Singing Solo: The Music of Kitchie Nadal

The alternative-pop music landscape has never shifted so intermittently the last couple of years in the realm of OPM (Original Pilipino Music). The acoustic wave has effectively drowned out all semblances of the commonly loud Saturday night party scene. Over the last year, acoustic singers Nina, Paolo Santos and Nyoy Volante have become the trendsetters in churning out FM radio hits.

Early this quarter, the trend drifted towards embarking on a solo music career, which is often labeled an ambitious and suicidal pursuit especially to those coming from an established band with hit-record reputations. Between new bandmates, new audiences, new management and new critiques, the formula for success (that rears monstrous record sales and a thousand gigs) remains an unsolved equation.

There’s the infamous Eraserheads frontman Ely Buendia now with a new band called Pupil, balikbayan star Bamboo Mañalac of the Rivermaya fame, and now, a pretty, young, soft-spoken college coed who is braving the rough waters of musical singlehood…
“Kitchie Nadal is a band,” says Kitchie while her stylist paints her petite face for the photoshoot. Ah, just like Dave Matthews, yes? “Yeah, something like that.”

It’s been a little over 6 months since Kitchie was lead front-woman for the multifaceted group called Mojofly. Her unforgettable stint with the band resulted in two albums and several radio favorites such as Minamalas, Another Day, and Scooter Boy. The biggest and most obvious question for her loyal fanbase is: Why leave, Kitchie?

The 22-year old De La Salle University senior answers in a coy but zealous tone, “”School. It’s my priority now. Trying to earn a double degree in Psychology and Education eats up so much time.”

Sidelining her music career in lieu of her academic aspirations had been a dramatic but noble sacrifice. However, as a solo act, she has finally found a way to balance her student responsibilities by day, while being a music bar crooner at night.

At the onset of her new career, she leaves the immaculate pop image behind and dons a persona that earns her a blue ribbon in the Rock Chics Hall of Fame. “The shift is a preference,” she admits. This time around, Kitchie’s songs are more rock-oriented and beat-laden, a fresh approach that perfectly compliments her feisty vocal renditions. Listening to the songs, one might easily deduce that her influences range from the likes of Fiona Apple, Eddie Brickle, to Jewel.

Alternative Route
While the battle amongst pirates, MP3 freaks, and the once indestructible record company is taking as long as the next Star Wars film to pacify, the music scene is boldly shifting again to the next phase in sonic culture: Independence. This time, disgruntled musicians harbor brave confidence in their “new sound”, cultivated at the comfort of their own project studios, and offer a sundry musical flavors to the critical music aficionado. This move usually meant more control, more freedom, to express and exploit one’s art particularly when taking the lonesome path that musicians like Kitchie take.

“Right now, she’s indie, ” says her new manager Roca Cruz. “Indie” is music lingo that means the artist is not treading on the conventional commercial route provided by established record labels. But this does not necessarily mean that Kitchie’s music isn’t for mainstream ears. In fact, for the past three months, her singles Deliverance and Run have been enjoying their fair share of radio airplay at stations Jam 88.3, 94.7 Mellow Touch, 99.5 RT, 105.1 Crossover, and NU 107. Deliverance is included in EMI’s compilation album “Perfectly Acoustic” while Run is in Warner Music’s “Tunog Acoustic”. Kitchie is in the process of writing music for a full album but her other self-produced original songs such as Bulong, 4th Song, Steady and Worthy as well as her Run music video are available as downloadable lo-fi, MP3 live-cut versions at her official personal site:

And so, while Kitchie writes original songs that is truly Pinoy and fairly devoid of foreign imitation goes on, she’ll be singing and swaying her hips much to the delight of her growing number of devotees at the following bars this month.

Elbow Room April 22
Temple April 29
Absinth May 6

Catch her live with Delinquentres, Pope, and Up Dharma Down. See you there!

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