Despite what people say about the benefits of positivity, I’ve always believed that motivation and creativity come from a dark place. Stress, anxiety, and depression are what I think that mostly feeds creativity. That sentiment was validated by one of today’s most talented and up-and-coming artists, Paul Ramirez.
The past few months were not an easy feat for Paul. Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to struggle with his studies and the death of a loved one. However, all that didn’t stop him from making art–art that’s bold, surprising, and splendid.
As a vlogger himself, Paul has focused on making Davao Conyo comedy videos. And to his fan’s delight, he made his latest offering, “BAI,” in the Davao Conyo language evolution. Check out the music video below:
After participating in Awitenista and making it to the Grand Finals, Paul has stretched his musical influences farther than OPM Pop in “BAI.” But aside from producing and recording his music, he also put his video and production aesthetics into use. During the quarantine, he has put together a lot of parody videos and commentary. Most of all, he was able to produce, direct, and star in BAI’s music video by himself.
I’ve caught up with Paul via Messenger to talk about his productive quarantine, his song “Bai,” and writing in Davao Conyo.
You’ve been quite productive during the quarantine. Where do you get all that motivation?
Paul Ramirez: School ate up my time before all of these quaranthings. This pandemic made it almost like a nightmare for all of us, and it was a hard time for me. From the acads to my anxiety attacks and overthinking, and my unfinished businesses, I almost couldn’t cope.
After all these came the most unfortunate event. My dad passed away. I’ve been through a lot before, but I remained silent until I learned to let go of all the pain. I started to accept the reality that’s in front of me. I learned to work with it.
One of my regrets in life is not starting earlier and my dad could’ve witnessed my new endeavors. But I believe that he’s watching from heaven. That belief motivates me. More than anything, the root of my motivation now is my mother because I want to make her proud. I want to strive hard para maasahan niya ako (so that she can rely on me).
I know it’s gonna to be a long journey, but God is with me. I know success is gonna come anytime soon. That’s the reason why I’m not letting anything stop me–even this pandemic. I want to share good vibes and eargasm no matter what happens!
Your music has evolved. How did you get into the contemporary pop or synth-pop genre?
Paul Ramirez: Whether we like it or not, people will only care about the outcome of our hard work, not the process. I wanted my sound to match my personality and aesthetics. I wanted it to be something that I can pull off because it is naturally me.
Pop music is one of the most flexible genres I know, and I’ve been so into it since then. I think what evolved is my delivery and bravery in creating music.
Let’s talk about BAI and Davao Conyo now.
What’s the story behind “BAI?”
Paul Ramirez: BAI is actually an old piece of mine. I created it when I was 19 (2019). It has cool lyrics and melody (no rap at that time), but it kinda’ felt outdated. In March of this year, I heard it again on my phone’s voice memo. I was amazed that I wrote something like it. That’s why I worked it out and gave it a groovy vibe. Last May, I finally decided to make it my first single out of the four songs I have prepared for this year.
What’s the message you want to relay when you wrote ” BAI?”
Paul Ramirez: There has been a lot of criticisms and misunderstandings about speaking in Davao Conyo. But it is a language that’s a result of acculturation. We need to understand that some people speak this language to be able to communicate properly.
We all have different experiences, and we all come from different places. They affect the language and diction we speak. That’s the reason why we should give respect to Conyo as much as we respect Bisaya, Tagalog, Ilonggo, and more. It doesn’t affect the fact that we are all Filipinos.
Why did you make BAI a Davao Conyo song?
Paul Ramirez: We see memes and funny videos about Davao Conyo, but there are only a few songs about it. It would be a great idea to create a song that could empower everyone who speaks Conyo. That’s my main purpose for this song.
Fun fact: I asked “Davao Conyo” (the vlogger) to sing the rap part because he was a perfect fit for the concept. Unfortunately, he refused because he was unsure of his singing skills, so I asked Mykee Mae. She agreed, but she was not in Davao. I finally decided to make it a solo. Hopefully, I can get to work with these people in my future projects.
Will you be writing mostly in Davao Conyo now?
Paul Ramirez: Maybe. Haha, but as what I’ve said in this song, “Bisaya man, Tagalog, o pinag-halo-halo, it doesn’t matter.” Thr thought reflects in the songs I have prepared. Most of them are in Tagalog, and some are English and Conyo. Pero sana di parin pagdadamutan ng respeto at atensyon ang music ko (But I hope that people would still give my song respect and attention) no matter what language it is in.
You are such a gamechanger. Do you think Davao Conyo will be more widely accepted in the future?
Paul Ramirez: I think that it is widely appreciated by a lot of people who can relate, but our target here are people who think it is unacceptable. They need to be educated through this song. But I know Davao Conyo will be more accepted in the future.
Please tell us about making the music video.
Paul Ramirez: I wanted to create a music video that will make me feel that I only spent little for it to be a success. The music video was made up of ironic scenes–opposite of the song’s lyrics. I did it to be able to portray and exaggerate how others see people who are speaking in Conyo.
How hard is producing and making your music and music video? Any tips for anyone who wants to do the same?
Paul Ramirez: The music video was challenging but fun to make. I did it all alone, with the help of my mother and my young niece. I set up the Backdrop and camera before doing my makeup and outfit. When I was ready, I asked my niece to take a look and press record. And say, action!
All I can say is that before getting out there to spend a significant amount of money to shoot your music video, think again. Sometimes all you need is help from friends and trust in your creativity. It all depends on you! But if you have the budget, then go with it. There are no rules in making a music video.
What’s next for you? What do we need to look forward to in your music?
Paul Ramirez: You can expect a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Sometimes, I will make you dance; Sometimes, I will make you cry. I may make you chill, or make you realize something. I am still working on my album. I will offer deep love songs and more dance-pop songs soon! I hope people will support me and our music scene here in Davao. Let’s take it to the national level.
All images are by Paul Ramirez. This interview was edited structure-wise for length and conciseness.
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