Thursday, April 25, 2024

HappeningPH OPM Spotlight! Nicole Laurel Asensio and Gabe Dandan Launch New Single “What Is It All About?” on Feb 29

HappeningPH OPM Spotlight! Nicole Laurel Asensio and Gabe Dandan Launch New Single “What Is It All About?” on Feb 29

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“What Is It All About?”—the new stripped-down, heartfelt single from multi-awarded multi-genre performing artist Nicole Laurel Asensio and producer Gabe Dandan—will be available on all listening platforms on Feb 23, 2024, under Warner Music Philippines, with an intimate launch party on Feb 29, 2024.

A song different from all others by Nicole and Gabe

“What Is It All About?” was written last February on a windswept afternoon in the centuries-old Paco Park.

“Nicole and I took an afternoon off and strolled through Paco Park last February. We began jamming as the sun began to sink,” recalls Gabe.

“It was an intriguing process to write a song comprised almost entirely of questions, whilst simultaneously unfurling each chord and lyric on the spot. It was almost like unfolding a piece of paper to reveal a hidden pattern,” Nicole explains.

“Unlike our other songs, this one doesn’t play out like verse, chorus, verse, chorus, but rather, it has several verses leading up to a bridge before falling silent and reverting back to questions that disperse into an array of vocal patterns,” she continues.

Thus, “What Is It All About?” is unique both in process and structure.

“A borrowed acoustic guitar and a hazy phone recording riddled with the ambient noises of water fountains and birds was the only reference we had of that afternoon,” muses Nicole.

“It was only around one year later that we decided to revisit the Paco Park phone recording. The notion behind the recording was to keep the rawness of the song as close as possible to its original form in the phone recording,” Nicole elaborates.

“This song is more intimate than our previous ones, it almost whispers; and the arrangement has intricacies but is still palpable and simple enough for listeners to digest,” Gabe adds.

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The instruments were recorded live in one take in Southbay Studios with Jacques Dufourt on drums and percussion, Bergan Nunez on bass, and Gabe Dandan on nylon guitar.

“Right as we were about to track the song, Gabe was strumming some chords and then told me, ‘Write lyrics over this intro please.’ I was caught off guard,” Nicole remembers the surprise.

This was totally unexpected.

“I sat quietly outside the studio, and the only lyrics that could come to me over the intro were in Tagalog. I was hesitant to voice them over the track, but in the spirit of keeping things raw, what you will hear on the track is the result of the last minute prompt from Gabe,” Nicole reminisces, the moment coming back to her in trickles.

The instruments were tracked by Mikel Miller who was also the recording engineer for the “Matter Over Mind” EP.

“After minutes of holding our breaths, the silence in the room was broken by the jubilation from me and the guys when we captured the full song in one take,” Nicole’s face lit up overjoyed, as if in a Eureka moment.

“I then took the tracks to Wildgrass Studios to track a clean vocal. Gabe mixed the tracks from his home studio and then we sent it to Abbey Road Studios, UK where Alex Gordon mastered the track,” Nicole narrates.

This is about asking questions to see life better

“What It It All About?” hopes to encapsulate an honest and intimate conversation between lovers trying to figure out the complexities in their relationship. Through questions they reveal their fears and wonder if it will all work out as the years go by and as they get old and gray,” Nicole starts talking about the song.

“Love isn’t easy, but genuine love is much, much stronger than fear.”

“What Is It All About?” is a modern classic tune drizzled with jazz, bossa nova, and folk influences. Co-written with producer Gabe Dandan, Nicole bares her heart and naked, raw vocal on a refreshingly sparse arrangement.

The lyrics slowly trickle in with incessant questions about love and what it is all about. The questions in each verse range from playful curiosity to pondering through pools of fear and confusion.

Similarly, the musical arrangement begins with a bare nylon guitar and vocal and builds into ripples of vocal rounds. Beneath the lively exchanges between vocal and guitar the “seabed” of instruments is held together steadily by fretless bass-lines and steel-brushed drums. The song is quiet and calm, timeless, raw and honest.

The track will be available on all digital platforms on February 23, 2024, under Warner Music Philippines.

Following the launch, Nicole will also be appearing on the WISH 107 bus on February 27 and having a launch party on Leap Day, February 29, 2023.

Two one-hour performances (at P400 each) are to be staged on February 29 at 8:30 and 10:30pm in the beautiful 78-45-33 Salcedo, an intimate acoustic haven that provides a home for performances in their most authentic nature, no PA system, no amplification, no effects, just all-natural sound and vocals, replicating the essence of how the songs were written at first hum and strum.

Reservations for the launch party:

0917-597-6661 (78 Salcedo)

Song Credits

Lyrics: Nicole Laurel Asensio

Music: Nicole Laurel Asensio/ Gabe Dandan

Musical Director: Gabe Dandan

Drums: Jacques Rivas Dufourt

Bass: Bergan Nunez

Guitar: Gabe Dandan

Vocal Arrangement: Gabe Dandan/ Nicole Laurel Asensio

Backup Vocals: Gabe Dandan/ Nicole Laurel Asensio

Vocals: Nicole Laurel Asensio

Tracking Engineers: Mikel Miller/ Jess Fermino

Mixing Engineer: Gabe Dandan

Mastering Engineer: Alex Gordon

Executive Producer: Nicole Laurel Asensio

Distributed by: Warner Music Philippines