Yeng Constantino has come a long way—music and style-wise—since bursting onto the scene in 2006. Watching her perform during her recent album launch, it’s quite hard to imagine that this sleek, red-haired performer onstage used to be the dowdy young lass inside the “Pinoy Dream Academy” house.
While her music retained the pop-rock vibe of her past work, Yeng’s new songs “B.A.B.A.Y.,” “’Di Pa Huli,” “Hahanapin Kita,” “Josephine” and “Sandata” sound noticeably funkier with trippy synths and touches of electronica.
New 10-track record
These are just five of the nine songs Yeng composed for her new 10-track record aptly titled “Metamorphosis” (Star Records).
After six years in the industry, Yeng said it’s about time she explored new things. And while admittedly daunted by experimenting with her music, the singer-songwriter acknowledged that there’s no other way for her to move forward than step into the unknown.
“I took it as a challenge and as an adventure. I really wanted to impart something new to the listeners and not do the same things over and over again,” she told the Inquirer. “I’m really excited. I believe that if the artist is excited, the fans will feel the same way.”
Yeng related that her reinvention of sorts was inspired by pop icon Madonna and rocker friend Raimund Marasigan, who also produced her album. “Madonna changes her image with every album she releases. I also admire Kuya Raimund, who isn’t afraid to go out of the box and come up with new sounds,” she said.
She continued: “I don’t want to limit myself. I’ll go where my music takes me.”
The 24-year-old musician is still uncertain on how to describe her new sound. Anyway, it’s more about enjoying the music than defining it, she pointed out.
More than the technical side of making music, Yeng said the most important piece of advice given to her by Raimund, who she considers her mentor and biggest music influence, “is being true to yourself.”
“I used to think that my compositions were corny, so I was really embarrassed to show them to him,” she related. “But Kuya Raimund would push me and say, ‘Mas corny ’yung nagpapanggap (Being pretentious is more corny).’ As long as you’re sincere with what you do, just go for it.”
Yeng also found out that everything doesn’t have to be perfect when it comes to recording songs. All the vocals in her new album, she said, were recorded in one go so the songs won’t sound “too manufactured.”
“I freaked out because I wasn’t used to it. But Kuya Raimund said he wanted the raw emotions to pierce through. And listening to the album, I think I’ll have to agree!” Yeng said.
Aside from Raimund, another musician who helped a lot in her songwriting was famed composer Vehnee Saturno. Since she wasn’t formally trained in guitar, Yeng admitted that her knowledge of chord progressions was limited, which, in turn, hampered her range in songwriting.
“Sir Vehnee told me to try creating songs without the guitar; just let the melodies fly. It worked for me,” she said.
Living the dream
As a child, all Yeng ever wanted was to perform onstage. And now she’s living the dream. “I record albums, I do s hows and I’m able to talk with legends of Filipino music as if they were my friends. It’s an amazing feeling,” she said.
And while her singing career made her financially stable, Yeng stressed that no amount of money can match the feeling of seeing people sing her songs back to her. “I love sharing my music. And it makes me want to cry when I see people relate to my music,” she said.
Asked what other things she wants to pursue in the future, Yeng said: “I want to learn how to dance hip-hop. I also want to try theater someday. But right now, honestly, there’s nothing more I can ask for.”