Music to soothe the soul

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    MUSIC helps, music heals. In this time of crisis, music is there to combat stress, ease boredom, and perhaps, soothe the soul.

    As people go through this challenging time brought about by a global health pandemic, up-and-coming star Vance Larena reminds people to have faith even when feeling lost through his debut song under Star POP titled “Tama.”

    “My first single is finally here! What used to be just a dream is now real,” shared Vance. “This song is for every Filipino. My little share in the midst of what we’re all currently going through. Hope you’ll love it!” he added.

    The melancholic track, written and arranged by David Dimaguila and produced by Star POP head Rox Santos, explores the value of trust, especially at times of accusation of infidelity in romantic relationships.

    The underlying message of the song though, is how a committed person should choose to have faith in his partner despite doubts, and to always believe in God’s plan rather than his own.

    Even though “Tama” is the first official record under his name, Vance is no stranger to music, having starred on the musical film “Bakwit Boys” and playing the lead role in the musical theatre adaptation of Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” dubbed “Kanser,” both in 2018.

    He also played a lead role in several original Filipino musical plays of Philippine Stagers Foundation such as “San Vicente,” “Enzo Santo,” “Troy Avenue,” “Ako Si Ninoy,” and “Katips,” as well as the role of Zelim in Dulaang UP’s “Orosman at Zafira.”

    Vance also garnered praise for his impressive performance in the critically-acclaimed Netflix original Filipino film “Dead Kids” last year, and can also be seen on two of iWant’s original offerings, “Story of My Life” and “Hush.”

    Meanwhile, singer-composer Seth Dungca is set to release heartwarming single ‘Halika’ on April 3.

    The twenty-four-year-old artist understands the challenge we face today as he pursues his advocacy on mental health in the different roles he plays—as singer-composer, special education teacher, model and actor.

    As a singer-composer, for instance, Seth strives to uplift people’s spirits through the sweet melody—and calming lyrics — of his songs. His debut single, “Halika,” expresses his yearning to inspire and to cheer: “Sa mundong puno ng takot, na dilim ang bumabalot, hahanapin natin ang liwanag sa piling ng isa’t isa …”

    The song is consistent with what Seth says his “core” is — emotions. “I write about what I feel; I will never invalidate emotions. I want people to understand that mental health is real; you can’t keep going with the whole ‘huwag-mo-na-lang-isipin-iyan mentality’ because if you keep something in without processing it, it will only get heavier and heavier,” he intones.

    His various roles in life have shaped him into the mental health advocate that he is now. As a special education teacher, he lives his truth every day — making sure that his students know that their emotions are valid.

    “Being a special education teacher lets me write about emotions without the inclination to invalidate them. When dealing with students who are overwhelmed by their emotions, I stay with them until they feel better, instead of telling them not to cry,” he relates.

    Seth adds that being an actor helps as this allows him to feel and convey myriad emotions as he writes and composes his songs. Singing, for him, is “an outpouring of emotion and information—basically acting and teaching your message.”

    In fact, Seth discloses that he wrote “Halika” when he was in a bad place—and wanted to flee. “The song talks about me trying to find solace by going into some dream world where I could cry myself to sleep and wake up feeling a little better after my sadness.”

    He hopes that people who hear “Halika” will also allow themselves to feel their emotions — to escape their everyday routines and go where their hearts may lead them.

    Asked about his next goals, Seth shares his dreams and thanks his mentor — award-winning director, producer, and public relations expert, Chris Cahilig. “I am in the process of writing more songs because I am blessed with a supportive mentor like Sir Chris. Call me crazy, but I plan on pursuing my childhood dream of having an album.”

    And Seth says he will continue to write about validating emotions until it becomes the norm. “I imagine a day when our response to someone saying ‘Parang hindi ko na talaga kaya’ is no longer ‘Hindi, kakayanin mo iyan, go lang nang go,’ but ‘Pero habang hindi mo pa kaya, nandito lang ako, nakikinig sa tabi mo.’”

    “Halika” will be available on Spotify on April 3.