“I know I’m independent, but I think I need ya…” is the first line of DENȲ’s infectious debut track “Gusto With Ya” which has been making waves since its March 2021 release. The subsequent lines in the catchy chorus foreshadowed the hit-making abilities that cemented the Quezon City-based artist as one of the freshest faces in the newest generation of Filipino R&B artists.
Fast forward more than two years later, the WAYBETTR first lady has just dropped her first album “LOVES7AGE” Not only is the album fully written by DENȲ, but it also features an impressive collection of collaborators that represent the DNA of the local R&B scene: Just Hush, Third Flo’, and Arthur Nery — in addition to production credits from Saint, NJ, Jin Chan, NEXXFRIDAY, MADEINDVN, and NAKI.
The aptly titled 7-track project narrates the chronological stages of love inspired by the singer’s personal experiences. Complex PH sat down exclusively with DENȲ to discuss her debut album, what’s next for her career, a track-by-track breakdown of “LOVES7AGE,” and more.
Courtesy of DENȲ
Congrats on your debut album “LOVES7AGE.” How are you feeling?
It’s been both amazing and scary because we’ve been working so hard on this album for about two, almost three years. We put our everything into it — not just me but also the producers, engineers, and all the people who have helped out with the music all the way to the visuals, it’s really fulfilling to see it come to life.
But it’s also a little bit scary to check the people’s reception to it, considering that so much love and care was put into this album. All in all, though, the fulfillment and excitement really overshadow all the other feelings I have about it. I’m just really excited for what’s about to come next.
What is “next”?
We currently have a bunch of videos lined up that build on the world we’re setting up for “LOVES7AGE.” I’ll leave it to everyone’s best guess as to which song will come out with their own music video.
I can’t wait to get on the road and perform for my fans inside and outside of Metro Manila. I’ve been seeing so many people requesting for us to perform in their cities so that’s definitely in the works as well.
I’m also looking forward to performing the entirety of the album live with the artists I’ve featured. It would be such an amazing experience, especially for the fans.
Courtesy of DENȲ
What I loved about this album is how accurately it depicts the “LOVES7AGE(s)” in relationships in 2023. What inspired this project?
I was just making songs about my own personal experiences. It didn’t start out in a cohesive, purposeful way. But looking back on the drafts, I noticed the songs became aligned in this one really long narrative. So that’s when the album idea really started.
The songs are also experiences I observed in my daily life. Some are pure fiction, like “Don’t Love The Same” which was mainly inspired by the perspective of the wife in the infamous Black Mirror episode titled “Striking Vipers.”
That’s one of the things I really love about songwriting: Everybody has their own way style. I love being able to intertwine other people’s stories with mine.
You collaborated with Just Hush, Third Flo’, and Arthur Nery on “LOVES7AGE”. Any other artists you’d like to collaborate with next?
It was a dream to be able to work with all of them but given the chance, I would definitely love to work with Skusta Clee, John Roa, Denise Julia, and Jason Dhakal.
Also, I know it’s a pipe dream, but it would be amazing to work with Kehlani, Doja Cat, Ice Spice, or even Jungkook and BTS.
Courtesy of DENȲ
Could you break down the following songs from the album?
“Alam Ko Na” – As the first track, “Alam Ko Na” is a dreamy, mellow R&B track that speaks on experiencing love at first sight, or that familiar moment where you contemplate whether or not you take a chance or let the moment go.
“Mahiyain” – “Mahiyain” is a sweet, playful, and upbeat tune about trying to muster up the courage to show how you feel about someone. It revolves around the giddy, uncertain phase of affection. It’s basically the “torpe” anthem, which I’m pretty sure a lot of people would relate to.
“Say My Name” – This song represents wanting to experience new things with the person you’ve chosen. I treated it as somewhat a continuation or the second part of “Gusto With Ya”, but written in a more sensual and playful tone. I’d like to say it speaks somewhere along the lines of a “trying things out” phase. The second verse I wrote on this is a personal favorite.
“Sabik” – This features the one and only Arthur Nery. “Sabik” was a dream come true thing for me because before I started writing music, I was a really big Arthur Nery fan. The track speaks on the dilemma of the “no label but there are deep feelings phase. “
Like, are you supposed to get hurt if somebody who doesn’t belong to you is in love with someone else? How are you supposed to live through the torment?
Courtesy of DENȲ
“FG2GF” – If there was a song that represents what love feels for me, it would be this. “FG2GF” is a poetic and symbolic R&B drill track about having the best time in a relationship. I’ve really played around with my Filipino vocabulary on this one, so it was pretty fun writing it. You’ll definitely need your Filipino thesaurus. The way this was written was heavily inspired by older OPM music, especially the way they used to write love songs.
“Kudos” – “Kudos” is the 6th track on the album, and it mostly speaks about losing trust, or being disappointed by the person you love. The best description for this track would be that it’s a song for those people na “iniwan sa ere.”
“Don’t Love The Same” – As the final track of the album, “Don’t Love The Same” serves as the outro as it speaks on the falling-out-of-love stage. It’s the definitive moment when one decides to “end the bullshit”, where there is no reason to stay anymore.
What do you want listeners to take away from “LOVES7AGE”?
“LOVES7AGE” is a real representation of the DENȲ sound, with every track being made with the utmost love, care, and attention to detail.
Even if the stories aren’t always soothing or happy, we’re not sugarcoating the journey here. It has its ups and downs because it’s based on reality.
But there’s one theme that’s always present throughout the album, and that’s the concept of self-love. Regardless of what happens, you should always come first.