Filipino Singer Ylona Garcia on Her New Song, 88Rising and Love for Music
Ever since finishing her stint in the Filipino reality show Pinoy Big Brother, Ylona Garcia has been on the rise. The Filipino Australian singer and actress landed her first acting role and was signed by a record label. She’s also amassed a following thanks to her bubbly personality and powerful voice, often compared to Ariana Grande. It’s no surprise she’s an international star in the making.
On her continued superstardom, Garcia has recently signed to Paradise Rising, a label under 88Rising that focuses on Filipino artists. 88 Rising is the label of Asian artists such as Gen T honouree Rich Brian and Asia’s Most Influential Culture List honouree, Jackson Wang. The powerhouse singer released a new single, Don’t Go Changing shortly after arriving in the US to prepare as one of the performers at the upcoming Head in the Clouds festival at the Rose Bowl Stadium.
Ahead of Garcia's performance, Tatler caught up with the songstress to chat about her new song, her music career and her advice to aspiring singers.
You joined the reality show, Pinoy Big Brother in the Philippines. Why did you decide to do so?
Honestly, I didn’t want to go for it because I wanted to focus on finishing my studies. But with the continuous encouragement from my parents, I realised that maybe this could be something that’ll serve as a stepping stone for my ambitions. I went for it and it served me well—lessons learned and on top of that, I finished my studies.
During your time there, you already showcased your talent in singing, did you know that you’d eventually pursue music?
I decided to truly pursue music as a career when I was 16 years old. That might sound as a contradiction when I started my career when I was 13 years old, but I felt as though I had some sort of realisation that this life chose me and presented opportunities that others may have the chance to only dream of, and now I have to make the conscious decision whether to choose it or not.
Looking back, how much do you think you’ve changed and grown as an artist?
With almost six years into this business, I feel I can confidently say that my resolve as an individual has grown but my heart remains the same.
You’ve spent the last year in Australia, briefly went to the Philippines and now in the US. How has that been for you? Have you learned anything new?
I’ve learned that there’s only so much your body can handle. You have to make sure to take a minute and see how your body feels then go from there.
You share a lot with your fans on social media. Do you find it hard that you can’t see them in person in the past two years?
3000% but thanks to zoom and other social apps I’m able to at most, communicate with them.
You also write your own songs. Where do you usually get inspiration?
My life and books.
Who are some of the artists that you look up to?
I admire Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, H.E.R, Kehlani, SZA, Eminem, Taylor Swift, Jlo, Frank Ocean, Doja Cat, Drake and many more that if I were to list them all down it’ll probably reach 300 pages.
You’re one of the artists of Paradise Rising, how’s the experience been so far?
Paradise Rising has been an absolute joy to work with. They’re very supportive and kind.
Your new song, Don’t Go Changing, tell us more about it? What’s the message?
Don’t Go Changing was written by Gina Kushka, Marcus Lomax and Jonas Jerberg. In my personal opinion, Don’t Go Changing serves as a song that can be a reflection of how someone feels about you and how you feel about them. That to me is the reason why I fell in love with the song.
What makes Don’t Go Changing different from the other songs you’ve released?
In my personal opinion, what’s different about Don’t Go Changing is that it’s a song that speaks about truly loving someone and all that may come with it. It represents a love that’ll last forever even if the relationship doesn’t.
What do you do when you get lulls in your creative process?
I sleep it off.
You’re performing at the upcoming Head in the Clouds festival. How are you preparing? What should we be excited about?
Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals! Although I can’t be one to tell people what they should be excited about, I’m for sure excited about being in my element and I hope I can get the crowd to be in their element too.
What kind of songs do you want to write about in the future?
Whatever chapter I’m going through at each moment in time.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to break into the scene?
Let your ambitions, guide your decisions.
Ylona Garcia is performing at the Head in the Clouds music festival on November 6, 2021. For more details, please visit the official website.