Juan Karlos on new relationship: ‘My heart is full’

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Juan Karlos on new relationship: �My heart is full�
JK’s track Ere has become the most streamed Filipino song on Spotify Philippines in one day, garnering over 1.2 million streams. His source of inspiration for the song was his breakup. ‘I mean, if that’s not obvious then I don’t know what is,’ he says. JK and former girlfriend, model-beauty queen Maureen Wroblewitz, made their relationship public in 2019. She appeared in the music video of JK’s hit song Buwan where they played lovers. JK and Maureen called it quits in 2022.  
STAR / File

From Buwan to Ere, Juan Karlos “JK” Labajo did not expect that his tracks would make it big in the music scene. He is just an artist who makes songs, as he put it.

“Ever since I released Buwan, which was my hit song and actually my only hit song basically, parang I was like this one-hit wonder artist that people just knew because of that. But ever since then, I caught myself in this position of, ‘F**k, I need to make another hit song,’” mused JK in an interview during Rakuten Viber’s Backstage Pass event at Baked Studios, Makati held recently.

His experience made him realize that “it’s not that hard to make a hit song; the hardest part is making the second one.”

When JK churned out Buwan, he didn’t have any expectations. He recalled, “I was not trying to make a hit song. I was just making a song for my girlfriend at that time.”

He and former girlfriend, model-beauty queen Maureen Wroblewitz, made their relationship public in 2019. Maureen appeared in the music video of Buwan where the two played lovers.

“I remember this magical moment when that song before the whole thing, before siya naging second national anthem, I remember that moment when it was just me who knew about the song’s existence,” he said.

“And then, when I played it in front of my then-girlfriend, it was just the two of us in the whole world who heard that song — and that was it. That was the main goal. That was the main purpose of the song. It’s a bunch of words and melodies, putting my emotions into some sort of medium and that’s it.”

When JK recorded his newest album called Sad Songs and Bulls**t Part 1, he didn’t harbor any hopes for it to become a hit as well.

“And ever since, what, 2021, a lot of things have happened in life, especially the pandemic that affected everyone. But I just went back to the purpose as to why I make music in the first place. That was really it — making songs. That’s it! There’s no, ‘Ito gusto ko ‘to maging hit song. Ito gusto ko ‘tong ganyan, gusto ko maging ganito. Gusto kong ganito karami yung kikitain ng lahat dito sa song na ‘to.’”

Fast forward to today, his track Ere has become the most-streamed Filipino song on Spotify Philippines in one day, garnering over 1.2 million streams and making it to Spotify’s Global Viral Songs.

“Definitely, my breakup,” JK told The STAR when asked about the inspiration behind Ere. “I mean, if that’s not obvious then I don’t know what is. Hahaha!”

JK and Maureen called it quits in 2022.

“Kung hindi obvious yung tungkol sa breakup, ewan ko na lang... Also, the songs there (in the album) were love songs that unfortunately didn’t make sense anymore because we were not together anymore, right? So that’s the bullsh** part na parang s**t itong love song na ‘to wala na. Wala na akong paggagamitan sa love song na ‘to, so wala, parang bulls**t na lang siya. (That’s why) Sad Songs and Bulls**t.”

When queried by this paper on his relationship status, he confirmed that he is “happy” to be in a relationship with someone.

“And honestly, it’s nice. As much as possible I don’t try to be too public about it because you know, p**a nasunog na ako sa huling (relationship). Hahaha! Ayoko na ng ganun tapos hindi mag-wo-work-out yung isang relationship tapos parang (buong) Pilipinas, sila din parang affected ’di ba.”

He further told The STAR, “So, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy. I mean, if you think about that, that’s kind of f**ked up. I guess that’s one of the hardest parts.

“A lot of people don’t understand that when you are in the showbiz industry and you get into a relationship, your relationship becomes a public thing and all of a sudden, people feel they are entitled. And they have the… You know they (feel) entitled to have a say on your relationship like, ‘What?’”

But he smiled when he reiterated he’s no longer single, saying, “Yeah, my heart is full (now). And I am really enjoying the whole privacy aspect of it. I like it that way.”

JK also clarified that he doesn’t want to hide his relationship at all. “It’s more of like I’m just not publicizing the whole thing,” he said. “I wanna keep it that way.”

Then he teased, “Next year, meron ng happy songs and no bulls**t.”

Last October, JK got to share the stage with Danish pop band Lukas Graham when they held their concert in Manila. The former sang the band’s hit song Love Someone and the latter also performed JK’s Ere afterwards.

JK praised the group’s vocalist Lukas Forchhammer for being such an “inspiring and amazing guy.” They still communicate with each other to this day.

The advice that he had received from Lukas is “don’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy.”

“If you want to be good at something, you have to focus on that thing. If you can’t be the best producer and be the best songwriter and be the best mixing engineer at the same time, you can’t, it’s hard,” shared JK.

“You have to choose which one you gonna be good at. And once you feel you’re good at that something, then you can look into doing other things and being good at other things.”

Meanwhile, JK just dropped his Christmas tune Maligayang Pasko in time for the holiday season.

“I went to a department store in 2021 alone on the eve of Christmas Day. I live alone, right? Nasa escalator ako lalo na diyan sa may Megamall, andaming Christmas tree. Then I said, ‘I want to hear a Christmas song na gawa ko,’” he shared how Maligayang Pasko came to be.

“That’s my only reason and purpose. I just want to hear Maligayang Pasko at an SM department store.”

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