Denise Julia is back with a new music video. “B.A.D” featuring P-Lo is another hit that both Filipino artists can add to their growing catalogs. Since its Oct. 27 release, the R&B anthem has slowly trended upwards on social media thanks to its catchy choreo and support from her fan base — including Bretman Rock.
We featured Denise in ou inaugural Complex Council and since then, the 21-year-old singer has continued to cement her status as one of the leading voices of the youth generation in the Philippines. Not only is “B.A.D” another undeniably infectious tune, but the hit song also serves as an empowering anthem that encourages young women to embrace their sexuality and feel confident about themselves.
“I want B.A.D. to be the song you play when you want to feel confident, pretty, and to embraceyour sexuality,” she shared. “It aligns with my goal of creating music that makes people feel beautiful and empowered, stemming from my past experiences of feeling out of place due to my appearance.”
Sonically, “B.A.D.” is sensual and sultry — symbolizing Denise Julia as a woman comfortable in her own skin and embracing her individuality. We sat down with the Manila-based music sensation to discuss the “B.A.D.” music video, the song’s message, the importance of representation, her debut album, and more.
Congrats on the release. I saw on your Instagram that a big inspiration behind the visuals was your experience growing up with a darker skin complexion in the Philippines. Can you talk more about this?
Growing up, I encountered disapproving glances from my relatives, who constantly compared me to cousins and family members with lighter skin tones. The pressure to conform led me to scrub my skin and use whitening soaps daily, as if shedding layers of my natural color would render me more acceptable, erasing the supposed “imperfections” of my true complexion. I believe many other girls share similar experiences.
The relentless pursuit of fairness left me feeling drained. I chose to commit to self-love and vowed to champion it in my career. I began experimenting with makeup and styles that enhanced and complimented my inherent qualities.
I want people to witness the beauty of Filipinos with their radiant brown skin. I willingly embrace the responsibility of being the representation morenas need. I’m determined to show that beyond the mainstream media’s preference for fair-skinned girls, there are Filipinos who deserve acceptance without being tethered to other racial stereotypes.
We are naturally beautiful just the way we are.
Denise Julia – B.A.D. MV
Q: I love how the music video embraces all Filipinos regardless of gender. It’s no secret that the Philippines is a conservative country and “B.A.D.” definitely has sensual undertones. What message do you hope both the song and MV can promote?
I proudly define myself as gender fluid, finding attraction across the entire spectrum—girls, boys, lesbians, gays—embracing all facets of love. This personal understanding played a crucial role in shaping the vision behind my music video.
In the creation of the video, I intentionally surrounded myself with friends, dancers, and artists who shared this vision. Among them were friends who had once aspired to be dancers but faced obstacles in pursuing their dreams. I made a conscious decision to provide these friends with a platform to showcase their talents as performers.
I also deliberately included beautiful dancers who embodied an androgynous look, showcasing both femininity and masculinity, as a defiance of fashion and beauty norms in my country.
Members of the LGBTQ community, particularly my gay friends who played a significant role in choreographing the song, became an essential aspect. This collab highlighted the exceptional genius of individuals often unjustly marginalized by society.
They deserve wholehearted acceptance for expressing themselves and their true selves to the world.
Denise Julia – B.A.D. MV
Q: Another theme I loved is that the scenes capture Manila culture. What inspired this creative direction?
The inspiration came from my director, Louie Ong, and creative director, Carissa King. Both of them went above and beyond to authentically capture Filipino culture. I wanted to dispel any misconceptions about my connection to my homeland.
I wanted to use this MV to affirm that I am deeply rooted in the Philippines. I am fluent in Filipino, walk in the streets with ease, possess an intimate knowledge of my city, and above all, I cherish and celebrate my culture. Even as I tailor my work for a global audience, my commitment remains unwavering in showcasing the richness and beauty of my Filipino heritage.
P-Lo is one of the most recognized Filipino acts in the world. How did this collaboration come about?
I had this vision of diving into the R&B scene with a rapper for the first time, and what better way than teaming up with a fellow Filipino? After a whopping 18 versions – blame it on my perfectionism – we nailed down the verse.
I even thought of changing the intro at the last minute after sticking to the old one for months, almost giving my producers a heart attack. But, in the end, we crafted a stunning and successful track.
Working with an artist from overseas was a true honor. Despite the physical distance, the creative connection was so strong; It felt like we were in the same room. I’m glad we were able to work it out to bring P-Lo to Manila to shoot the MV.
Denise Julia – P-Lo
Do you have any other collaborations in the works that we should look out for? What other Filipino artists do you want to collaborate with?
I’ve got my eyes set on collabs with Jason Dhakal, Hillari, Deny, and Zae. These artists are at the top of their game in their respective genres, and I have immense respect for them.
Are there any new songs or projects that we should look out for?
Some fans might wonder why there are only three new tracks on the mini-album. It’s just a teaser of what’s in store, and that’s precisely why I named it Sweet Nothings (Chapter 1) – it’s the beginning of the entire Sweet Nothings project.
A full deluxe album is on the horizon, set to be released early next year. My fans better buckle up and brace themselves; it’s a culmination of 2-3 years of hard work.