Check our interview with global pop star power-singer, songwriter, & actor Iñigo Pascual, best known across Asia as the twenty-something heartthrob with a voice like Justin Bieber, a babyface like Shawn Mendes, and BTS level star. Now he’s headed towards his debut solo American album launch titled “Options” out in September 2019.
His last single “Dahil Sa’yo” blew up music hit charts and broke records on YouTube, with the lyric video alone amassing 90M streams; despite Iñigo being a relatively new music talent. Apart from being a chart topper “Dahil Sa’yo,” also took home numerous awards in 2017 such as Billboard Philippines’ First Chart Topper Artist, Alta Media Icon Awards’ Song of the Year, and the 30th Awit Awards’ Song of the Year. Iñigo currently has a quarter of a million monthly subscribers on Spotify and almost half a million on Apple- these numbers not including Asian social media and streaming platforms. He has also amassed a significant following within his social media presence, boasting a total of 6 million across all platforms. Iñigo will also have a film out later this year, following his acting debut in the overseas blockbuster “Crazy Beautiful You.” In 2018, he was asked to do The Disney Channel’s official cover of the popular Disney song “Remember Me,” garnering the attention of US media and talent reps. More than just a pretty face, this quadruple threat has fans worldwide, with audiences recognizing him from the popular music performance show ASAP TV (similar to The Voice), and has toured extensively across Australia, Japan, the States performing alongside other global talent.
What’s up Naluda this is, Inigo. I am 21 years old and I’m a singer, songwriter from the Philippines.
Describe yourself in three words?
I am adventurous, hardworking and thankful.
How did it all start for you?
A little background here, I was born in the Philippines bu tI moved to the states when I was eight, and I moved back to the Philippines when I was seventeen years old to pursue a career in acting and music. After spending some time in the Philippines appearing in various movies, TV shows and recording music, I’m now here in the states crossing over to release my new album, Options, that includes some music that was written and produced here.
My dad is a singer, performer and actor in the Philippines and growing up, I was just always confused about what he was doing for a living. I was always questioning, why does he have to do this? Why does he have to be so far away? Why do people take pictures with him? Why is he on stage? Why do people go crazy over him and I felt like this whole thought of being an artist too was always in me. I always felt like I wanted to be like my Dad, but growing up, my parents just were against the idea of doing it. My parents knew how hard it is to be a celebrity without privacy, like you wouldn’t have a normal life, you won’t have a private life. As much as possible, they always tried to keep me away from the limelight, to the point that they decided to take me to the United States and a study out here. The reason for that was because they wanted me to have a normal childhood and I wouldn’t be bullied like I was in the Philippines. People here in the states also wouldn’t harass me as they sometimes did there.
Growing up I always had people asking me stuff like, “Are you really the son of this guy? Is it true that he is your dad???” They brought up other issues that as a kid I just didn’t understand how the world worked, how the whole show business world worked. In hindsight I see that them bringing me to the states was a big blessing. I didn’t understand it at the time that it happened, but now it all makes sense. I definitely could say that all these things kind of helped me prepare for what we’re doing at the moment. I’ve learned a lot through the years and I am currently still learning a lot. Right now, I’m focusing on getting my music out there. I’ve always been passionate about my music and the content that I’m creating. I’ve been given the opportunity to be able to share that with all these people and that’s what we’re doing on platforms like Naluda.
What is your musical background?
My musical background ranges from all kinds of genres. I’m Filipino and as Filipinos, we all love music. I’ve always been around music all my life. I play instruments like guitar, piano and ukulele. I love different genres of music from R&B to Kpop to OPM. I’d say at the moment I describe my music to be Pop/R&B.
What kind of music do you listen to?
It really depends on my mood, I listen to all kinds of music. When I want to be sad and sentimental, I listen to a lot of Daniel Caesar, a lot of H.E.R., all that kind of emotional songs that just gets me in the mood. But when I want to listen to like happy songs, like upbeat songs, I listen to a lot of Chris Brown, a lot of Bazzi and the new pop songs. I love searching on YouTube and Spotify, listening to a lot of new artists. I love finding out about new artists up and coming artists and I love just hearing new music. Some of my current favorite artists are Billie Eilish, Khalid and Ruel from Australia.
Inigo Pascual - Dahil Sa'yo (Lyrics)
Tell us about your single “Options?”
Options is the very first single off of my album and this is a fun summer track that with heavy dance vibes. The song talks about that moment when you find that someone that lets you forget about all the other options that you have in life, and just prioritizing the one right person.
Tell us about your other singles Catching Feelings & Neverland.
The title Options is the carrier title for the album, these other songs that I have on the album describes all the other options that you have in life.
Catching Feelings is that moment in life wherein you don’t want to fall in love anymore, like you’ve been hurt and think you are done with falling in love, and don’t like the thought of falling in love again, but then again, here you are again, still Catching Feelings. Neverland is about a love that you are so into, but you just know that this is not the right thing for you at the moment. It’s about a place that you wish you could suspend your feelings and time in. Each song on this album has a theme of various Options that we have to decide on in life and love, these tracks describe these different moments.
Tell us about Dahil Sa’Yo, your first single that you wrote that was at the top of the Billboard charts for over 3 months.
Dahil Sa’yo in Tagalog translates to Because Of You in English. It was my first ever single that was released in the Philippines and this is an original track that wrote when I was creating my first album. It talks about being thankful for all those things that was happening around me. If you translate the lyrics, it says that “I’m thankful because you’re here, because of you I’m able to do this, because of you I am who I am and I think you for that.” This song became the anthem of my life and took on a whole new meaning when I met someone who had leukemia that said what the song meant to her. Since then, I want to share this along to everybody to make them feel gratitude no matter what situation they are in. It definitely opened a lot of doors for me and I just never thought I’d be able to even be here, doing what I love, because of the success fo that song. Everything from that moment led me to where we’re at the moment.
What can we see next?
I can’t wait to perform this album live and I’ll be be doing a lot of tours around the world from London to Toronto to LA. I’ll be visiting a lot of cities and doing a lot of radio tours promoting my new single and music video for Options first, coming out on the 28th of June.
What musical influences do you have?
There are a lot of new artists that influence me in terms of challenging my style in music. There Billie Eilish, Chris Brown, there’s Bazzi. Honestly, I just love seeing new music from different cultures and different countries. I also love K-pop. I listened to a lot of BTS, Black Pink, Got 7, and a lot of these other K-Pop groups. It’s kind of pushes me to kind of think outside the box. We all know K-Pop music videos are kind of bizarre and really crazy, I like that they focus on high quality production and I feel like as an artist that kind of challenges me on what else we could do in the industry.
Describe your sound in two words.
Expressive and vibes.
What is your next goal as a musician?
My next goal as a musician is to be able to collaborate with my dream collaborations like Billie Eilish, Khalid or Ruel. I always want to collaborate with both new & established artists. I want to be one of those people that leads the Filipino Music Movement, where people outside of our own culture discover our diverse music & talent from across the world. I feel like the Koreans have already done it and opened the doors for more of us. The Latinos are able to do it, this year Spanish opened up the Grammys. But putting racial differences aside, I just want to be able to share what we have in the Philippines, our original music known as OPM.
What is your own definition of happiness?
My own definition of happiness. This is a good question. I was also asked recently, what is your definition of success? So, my definition of success was actually happiness. I feel like happiness is when you don’t question the things that are happening around you. I feel like pure happiness is when you’re full of gratitude. I feel like you’re just living in the moment and not really having any problems and find solutions when they do come. I feel like we always find ourselves pointing out the wrongs in the things that we’re doing. But then again, we have to realize all these things happening around us is pure magic and meant to happen. This is all the fact that, not to go all hippy on you, but we can be grateful for just being able to wake up in the morning and breathe.
I feel like we have to realize that all these things are happening around us is for a reason. I feel like we always take the time to point out the wrongs in the moment, and I feel like we have to realize all the good things happening around more and really acknowledge it. For me, being a kid that was born and grew up in the Philippines and that also grew up in the states, I feel like all these opportunities coming to me bridging the two worlds together, crossing over, it’s crazy. I never thought that I’d be able to do these media or radio appearances, I’d never thought I’d be able to share my music to people around the world. And for me, happiness is when you have no worries and you are trusting the process or “tiwala” in Tagalog or Hakuna Matata, it means “no worries.”
What are five things you can’t live without?
Five things I can’t live without. My family, I cannot live without my family. I literally tour with my mom and she honestly make things a lot easier for me. My music, I cannot live without music. Everything I do was so music driven. Music was apart of my daily routine from homework back when I was in school, to when I work out, I always have music on, and when I sleep I could not sleep without music.
I could not live without my phone, I feel like this is such a cliché thing to say, like I feel like all millennials would always would say, ”I cannot live without my phone!” But having my phone keeps me in constant contact with my supporters or Loveties. I also feel like every generation just has their own way of being rebellious and I feel like in my generation, having a phone is one of those things that take you away from your emotions. If you are sad or mad, you can grab your phone and get on social media or use it to listen to music. I feel like this is my way of expressing myself. I feel like it can be a good and bad thing but I know when to put the phone down and be present talking to people, like dinner time.
I could not live without food. I love food. I’m so food driven. Honestly. I love trying out new food. I feel like now that we’re on tour, I feel like I’m able to try out new food from different countries and different cultures and I always love trying new things. Tasting new foods allows me to experience new cultures. As Filipinos we’re all about food and music, because it brings people together to bond, like people say music is a universal language. I feel like food is also a universal language. Food brings people together to try new things.
I also cannot live without my fans. My supporters, the “Loveties,” they do the craziest things for me. There are times when I arrive at the airport and they’re right there waiting for me and there’s times when I leave the airport and they’re there waiting for me to leave. Sometimes they bring me the best food, they share the best music with me, and they have the best advice. And honestly, sometimes they say the things that I just need to hear at that current moment. As human beings, we need those people around us to keep us grounded and to keep us in the best mental state that we should be in.
Best advice ever given to you?
To live with no worries. I feel like trusting the process or known as “Tiwala” in Tagalog has always been my motto in life. I’m thinking about it. I should get that tattooed on me. It would be a reminder to me that the more you worry about things, the more problematic and the more negative life will be. But!the more that you point out the good things in life and the more you live worry free, the happier you will be. I feel like the more you stop over analyzing, you realize that life isn’t too bad after all.
Do you ever get nervous before performance?
Oh yeah, big time. I feel like not being nervous before a performance is scary. I feel like when you’re too confident already that it’s going to be scary because then I feel like things don’t matter to you anymore if you’re not scared. I feel like having that scary feeling before performing is one of the best parts about performing, because once you get onstage and realize how different it is from what you were thinking, then you just kind of cruise and kind of just, feel good about the whole situation. So much greatness comes from the other side of fear.
What is next for you?
I have plenty of music coming out and we’re going to be touring around the world, we’re going to be going across America and we’re going to be going to Europe, Asia, and hopefully someday go to Africa. Why not? We might go to Africa. I have some fans in South Africa that I’ve connected to online. We’re going to tour the world and I want to go to as many places as possible. I’m going to go to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus, sharing my music with him. Options: The Christmas version.
Any advice for upcoming singers?
Honestly for upcoming singers, like what I said, the more you worry, the more you aren’t able to finish the work that needs to be done so just genuinely be happy with the current state you’re in, even if it seems like things aren’t going the way you wanted it to be. I’ve been through so many situations where I felt like it’s not what I hoped it would be. You got to realize that these things are happening for you, preparing you for the things that you were about to go through. Don’t stress out on the small things, use your focus and use your energy to bring out the best in you and all the things that you’re doing. And honestly just trust the process.
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be working at In and Out! Jokes aside, I would probably be a producer if I wasn’t singing. I would love to be either a producer or a talent manager because I love finding new talent. There are times when I find new talents and I wish I was managing that talent. I love finding new sounds and new flavors with different artists. In the future, I envision myself becoming that artist that turned into a CEO of a talent management company, helping discover and grow the careers of new, talented artists from across the globe.
Something people don’t know about you?
I’m super family oriented, I could do Donald Duck’s voice and I love Japanese food.
What would be the dream holiday and where would you go?
The perfect holiday would bring my family to a really nice beach in Australia. There’s just something about Australia that like, I feel like I’m connected to it and love the sand.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Shout out to Disney. I sang Remember Me for Disney, Asia, a film about interacting with the dead. If I could see someone, it would be my Lola that passed away before I started all of this. Her name was Lola Diche, and she was one of those people that was always very proud of me, always supportive, even if she was sick, she would always try to go to my events. But sadly, she wasn’t able to make it to my first movie. She died right when I was shooting for the movie, with all these things that I’m doing, I still think of her and kind of wished that she was able to see it.
What’s your favorite healthy food?
I don’t eat healthy food, lol jk. I take a lot of vitamins, I try to as much as possible eat healthy and I was a Vegan for a time. I feel like eating the bad stuff also helps you appreciate the health healthy stuff more.
What’s your favorite cheat food then?
Oh gosh, there’s a lot. So, I do love those like these Danger hot dogs they have in the streets here in LA outside of the nightclubs. .
What will be a deal breaker on a first date?
I don’t like it when a girl that is all about herself. I feel like those girls that don’t know how beautiful they are inside and out, is the best. I feel like those girls that they know they’re beautiful and they know that they could just easily drop you, don’t really invest into real conversation with you. A first day deal breaker when someone is literally just all about themselves and don’t really ask you any questions.
What project is still in your bucket list?
I want to work with Bruno Mars.
How do you have a perfect Sunday?
Ice cream & cheeseburgers in the backyard with family.
Do you support any charity?
I do. I’m with World Vision, it is a charity that puts kids to school all around the world. In the future, I want to put up a foundation that helps out kids and adults that have leukemia because my Lola (grandmother) died from that and I had a fan of mine that actually passed away because of leukemia. I visited her and she told me what my song, Dahil Sa’Yo meant to her right before it happened. She will always be apart of my favorite memories.
Any exciting news you want to share with us?
I have an album coming out in America and all around the world! How crazy is that?
What does fashion mean to you?
I feel like fashion to me describes a person in general. I feel like it’s that kind of thing that you know you’re able to express yourself without really seeing anything through fashion. I feel like what you wear says a lot about you as a person. As an artist I feel like I personally would have to be wearing the things that I feel most confident in and feel most comfortable in before I perform on stage, fashion plays a big part of creativity and who I am as a person.
How would you explain your fashion style?
I am honestly super adventurous. I like wearing really fun clothes. I’m very adventurous when it comes to clothing. I try to challenge myself and try to really get out of my comfort zone. I like wearing really loose casual clothing. I don’t like wearing none of the formal stuff, I have to add my own flavor in it.
How important is social media to you?
Very important. I feel like it’s one of those ways that you’re able to really connect and be able to bring people together. I feel like you’re able to do a lot of work and connect with great people through social media. I feel like we should always use it to our advantage and not to really harm or hurt others.
Where can we follow you?
YouTube: @Imanigo Pasqual. I’ll be posting really fun videos with me.
Favorite quote: Tiwala. Trust the process.
Actor & Actress: Favorite actor, Leonardo DiCaprio. Favorite actress, Sandra Bullock.
City: Los Angeles.
Movie: Catch Me if You Can.
Sports team: Warriors
Song: Catching Feelings, a new song I wrote off my new album, Options, featuring and produced by Moophs.
Photo Credit: Andrei Suleik