Kitchie Nadal: In a class of her own
- Jen F. Vega () - June 29, 2008 - 12:00am

Maybe only a few have really gone out of the box, or as the famous Simon Cowell of the American Idol loves to stress, only a few would take risks, as far as musicality and ingenuity are concerned. But then again, there really are those who rise above the status quo, and they are recognized as musical geniuses and icons.

My musical preferences started to shape during the time of puberty, when OPM was equally popular as that of the foreign acts. Pinoy albums were selling hotcakes. Then, there came a lull. Now, the OPM scene is alive once again. The rock genre, for one, is given much recognition and appreciation in this present generation. This music era has also introduced clever hitmakers who took a step higher above the usual all in the name of quality and passion.

A Leap of Faith

One example is the 27-year-old Anna Katrina Dumilon Nadal or popularly known as Kitchie Nadal. Kitchie has carved a niche in the entertainment industry soon after leaving her previous band Mojofly as lead vocalist. In 2003, she left the band for a solo career under Be.Live Artist Management after doing two albums—Birthday (1999) and A Million Stories (2002). For diehard fans, Kitchie still gets associated with the songs she did during her stint with Mojofly—Runaway Angel, Say It, Another Day, Scooter Boy, among others—and it is for this reason that she still performs these songs in her gigs.

During her recent mall tour in Robinson’s Mall Cebu following a brief chat the night before when she was introduced as an endorser for Chevron, the maker of fuel brand Caltex with Techron, The FREEMAN had a lengthier and exclusive interview with the country’s pop rock princess. When asked if she still hangs out with her ex-bandmates, (who, according to speculations, were quite disappointed with her abrupt decision) she admitted she still communicates with Ricci Gurango (who is no longer with Mojofly) yet not on a regular basis. I tried to delve on the reason why she left Mojofly, since I really wanted to hear it straight from her. Kitchie offered this answer: “Mojofly kasi was more of a Ricci band. I only sing songs.” (You just read between the lines.) I’ve waited for her to expound on it as she paused for a couple of seconds, but instead, she candidly asked this writer if she looks like a clown with her make-up.

Kitchie released her debut self-titled album in 2004 that reaped awards and hit double platinum status (that’s over 800,000 copies sold!). Her monster hit “Huwag Na Huwag Mong Sasabihin,” the soundtrack of the ABS-CBN’s Koreanovela hit “Lovers In Paris”, shot her to stardom. While we were doing the interview backstage, Kitchie asked on what songs she’ll include in her repertoire for the afternoon gig. Well, what better songs than “Bulong”, “Same Ground” and “HNHMS”!

The Journey

But it would take Kitchie some time before she would come up with another full-length album. Was she in hibernation? Kitchie refused to consider that she was in hiatus for two years, as during that span of time, she was able to work on her second album, as follow-up to her commercially successful debut album. There were also “side projects,” as she puts it, that kept her visible once in a while in the entertainment arena. She was able to produce the McDonald’s jingle Love Ko ‘To, as well as released an EP album of Love Ko ‘To. She composed two GMA-7 teleserye theme songs, namely Makulay Na Buhay for “I Love New York” and Majika for “Majika”. She also contributed to ABS-CBN’s “tele-epico” Rounin entitled Iniibig Kita which she admits makes her still teary-eyed whenever she hears it. As a result for all these efforts, Kitchie was able to produce an EP album entitled Drama Queen TV that’s composed of her teleserye OSTs.

Music tours abroad also occupied much of her time, one reason why she has been absent in the local scene for quite a while, too. From the US to the Middle East, she set foot on more than 10 countries. So, she was never idle, after all. This songwriting genius’ international exposures opened doors of opportunities, like securing a following overseas as well as working on collaborations with internationally based artists.

Kitchie was also able to finish her studies. She graduated from De La Salle University, with a double major in Psychology and Education.

Two months ago, Love Letter, her second full-length album, was officially released. It consists of 17 original tracks—Beautiful Jesus, Armour Bearer (a story on friendship), Takipsilim, Apple of the Eye, Firefly, Grace, Tadhana, Iniibig Kita, Wide Awake, Love Letter, and her new single, Highway which is used as a soundtrack for the television commercial of Caltex with Techron. (She also appears in another commercial for Caltex with Techron that was shot in Africa and now airing in several foreign countries. She is the only Filipina in the commercial, and a central character in it at that!)

Fifteen songs in Love Letter are originally written by Kitchie. “In terms of musicality, we experimented on instruments that produced better sounds. We have also collaborated with Cynthia Alexander (arranger for “Iniibig Kita”), a European band Insight and [Indian producer, performer, and DJ] Akshai Sarin, who co-wrote and co-produced Walk On Water. Jack Rufo is still the song arranger. I can’t ask for anything more. Things get better and better. I’m happy with it!” she enthused. Since her first album was like a blockbuster film, she refuses to be pressured with the reception to Love Letter. “I can’t say which one is better. It’s like you’re comparing your two babies.”

Fulfilling Her Destiny

 “When I wrote the songs, I got inspiration from my experiences. It has been a long journey. When I write songs, it’s very personal. It’s like a diary. Love Letter was influenced by the Bible [since] during my journey, I read it the whole time,” Kitchie revealed.

There’s no denying, indeed, how vocal Kitchie is when it comes to her spiritual convictions. Her compositions are made out of the abundance of her heart. The song titles speak much of her beliefs. Inspirational songs, that is. (I found her leading the group in prayer backstage before her performance.)   

Kitchie simply shrugs whenever one notes how “sikat” (popular) she is. Even with the glitz that comes with her popularity, she emphasizes that she is more humbled by the opportunity to continue creating music. She has always stressed she wanted to walk on what she is destined to do. “I believe that this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m fulfilling a prophecy,” Kitchie confessed. Like most artists who also share the same calling, she believes that this is not a passing interest or a whim, but what she is expected to do.

During her recent visit in Cebu, Kitchie and her band—guitarist/producer/arranger Jack Rufo, bassist Mike Bayas and drummer Jeff Lima—had three straight gigs in Ratsky, Robinson’s Mall and 22nd Street Comedy Bar. Based on observations, she has learned to connect with her audience even more. Her face lit up with excitement and gratefulness, after seeing how people eagerly sang with her old songs and listened to her new ones. It was really good to see her positive aura infecting people in the audience.

Love Letter is available in all Caltex Starmart, Oddysey, Astroplus outlets worldwide.

KITCHIE LOVE LETTER MOJOFLY SONGS
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