Shaped Her Sound, New Album ‘Ready, Let Go’

Sep 23, 2020

There’s something about the rawness in Keiko Necesario’s voice that makes her a compelling storyteller. And with her flair for songwriting — a craft that she’s been doing since she composed her first song back when she was a third-grader — it wouldn’t be hard to substantiate how she’s able to come up with tracks that hit the spot. 

In her pursuit of making and sharing music, she clearly isn’t the type to stay in her comfort zone. From incorporating electronic elements to her typically folk-driven sound to collaborating with producers based somewhere as far as London, Necesario knows how to effectively expand her musical horizons. 

Ahead of the Friday release of her brand-new album “Ready, Let Go,” we caught up with the singing-songwriting powerhouse for the pilot feature of “Behind The Music” — a brand-new article series that rounds up the songs that shaped the sound of the artist on spotlight. Get up close and personal as Necesario talks about the music that made her, the importance of exploring other genres, and more. 

What are the songs that influenced your sound throughout the years? 

“Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell will always be one of the songs that greatly influenced me in my songwriting and in life as well. I just love the sincerity and the rawness of the lyrics and the way the melody goes along with the message of the song — plus as a folk artist just like Joni Mitchell, it really brought growth upon my own sound. 

“In Your Atmosphere” by John Mayer immediately caught my attention from its very first line. That song also influenced my perspectives on songwriting — that being poetic doesn’t have to be too deep to be understood. It could be simple as long as it is authentic and has meaning to you.

One Moment More” by Mindy Smith is a song I heard back in college. This one really shaped my love for folk-country music as well, that I believe convinced me that no matter what experimentations of music that I dive into, the rawness of the acoustic guitar and just my voice will always be the core of my sound.  

“Back in My Body” by Maggie Rogers. This song and this artist both have helped my sounds evolve into what it is now. I remember being in London and listening to it while I was walking, I could already imagine the elements I wanted to explore with in my own music, especially in this new album that I am about to release this September 25, 2020. 

“All Too Well” by Taylor Swift. Songwriting-wise, this song also amazed me with the vision and the message it carries. Taylor Swift as an artist also has a big impact in my musicality.

You are releasing a new album this month. What is the theme of your upcoming album? Which track/s would you consider as your personal favorite/s and why? 

All the songs in my new album are about love in different forms and perspectives. But the entire album’s purpose is anchored in the Bible verse Matthew 5:13-16. I believe this record is supposed to glorify God, His plans, and His amazing works on earth. 

About my favorites, I really can’t tell which one’s my most favorite. This album is so special to me and I am proud that every song is my favorite for different reasons. I love how they all shine uniquely from one another and I hope that’s how people would see or hear from this project, too.

The first single you’ve unveiled off your new album “Right Next To You” is electronic-leaning. This particular sound has also been present in your releases that preceded it. How did this shift in your sound come about? What inspired it?

Back in 2016, I was already writing for my ESCAPE EP. That EP was the transition and I could still remember it. When I was still in the process of that new season, all I could hear in my head was the electronic elements that I could add up to the already colorful songs of mine. And that’s how my music evolved into what it sounds now — especially with the help of my South-African producers, Chasing Fantasia, who are based in London. They brought so much magic and new edge to my music that I’ve only imagined for years.

[READ: ‘Right Next To You’ Shows Keiko Necesario’s Musical and Personal Growth]

As an artist, how vital is it for you to listen to other acts and explore other genres?

Listening to other artists and delving into other genres give you a wider vision in music. So I think and I know that it is one of the most important keys to being a growing musician. You can’t grow inside your comfort zone — you have to open up yourself to all kinds of art to gain more wisdom and learn new things that would support and help your own craft. It takes humility to do all that.

What piece of advice can you give to aspiring singer-songwriters when it comes to finding their own “voice” or “sound”?

As cliche as this sounds, go and keep creating. Go and keep learning. Go and keep dreaming. There’s nothing more important than going through the process while embracing everything that comes with it — the good and the bad. [Along] the way, you’d eventually find more than just your own voice or sound — you’d find PURPOSE.

Check out her Wishclusive performances below:

Keiko Necesario’s latest album “Ready, Let Go” is set for release on September 25, 2020 under Warner Music Philippines. Pre-save the album here.

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