Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Jetter: R&B artist from Bantayan Island prefers the sensual and intimate

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —   To make waves in the music industry, it helps to have connections in metropolitan cities where there is an ample audience. Which is why R&B artist Jetterson Nueva is willing to travel often from Santa Fe, Bantayan Island to Cebu City whenever there is a gig.

“Anything for my music,” he told The FREEMAN in an interview after a recent “Secret Garden” performance in Brgy. Guadalupe, Cebu City.

Pursuing a music career was not what Jetter – his stage name – planned after high school even when he had been performing in local singing contests and doing covers of Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers.

The Butuan City native moved to Cebu to follow in his father’s footsteps as a seaman. Despite having a scholarship, he had a sudden change of mind on the day he was supposed to enroll.

“It came to me that if I have my own family, I wouldn’t want to be far away from anyone I love or care about,” the 25-year-old said.

Jetter decided to find schools that offer art programs. He ended up at the International Academy of Film and Television (also known as Bigfoot Studios) where he took up acting – a field he initially did not see himself pursuing as he expected to study singing and dancing there.

“I didn’t like acting and I thought it was embarrassing. But when I went there, they made me comfortable and I suddenly fell in love with it. Acting was a big step in helping me feel confident with how I perform and portray myself. A lot of people there are artistic and when they saw I can sing, they told me to make music. There was an instance where I made a song with filmmakers and producers,” he said.

“I used to work as a singer of a band playing at resorts in Bantayan, and one of my friends told me that I should be an artist. So I made a few songs with him and that’s when I started thinking, ‘Okay I like making and singing my own music.’”

Jetter makes alt-R&B music with a dreamy pop style in mind, inspired by Canadian artists Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and Drake.

“I like to be meticulous with the sound selection. I want that vibe and moody [sound]. It’s the lyrics that help me figure out what I want with my writing, and how I’d work with the sound I want, which is about intimacy, love, hate, lust, and loss. That’s how I would emote that Jetter sound,” he said.

“I am a sensual and intimate person, so it’s easier for me to write that stuff rather than flexing about achievements. It’s easier to talk about sensual stuff because love and relationships don’t cost money. It’s what I like to think about and feel most of the time.”

Jetter signed with Warner Music Philippines in 2023 with the help of Bret Jackson’s Paraisla who pitched him to major labels since he started in 2018. He released five singles last year, including “Bodies”, “Excited” and his latest release “No Sleep” which came out last December.

Of the inspiration behind “No Sleep”, he said, “I couldn’t sleep because there was so much happening in my life that took a toll on me, so I wrote this song right away. I think it was that experience I went through that was relatable for my team that they liked it enough for this to be released.”

On Spotify, his songs garnered 118,300 streams from 55,900 listeners. Is there pressure to have his songs go viral after signing with Warner? “Some people tell me that it’s not about [chasing hits], so I thank them for telling me those things. I pressure myself more, but I got people to remind me to keep making what I want to make.”

Between 2019 and 2023, Jetter didn’t release new music as he focused on making material during the pandemic which resulted to a potential album.

“My producer and my art director were in Bantayan with me and we started writing stuff. We wanted to release it, but Bret didn’t want to yet because he wanted me to be signed first and get that support,” he explained.

“Bret knows the album is good, but he just wanted it to be released with a major label, which I understand since I have the support I am getting from Warner.”

On the progress of the album, Jetter said that they are “working on finding a cohesive sound. We are just waiting for the right moment to release it. It’s all about perfect timing and art takes time to make. That’s one of my mottos that I hold onto.”

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