They say pain and heartache can be great motivators. For Red Tan, it’s true. As a young widow with a young son, the loss of her husband and her ambition to be an individual her son can look up to and be proud of spurred her on to follow her dreams of making her mark on the music world – a dream she has now fulfilled. Her recently released debut single “Don’t You Dare” will soon be followed by an EP of the same name, and she’s already making tour plans for 2020. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Red Tan to talk song-writing inspiration, her thoughts on social media and her long-time goals and aspirations.
TITL: What would you say is your unique selling point as an artist? What one thing makes you stand out from your many artistic counterparts?
Red Tan: Since I wrote all my songs, I have an inspiring or empowering story to tell on each one and that I think is my USP. The audience will be captivated by emotions because I sing like a storyteller.
TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced by and how do they impact the music you make?
RT: For this EP, my influences are Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and Blackpink.
TITL: You’ve been studying and performing music since the age of 16 and have since gone on to win two medals at the World Championships of Performing Arts; how has this helped you grow as an artist and shape you into who you are now?
RT: WCOPA has opened me up to the idea that I can make it internationally even if you only have limited resources. You just gotta be resourceful and ask assistance from people around you who believe in your talent. As an artist, it made me mature and more purpose driven. It made me open to explore different genres and blend with them.
TITL: Tell me a little about your debut single “Don’t You Dare.” Is there a particular story behind it and what made you feel the song was a good fit for a first release?
RT: It’s something edgy but kinda warm. The verses are passive aggressive. I want it to stand out because the lyrics are the exact same reason why I am doing this EP and pursuing my singing career. The story behind is not to give up and to use all these challenges, situations, or even haters, as stepping stones to push yourself harder and do more in life.
TITL: The track is taken from your upcoming EP of the same name, which is dedicated to your late husband. Not giving anything away, how would you sum it up? Do you have a favourite track or does that tend to change from time to time?
RT: This is my first EP and I think each song has a special place and meaning. It’s hard to say which is the best. They are all the best for me. Haha!
TITL: In terms of your lyrics and general song-writing, who or where do you find most of your inspiration?
RT: Everyone and everything. Sometimes listening to other people’s experiences or my own experiences good and bad. Sometimes I will just look at my son and write down everything I want to tell him and voila! I have created my lyrics already.
TITL: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Can it depend on the subject you’re wanting to write about or your frame of mind at the time?
RT: I can do both. I can also base my writing on the mood of the music my engineer makes. It’s quite challenging but once you find your perfect spot and the right momentum, it does get easier and I think the words become more powerful when it’s based on your personal experiences.
TITL: To what extent does love and family, seeing as you’re a young mum, impact and influence what you do and what projects etc. you decide to give your time and attention?
RT: My son is a big factor in my overall decision making. He’s my whole world. One of the benefits of being an indie artist is the freedom to decide and choose projects on your own terms. One for which must not require me to be away from him for too long. My family’s support has been good. They helped me in everything so haven’t had to worry too much. I am doing this for them as well.
TITL: How has moving to London impacted your career and ability to connect with other artists/those in the industry? Have you noticed any similarities or differences between the music worlds/industries here and back home in Manila?
RT: I learned so much in London; the ins and outs here is totally different as compared to the music industry in the Philippines. I want to share these skills which I developed in London to my home country and encourage artists there that they too can make it worldwide. Hoping to also expand the Filipino music and culture across the world.
TITL: You’ve already performed as a jazz artist in Dubai and Malaysia, but if you could put together your dream show with four bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play?
RT: My dream show is a mixture of my favorite genres with a powerful female cast like Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, Lady Gaga and Beyonce at Wembley Arena in London.
TITL: Do you have any performances/tour dates lined up? Where can music fans next check you out?
RT: Nothing concrete but there are plans for the next year.
TITL: What are your thoughts on social media and is being part of the technology-obsessed society we all seem to be a part of something you like/enjoy or something you prefer to stay away from?
RT: I love social media. It’s made the world a smaller place which is good. I am able to promote easily and more effectively and make things happen fast as compared to how it was before. It’s amazing how my songs can go international easily through digital media.
TITL: Aside from your EP release, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?
RT: Hopefully get some kickstarter funding and build great collaborations to do a worldwide tour. Also planning to finish an album by mid-2020.
TITL: Finally then, what are your long-term aspirations as an artist? Given how hard you’ve worked to achieve and get to where you are now, what’s left on your bucket list, both personal and professional, for you to tick off? What message or legacy would you like your music to leave behind many years from now?
RT: I want to write more meaningful and empowering songs and express a wide range of inspiring ideas when it comes to my performances. My music is a salvation to me personally and I would like it to be a salvation to my fans and supporters as well. Especially to those who are ignored, misjudged and rejected, to those suffering from mental health issues, and to those who are fighting their own battles. I want to send a message across and remind them how beautiful, worthy and important they are. As clichéd as it may sound, I dream that my music would lessen suicidal incidents and help a lot of people as much as it has helped me in my healing process and in gaining back my strength, confidence and wisdom. Also, the profit that I will earn from streaming will also be used to provide food and education to thousands of less fortunate children in the Philippines.