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RINI’s Undying Love For Being Filipino

James Francisco

With the ability to transcend borders, there’s a power vested in music that soothes the soul. The 2020s saw a more welcoming industry, which placed little importance on an artist’s origin or persona, but rather, on their relatability and talent for creating ear-catching tunes. 

As aspiring composers populate the charts, each secures a growing fanbase and a legacy that develops through time. Although there isn’t a formula for what makes an artist “pop,” it’s inevitable to get lost in the limelight of success. When in doubt, some turn to their roots to keep themselves grounded. 

Justerini Sandoval, commonly known as RINI, places his Filipino heritage in his back pocket whenever conjuring his unique sound on stage. The R&B/Soul artist draws closely from his Manila-Melbourne upbringing as components of his uniqueness. From busking in Melbourne to embarking on a world tour, music poses as a naturally spoken language—never faltering or left among the stars.

Fresh from his first solo concert in Manila, RINI describes to Complex Philippines the warm embrace of his local fanbase, his steadfast love for music, and the importance of his Filipino roots to his discography.

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RINI – Jerry Brinas

You subtly mentioned your path discovery in an interview with SongKick, busking in Melbourne to touring the States. Was there a moment that you felt like giving up (as if the grind wasn't worth it)?

I’ve never had the thought of giving up music. Sometimes when it gets tough, I do feel a little doubt in myself, but I could never imagine not doing music anymore. I always find ways to bounce back from those thoughts and get inspired.

You've also noted previously that your favorite tour destination was Orlando. How does that compare when performing for the first time in front of your Philippine-fan base?

The feeling I got when I did my first show in Manila was out of this world. The love and support from my fellow Filipinos was overflowing. They really know how to turn up.

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RINI – Jerry Brinas

How important is your Filipino heritage? Are there any influences from your family that you integrate into your everyday?

My heritage means so much to me as an artist in the music industry, I will proudly represent being a Filipino until I die. I think my culture and upbringing have definitely affected the artist I am today when it comes to how I compose music, my work ethic to how I respect and show love to all my fans.

What would your creative process be? Do you try to incorporate your being Filipino into your songs (and if yes), is it something that naturally comes when composing?

My process is very random I would say (laughs). I don’t have a step-by-step guideline for making songs. I just express how I’m feeling in that moment and the right words and sounds come naturally. I guess the hopeless romantic side of me comes from the Filipino.

Would you have any words of advice for the frustrated Filipino artist with the hopes of being able to make it out there one day?

It’s okay to be frustrated sometimes but not okay if it’s all you think about as an artist. You need to learn how to enjoy the moment, the process, and the music regardless of fame, numbers, or wealth. If you’re a real artist you’d do it because you love [the craft].

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RINI – Jerry Brinas

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