Kris on fatherhood: Life-changing
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - October 3, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Kris Lawrence says that fatherhood is indeed life-changing.  

The 31-year-old singer is a first-time father to one-year-old Katrence (Katie, for short), his daughter with Katrina Halili. 

“My night-outs, from 100 they’re now down to 20. When I’m out with friends, getting drunk, I get a flash of Katie, then I get guilty and go home. My spending went down a lot; you can’t just splurge here and there. My mentality, it’s more mature. And I have to watch my behavior, the things that I say. I have to be responsible because she’s gonna pick it up,” Kris tells The STAR during the launch of his new album, the 12-track Spread the Love, co-produced by GMA Records and ALV Talent Circuit, Inc.  

Kris proudly notes that in terms of looks, his baby girl is taking after her mother, but he can sense that Katie will be musically-inclined just like him when she grows up. “I sing to her lullabies and nursery rhymes. She responds to all music, she becomes really attentive but she responds the most to my song Ikaw Pala (from the album) because when she was still in Kat’s tummy, I would already sing it to her.” Ikaw Pala also serves as the carrier single, which became the theme of the GMA 7 primetime Koreanovela Innocent Man.

While fatherhood didn’t change his being an artist, it has however inspired him to write more. “It has inspired me to write more inspirational songs. I have a song in the album titled Make Me Whole, which I dedicate to Katie, because when my daughter came into my life, I felt complete.”

Some of the songs are dedicated to Katrina, offering a glimpse into their love story that has weathered its fair share of controversies. One of them is Di Na Matatanggap, which he penned when the actress broke up with him. “I felt like I supported her so much… You know that saying that you gave too much to that other person, that you left nothing for yourself? That’s how I felt. I just couldn’t accept it (the break-up). And if you listen to it, it’s actually a bitter song. All the little things I had a problem with in our relationship, I let it all out there,” he shares. Then again, there’s a song about the reconciliation, Sabihin Mo Naman, which was composed after the five-month separation, when he was wooing and winning her back, “parang sabihin mo naman na ako ang mahal mo,” says Kris. 

The two are talking about marriage and a proposal will happen but most likely, it will not be something of a surprise, as Kris reveals that Katrina hates surprises. “Our relationship is at its strongest point. We’re happier than ever,” he adds. 

But going back to his album, Spread the Love is mostly a compilation of songs Kris wrote since 2007, which were supposed to be released in 2009. He deferred the plan as revival records were the trend at that time and he consequently joined the bandwagon via Moments of Love, which fared well in the charts and in terms of sales. â€Some of the songs also got spread out as singles while (the rest) got stuck in the archives of my computer. I was about to dish them out to other artists in case they were looking for songs, but at the last minute, I pulled back and held on to them.”

Four years later, Kris and his manager Arnold Vegafria thought it was time to come up with an album that showcases his songwriting gift like Unbreakable featuring one of his favorite female singers, Rachelle Ann Go, a fellow mainstay and frequent duet partner on GMA 7’s Sunday All-Stars. There’s another collaboration on the album, Nightmare with Elmo Magalona, but it’s a contributed song from his college buddy, American singer-songwriter Jon Doe (who recently worked with hip-hop star Ja Rule), who wrote Nightmare originally for Justin Bieber.

There’s also one song that tells of the trials and triumphs of Kris Lawrence’s musical journey. 

The Filipino-American Kris (whose real name is Kristofer Lawrence Cadevida) broke into the Philippine music industry by becoming the champion of ABS-CBN’s Star In A Million contest in 2006. In 2010, he transferred to the Kapuso network. In between, he faced struggles that nearly had him packing his bags and dropping his career here to return to the States.  

“It was tough because you’re a winner of a contest. Your stardom was like, boom! It was really fast!” Kris recalls. 

“A lot of artists, they worked hard (at achieving success). I also worked hard on it but it was quick like over eight months, instant stardom. You were a champion then they spoonfed you a lot of things. When it wasn’t your turn anymore, since it was going on a cycle, (your career) goes poof! Biglang bagsak. 

“And so (I) went through a depression at that time, as work wasn’t coming as frequent as it was. Like one second you’re hot, one second you’re not. I felt it! Even though I was trying to come back, it was hard. I told Arnold, nothing’s gonna happen, I might as well go home to the States.”

In the end, he decided to persist. So, what compelled him to stay and carry on?

“I kept telling myself, ‘Kris, you came out here to do this, you know, wake up, life’s not easy. You’re not going to be always spoonfed things. Use the things that they’ve given you, and learn from them. You’re going through a hard time, what matters most is how you’re going to get back up and try again.’ That’s the inspiration for the song Try Again. I wrote it in 20 minutes and I was crying when I wrote it. That’s my favorite song in the album.”

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