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Jessica Sanchez is ‘bad in a good way’ in new music  

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Jessica Sanchez is âbad in a good wayâ in new music   
The American Idol alum unlocks the songwriter in her as she records and releases for the first time a self-penned song, titled Baddie. ‘This was huge for me because I never thought I was capable of writing. But I kind of told myself, I'm just gonna put the nerves away, release the song and hope everybody loves it.’
JESSICA SANCHEZ'S OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

A decade after her American Idol experience, Jessica Sanchez has kicked off a new chapter in her music career — as a songwriter. The Idol runner-up has been writing songs for several years now, but has just recently decided to open up this side of hers to the public by recording and releasing for the first time a self-penned song, Baddie.

The edgy, danceable Baddie is a single about self-worth and self-love. At 27 years old, the Filipino-American/Mexican singer can now say she knows her self-worth and is no longer afraid to show all facets of herself, including a fiercer Jessica, to the world.

She told The STAR during a virtual roundtable chat: “This was huge for me because I have never thought of myself as a writer. I never thought I was capable of writing and I’m still growing in that. So, it was very intimidating for me.

“But I kind of just told myself and this goes back to the whole Baddie thing like I can do this, I’m just gonna put the nerves away. I’m just gonna release the song and I hope everybody loves it. I hope everybody can relate to it.”

It’s been a long time coming for Jessica to showcase her songwriting. Baddie is just the beginning of expressing herself more beyond power ballads.

“I’ve been writing for about maybe four years now, and I have a lot of music that’s just kind of sitting in a vault, of my own experiences, my own feelings and just different sides of who Jessica is. And I feel like I’m so quiet at times and kind of shy that I don’t really get to express that much through social media or through, you know, conversation,” she said.

“Music is… it’s a way for me to release. And I think nobody would have guessed that I would release a song like this, but this is a part of who I am. I’m really excited to express this side of myself. And there’s much more to come. You’ll be seeing, like a whole 360 Jessica, all kinds, all different traits of mine and experiences, too.

When asked by The STAR about her experiences of being in the music industry that inspired the song, she said, “In this industry, you tend to feel insecure and compare yourself to others. It’s happened to me, especially throughout, I mean, how long I’ve done this, ever since I was on America’s Got Talent when I was, what, 10 years old?

“I’ve been doing this for a very, very long time. So, it’s very easy to fall into the whole comparing yourself to other people. And there are times when I have to just tell myself, I need to stop comparing myself or I need to stop telling myself like, oh, you know, I’m not good enough. I have to just sit in the mirror and tell myself girl, you got this. You’re a baddie. I know it’s such a weird word, but millennials, they use that word now just so they can relate and I related to it. It really is an empowering word like I’m a baddie. I’m bad in a good way.

“So, yeah, through all the rough patches, what’s really helped me is taking time to myself and really honing in and telling myself, reminding myself, ‘Girl, you got this, you got this, you got this.’ Because I hear from all my fans all the time, believe in you, God’s got you and at the end of the day, none of that matters until you also tell yourself that you can do it. You’re the only one stopping yourself or you’re the only one that’s going to take yourself to that next level. So, I just want to remind you guys that you’re a baddie, and you’ve got to tell yourself that you’re a baddie.”

Meanwhile, it’s been 10 years since her stint on American Idol. How her participation in the show contributed to the representation of Asian talent in Hollywood and how much Filipino fans supported her on the show continue to be a proud moment for her.

“Like 10 years ago when I was on Idol, it was such an honor to represent the Filipino community. I didn’t realize how crazy it was until I actually stepped foot in the Philippines for the first time. And there was so much support, so much love. That’s why I just love going to the Philippines. I love how you guys have really just embraced me so much and supported me through my journey. So, I just want to thank you guys for that one, too,” she said.

Jessica is happy to now see more Filipinos “making a statement in the entertainment business, not only in music, but also in TV and film.”

“That’s huge. Because, you know, I’ve kind of dabbled a little bit in acting and I’ve heard from different casting people that they’re looking for Filipinos, looking for different ethnicities, more exotic, so I love that people are more open to that and that we are continuing to represent the Filipino culture.”

Amid Filipino-Americans doing so well in the music scene today, like Olivia Rodrigo, H.E.R. Saweetie, she doesn’t really feel though that she somehow paved the way.

She said, “So, I wouldn’t say, like, pioneer. Maybe, I did. But for me, I looked at (Jake Zyrus) when he was Charice as somebody that was paving the way because he was on Glee at the time and it was huge. I was like, okay, like he’s doing it. I’m gonna do it, you know, we’re gonna make this happen. I see Filipinos represented here in the States. I feel that there’s been multiple people really paving ways. And also Manny Pacquiao in the boxing world. I mean, I would be honored to think that (I helped pave the way).”

Her journey as an artist of mixed-race origins has not been a road paved with roses. She also encountered discrimination and “people telling me I can’t do that, I can’t do this because I’m Asian.” She has released a power ballad about it, titled Us, which she also co-wrote and features fellow Asian-American artists Apl.De.Ap., Patrick Starr and AJ Rafael.

Nevertheless, during tough times in her career, she has her Pinay mom to thank for as a morale booster and support system. “From a young age, because of my mom, because she has such a strong personality, she’s always told me and taught me like, you know, don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t do something no matter your circumstance or your race or anything like that, or because you’re a woman or anything like that. That really stuck with me and I carry that throughout my whole career,” she said.

There’s another person that Jessica can count on for love  and support and she introduced him during the interview — her longtime partner Rickie Gallardo. He’s into business but not in the music industry. He’s sometimes mistaken as Filipino because of his name, but he’s actually Latino who’s enjoyed visiting the country several times with Jessica.

Asked about the role of Rickie in her career, the singer said, “Oh, man, (his role has) been huge. I’m more of a perfectionist. And I kind of tend to put myself down a lot when I’m not at this standard that I’m trying to reach. With everybody around me, with my mom, my friends, my family, but most importantly, my partner, he’s always there pushing me, supporting me, telling me, ‘You got this,’ in my super low moments, when I really doubt myself.

“He is there pushing me, ‘You have a gift from God and you need to use it and you need to continue doing music. That’s where your purpose is.’ He really motivates me and he’s a strong support system. So yeah, I thank God for that.”

(Baddie is now out on streaming platforms, while its official music video is available on Jessica Sanchez’s official YouTube channel.)

JESSICA SANCHEZ

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