Bea Lorenzo and Benjamin Kheng’s takeaways from PH-Singapore music collab ‘Good for a Time’
While working on their pop ballad “Good for a Time,” music artists Bea Lorenzo and Benjamin Kheng realized that they share more similarities than they have differences, despite growing up in the Philippines and Singapore, respectively.
“I feel like we do have a lot of similarities when it comes to music or humor. During our collaboration we would talk about, ‘Oh, this is how we do things here in the Philippines.’ Or perhaps it has something to do with us being musicians,” Bea said in a virtual conference arranged by Sony Music Philippines.
Meanwhile, the more Benjamin got to know Bea, the more he learned about the Filipino music scene as well. And with it, came a deeper appreciation for the way Filipinos celebrate their music.
“Going the artistic route is quite rare in our country, because it’s perceived differently. From what I know now about Filipino culture, you celebrate it more and hold on to your heritage and art forms. And it’s something we can be inspired by. We’re a young country, so there are lots of things to learn about heritage, respecting tradition, or creating,” he said. “That’s why it’s nice to see how it’s done over there and feel the love or energy when you guys talk about music. When Bea tells me about her favorite piece of work from her country, I’m like, I wish more Singaporeans spoke that way [about music]. There’s a lot of things I took away [from the collaboration]. We’re similar and different in many ways.”
“Good for a Time” was written by Benjamin with fellow Singaporean singer-songwriter Linying. It was presented to Bea, who then provided her input that helped shape the song’s breezy melody that mixes acoustic instruments and electronic beats.
While the duet revolves around a breakup, it doesn’t wallow in pain or heartbreak. Instead, the song—which unfolds like a casual conversation—looks back at what happened with a clearer set of eyes: The relationship may have already ended, but its joyful moments are still worth cherishing.
Bea is a performing artist whose songwriting is driven by her love for storytelling, stage theatrics and minimalist arrangements. Known for her proficient use of the kalimba and her free spirit, Bea released her first single, “Ili (Hush),” in 2018. She then came out with the singles “Imaginary Love,” “With a Smile” and “Kapalaran.”
Benjamin was the former lead singer of the pop group The Sam Willows. In 2019, he pursued a solo career, releasing such well-received singles as “Wicked,” “Find Me” and “Lovers Forever.” Benjamin’s repertoire extends beyond music. He’s also a theater actor and is the brainchild of the Singaporean online comedy sketch series “The BenZi Project.”
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us more about “Good for a Time.”
Bea: When I first heard the song, I knew I wanted to work on it. There aren’t a lot of breakup songs that angle it in such a way; that a breakup doesn’t always have to be destructive. It’s being able to look at it from that perspective; that a person may be meant for you for only a specific point in time. It’s a closed chapter you can be thankful for.
Benjamin: It’s more about celebrating the relationship for what it was. It’s about learning to deal with goodbyes in a healthy way. Everyone has a breakup story and everyone remembers exactly how it felt. These moments are such big memories in our lives.
What do you think about Bea and her artistry?
Benjamin: I’ve been a big fan of Bea for a long time. When we were looking for a person to do the song with, we wanted her to be the female voice of the song. There’s so much richness in her tone. The way she expresses herself makes the song feel like home and lived-in. She was involved in so much of what we did for this project. And her spirit and how much she cares for the littlest things was inspiring.
Was it easier for you guys to work on it remotely?
Benjamin: Being in a room with someone and hearing them will get you a better feel of the nuances. But what we did was we took turns recording, then we would jump over and record on each other’s beat. And then you send the recordings back. It worked out well.
I saw that you gave each other a virtual tour of your hometowns.
Bea: I feel like it’s very personal to share with each other our favorite eating spots, our favorite ways to perform and hideouts. It gave us another reason to get to know each other.
Benjamin: Back then, when you collaborate with other artists, you get to fly over or they fly in, and you’d host them for a day or two. You eat together and show them around. The [online tour] was our way of doing that amid the pandemic. It’s like, “Hey, let’s still try to be social and get to know each other for a bit!”
Have you started doing live shows?
Benjamin: It’s still nerve-wracking. I hadn’t done a show in so long. But a few months ago, I had to do a half-hour set and I was exhausted. I couldn’t believe we used to do this for hours. It’s like we need to rebuild our muscles again. But It’s great and you’re like, ‘Wow, people are here!’ I’m so glad it’s happening and I’m dreaming about the day when we can do something together.
What are you working on at the moment?
Bea: I have been exploring songwriting more and I can’t wait to share them with you. I still consider myself a new artist and I feel like the whole momentum of recording and releasing is something I haven’t caught on. So I feel very excited to jump-start that. I’m also preparing for live gigs again. I feel like I have to get ready for when the world opens up for live shows again. INQ