Being an independent singer will not be an easy journey but a 20-year-old Palaweña local artist is determined to make her way into the music industry.
Ailene Bautista enjoyed writing songs at the tender age of 13. She began by writing music for school projects and later wrote their batch graduation song in high school. Ailene thought that her writing would only be limited for those purposes not until the quarantine started, which became the deciding point to turn it into a career.
Music is not new to her environment as her siblings also pursued singing through having a band and solo performances.
“Sobrang wala na ako magawa sa quarantine kasi bawal talagang lumabas kaya naisip ko na ituloy ko na lang itong passion na ito, baka sakali. Isinali ako dati sa choir pero hindi naman ako kumakanta, ang paggigitara talaga ang hobby ko, napapakanta ako habang nagigitara,” she said.
In college, she would sneak away some time from her studies to work on songs and fulfill her aim to create her own album.
Ailene started writing some religious songs, later finding interest to write on the themes of relationships and even mental health issues.
In 2020, Ailene released seven songs that are now available on platforms such as Youtube, Youtube Music, and Spotify. As an independent artist, she herself produces songs on her Youtube channel for music and lyric videos. While her music distributor for Spotify is Ditto Music.
She continuously works with her three arrangers for her original songs — Tinee Protacio from Pasay City, Reeve Aquino from Laguna, and Clark Jaranilla from Quezon province.
“Iba-iba rin ‘yong creative process ko pero mas komportable ako na chord progression muna then nanamnamin ng pandinig ko ‘yong chords na ‘yon kung ano ba ang puwedeng ipasok na tono, sasabayan ko ng melody, last ay yong lyrics at content. Minsan yong mga kanta ay naka-depende sa melody,” she said.
Ailene is excited about exploring her music. She admits that she is anxious as she struggles with being an independent artist. She was overwhelmed with the surge of support of netizens on her music since she created her Facebook page named Ai Music and putting her songs on different platforms.
Ailene knew that the use of social media platforms nowadays is a great help to introduce her music even outside Palawan. Aside from solo recordings, she is also fond of collaborating with some of her friends.
“My anxiety at overthinking kasi para sa akin ay wala ako masyadong confidence. Actually, kada release ko ng kanta, nagbi-breakdown ako, hindi ko alam kung bakit. Baka walang makinig, walang magustuhan ‘yong music ko. Pero blessed naman na may pumapansin sa akin, minsan may nagpi-pm sa akin na hindi ko kilala, grateful na kung sino pa ang ‘di ko kilala ay nakaka-appreciate din,” she said.
She is still juggling her time to balance her studies and pursuing her career as she also dreams of becoming a police officer or soldier while currently taking up BS Criminology. Ailene also feels the pressure, as she needs to maintain her grades under the qualification of Dean’s Lister.
Ailene believes that there is a wider audience she could engage outside the province. Acknowledging the challenges she might face in establishing her name, Ailene said that she would still try her best.
“Ang hirap kasi maging independent artist kasi ikaw lahat gagawa nito, lyric video ikaw, pag-promote, pagsulat at pag-arrange ay ikaw. Malaki ‘yong engagement ko sa labas ng Palawan, meron pa nga na sa labas ng bansa na gusto rin nila ako maka-collab pero sobrang busy lang talaga sa ngayon,” she said.
“Minsan naaapektuhan na rin ‘yong mental health ko sa sobrang pagod na parang gusto ko na lang mag-stop kasi na parang wala rin ito patutunguhan pero hindi pa naman ako sumusuko sa ngayon. Tamang iyak lang pero balik lang din uli,” she added.
Ailene is not dreaming of becoming a singer. What she wants it to write songs.
However, she thought that her song compositions will not come alive if there will be no voice to sing them.
Her continuous release of songs also motivates her to push through, and sometimes, she catches herself imagining how it would feel to do a live concert.
Ailene said that knowing other local artists in other areas of the country who are also determined to introduce themselves also inspires her to continue her journey in this industry.
Some of the foreign artists who inspire her work are Post Malone for beat and melody, and Ed Sheeran for lyrics of the song.
“From the start na pumasok ako rito, marami akong nakilala all over the Philippines na mga local artist din. Maganda ‘yong songs nila pero parang hindi nabibigyan ng chance na mapakinggan ng maraming tao. Naiisip ko na hindi sila sumusuko, dapat ako rin. Meron akong natutunan sa underrated artist na kapag sumuko ka, ikaw iyong talo. Puwede magpahinga pero huwag lang susuko,” she said.
Out of the songs she released, Ailene said that her latest song “Toxic” is her most favorite of all as it came from a personal story. However, she used the point of view of the other party as the girl’s story.
Ailene believes that age does not really matter to measure success and hopes that she will have her own spot in the industry at her own phase.
She also expressed her hope that the Philippine government would also extend more support to Filipino music like other countries are doing.
“Dito kasi sa Pilipinas, hindi masyado nag-i-invest ang government sa music. Kung para sa akin, kung mag-i-invest ang government, malaking bagay ‘yon sa ekonomiya katulad kasi sa Korea na yong K-pop ay suportado talaga ng government at sobrang laking profit, ang laking puwede maitulong. Kung may gusto man ako ay yong suporta ng government,” she said.
Ailene is looking forward that she could be a signed artist someday and is willing to take the long road to reach her dream. To hone her singing, she also made her studio through working in Escubin Electronics Light & Sounds Rental and Services as media manager since the month of June.
“Alam ko na hindi siya biglaan pero kapag nagtiwala ka sa process mo, sa will ni God ay e-enjoy mo na lang ‘yong process na ‘yon. Worth it. Natutunan ko rin na lahat ng minamadali ay hindi magaganda ang kinlalabasan. It takes time, hindi ko naman minamadali. Ang mahalaga ay ma-reach mo ‘yong dream mo, hindi naman nakabase kung gaanong kahaba o kabilis,” she said.
She is set to release three more songs before the year ends and hopes that the agreement with an interested producer from Cebu will materialize in 2021.
Meanwhile, Aileen was moved by the drastic effect of typhoon Ulysses in some parts of the country and decided to organize an online gig event to raise funds from November 22 to 28.
She will collaborate with 35 other local musicians to raise funds from the donations that will be given by online audience. The weeklong online gig event will give each musician an hour of performance through her Facebook page. The line-up is composed of emerging and well-known local artists and bands in Palawan.
“Online gig event para sa mga nasalanta ng typhoon Ulysses, na-formulate ko siya nakaraan lang tapos nag-scroll ako sa FB, nakikita ko yong sunod-sunod na post about Ulysses. Naisip ko bakit hindi ako gumawa ng event para sa donation para makatulong,” she said.
Some of the expected performers are Stephanie Uy, PSU Singers, Highnote Band, and High Hello Band, and 31 other artists.