Behind the Music: Paolo Sandejas’ ‘Purple Afternoon’ EP, Influences, and Aspirations as an Artist

Nov 20, 2020

Guitar sounds and percussive beats boasting touches of neo-soul and indie-pop welcome listeners into Paolo Sandejas’ growing catalog. Whether they’re drawn from real-life experiences or a figment of imagination — or a melding of both — his songs are colored with emotions that speak the language of the tender-aged. Infatuation, break-up blues, that wanting to find solace. All are told with an unmistakable youthful tone. 

Two years into his career, he’s now presenting the essence of his music on a larger scale. After releasing one single after another, he finally unveiled his debut EP, “Purple Afternoon.” And much like the charms of the dawn-to-dark scene, it’s a six-track effort that celebrates youth —  its vibrance, the experience it offers, and the hope that glows amid the collective momentariness of it all. 

In commemoration of this milestone, we spoke with the 6th Wish Music Awards-nominated singer-songwriter and talked about the tracks that made his sound, the process of creating the effort while in quarantine, and his aspirations as an artist. 

Which songs and artists influenced your music?

Wow, that’s a super tough question. To be honest, my style has been evolving over the years because of the way my music taste has changed. 

I would say that the first song that inspired me to learn to play and sing was “Thunder” by Boys Like Girls. I remember being a little 11-year-old kid just blasting this song in my room, searching up the chords on Ultimate Guitar, and just having so much fun trying to sing it. 

From this point, I would get so excited walking into CD stores and looking for cool albums to buy. The first album I got and treasured was The Script’s self-titled album. They were one of my favorite artists in my early teenage years! “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” will always be my favorite song of theirs. 

It was also around this point where my undying admiration for John Mayer began. I firmly believe that he’s one of the greatest of all time. From his killer guitar licks to his powerful and moving lyrics, his songs never fail to amaze me. It may not be one of his more popular songs but “St. Patrick’s Day” makes me feel like crying every time. 

Moving on to more recent influences, Tom Misch is one of my favorite artists currently and his song “Movie” heavily inspired the arrangement of my song “Sorry.” 

On the other hand, Phum Viphurit’s “Hello, Anxiety” has been one of my go-to songs when I wanna get in the mood to write a funky and fun tune. 

Your debut EP, “Purple Afternoon,” is already out. How would you describe your first-ever EP, sound-wise and lyrics-wise? Is there a particular theme that ties the songs together? 

I would say that the songs on this EP are all pretty different. I wrote each of them at a different point in my life. Some were written when I felt happy and optimistic, and others when I was down and heartbroken. Though the songs are pretty different, you can expect a laidback and mellow sound with well-thought lyrics that tell a story. 

How was the process of creating, producing, and writing songs for this EP while quarantined? 

The first few months of quarantine were quite challenging since I was really stuck at home and couldn’t really record in the studio. Despite this, thanks to not having class or football training, I was able to really focus on my songwriting. 

Though it was a challenge, I feel like I’ve learned to draw inspiration for places other than my own experiences, which has been really fun and exciting. Luckily, once the quarantine restrictions loosened up a bit, I was able to finalize all the songs for the EP and even prepare some extra content to get people excited for the launch as well.

For your new projects or tracks, is there a particular genre that you’ve always wanted to explore, or a new sound that you’ve wanted to incorporate into your current style? 

Over the quarantine, I’ve been really getting into a lot of alternative hip-hop thanks to artists like Dominic Fike and Easy Life. Though I can’t really rap, I’ve been trying to incorporate quicker rhythmic vocals in some of my songs to give them a bit more edge. It’s really just been listening to a lot of music and trying to pick out my favorite parts of all these songs with the hopes of adding them to my songwriting tool kit. 

When it comes to your growth as an artist, how important is it to be open to exploring different styles or genres? 

I’d say it’s one of the most important things an artist can do. Though there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a certain genre, it’s important to try and experiment and evolve to avoid having all your songs sounding the same. I feel that once we lose the curiosity to explore new sounds and styles, music becomes bland and monotonous. Being open-minded keeps the process fun and in the end, helps you become a more creative songwriter. 

Now that you have your debut EP, what is your next goal as an artist?

For me, having an EP out is already huge. I would’ve never thought that I’d be where I am today and I’m just thankful for everything music has brought me. If I had to give a goal for my career it would probably be getting to perform in front of a huge crowd. Though it’s not the most realistic dream given our current situation, I’ve just always loved sharing my music and seeing people connect with my songs. 

Music is known for the many benefits it offers, for the creators and listeners alike. If your music can do one thing to the world, what would you want it to be? 

I really just want to comfort people. Through both happy and sad songs, I wanna give people music that can accompany them through the ups and downs of life. Music has always done that for me, and now I just wanna be able to contribute and return the favor.

Stream “Purple Afternoon” here.

Watch his Wishclusive performances below:

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