Gen Z artist NKO chronicles own experiences in EP

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Gen Z artist NKO chronicles own experiences in EP
Just Music, a music sub-label of Cornerstone Entertainment, has just launched its newest artist NKO with a debut EP titled XOXO, where he sings about his experiences in love and relationships
STAR / File

Newly-launched artist NKO (pronounced as N-I-K-O) has just dropped his debut EP XOXO, composed of six tracks under Just Music, a music sub-label of Cornerstone Entertainment.

NKO, real name is Nikko Virtucio, is one of the two artists and songwriters, along with kenji, being introduced by Cornerstone Music as part of its effort to discover a new breed of homegrown artists, share their music and serve as a creative haven for these musicians to continue their craft.

The 23-year-old Gen Z shared more details of his background and talked about his EP in an exclusive virtual chat with The STAR.

He found his passion for music when he was in college and he is the lone musician in the family. His music influences include American rapper Post Malone and Filipino rapper-songwriter Ron Henley. His music leans towards indie and bedroom pop, he said.

NKO came from a boyband, G2B Boys, where his journey in the entertainment industry began. This time around, he launched his first solo project where he penned and produced all of the songs in the EP.

“I felt excited and also anxious because every time I release a song it’s always a scary time to do,” he told this paper.

XOXO is very personal and memorable to him. He recalled, “(It was) very hard to produce and write this EP. My dad died last year… I was actually going through that and had to deliver this EP, too.”

“After my dad died, I also had heartbreaks like I ended a relationship, too, so parang itong EP po na ‘to talagang close siya sa akin kasi yung mga na-experience ko po last year nalagay ko sa song na ‘to,” he added.

Moving forward, NKO is “actually doing great right now” and he is excited to tell his story through XOXO.

He chronicled all his life’s episodes in one EP that is “not only a love story but (my) journey as a person, understanding relationships and love.”

“All the songs in the EP are connected in chronological order. It’s like one whole movie,” he said.

The first ditty is Langit, about a couple who would always quarrel and reunite afterwards. “At the end, they would reconcile and na-reach nila yung ‘langit.’ Medyo, in a way, nasa perspective niyo na po kung papano niyo i-view what is ‘langit.’ It could be ‘langit’ dahil po nagka-bati kayo ng partner niyo or in a sensual way na langit. Tuwing nag-a-away kayo, that’s your way para magbati,” he explained.

Next is Kabila (featuring Chelsea Ronquillo), which illustrates further the meaning of “langit.” Part of its lyrics goes something like, “Wag ka sa akin magalit/ Dadalhin ka sa langit/ Kahit saang pwesto tayo ay nagpapantay.”

Tanging Binibini is about “asking forgiveness from your partner when you finally realized your mistakes.” He furthered, “(You also realized) kung ano yung dapat niyong baguhin sa sarili niyo. In the lyrics, ‘Ang kalimutan ka hindi magagawa/Araw-araw panaginip/ Ikaw ang tanging binibini/ Kasalanan ko inaamin ko/ Hindi na mauulit/ ‘Wag ka sa akin magalit.’ It’s like, this is the time that you realize all your shortcomings. Sometimes, when you are already comfortable in your relationship, nasasanay kayo sa partner niyo. Na-a-abuse niyo po yun.”

Tao Sa Mundo is the “us against the world kind of song.” “When you are with the person you love, you don’t really pay attention to the people around you. Kumbaga blind ka sa love. So parang kayo na yung tao sa mundo,” he shared.

Likewise, Tao Sa Mundo is an advocacy song for the LGBTQ community. “Kahit na-di-discriminate kayo, you don’t really (let that) get into you. So kayo lang yung tao sa mundo. What matters is kung ano yung feeling niyo sa isa’t isa,” he added.

In Sikreto, NKO admitted, “Dito po talaga ako pinaka-kinabahan. Kasi medyo mas sensual po ‘to sa other songs. This talks about the sneaky link culture or tinatawag nilang FUBU. This is like hooking up with someone without commitment. Madami pong nakaka-experience nito. Ang setting niyo dapat sneaky link lang or FUBU but you end up na you catch feelings for that person.”

The last track is Pano Na? (featuring Zae). “Pwede ‘to sa relationship or pwede din ‘to sa FUBU. What will you do if that person loses feelings for you? Pag hindi na kayo nag-jibe?” he asked. “Dito po nag-sa-start na you don’t really think about the consequence. Sa mga actions. Either nagpapakalasing kayo or lagi po kayong nag-na-night out sa clubs.” XOXO is also about nightlife and clubbing experience, NKO asserted.

(XOXO is now available on all major music streaming platforms like Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube Music.)


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