Why do I write songs? This is a question I have been repeatedly asking myself all throughout my life. And at different stages of my life, my answers would differ. As a child, it was because I hear and see notes in the air. As an adolescent, it was to express love and emotions that I was too scared to share with another person. And as an adult, it is because it is who I am – simple and to the point. It is who I am – a songwriter. Music is in me. I never even considered myself to be a good songwriter, or for that matter, I never even considered myself a good musician. But I can hear music…and I think that is enough. Maybe, nobody will even take the time to listen to my songs…and in my heart of hearts, I know that’s ok. I know that writing my songs is a worthy goal in itself.
I’ve never pursued music after my Mom dissuaded me from my dream of attending music conservatory after high school. She said: “we do not have the financial capability to support a choice that cannot help our family.” I was then persuaded to study engineering because I love mathematics too. I gave up my dream but I was able to help my Dad send my siblings to medical school – and now, I am proud to have 3 sisters who are doctors and 1 brother who is a successful real estate developer and businessman…and I became a nomad, traveling the world in search for myself and what I want to be. I’m possibly displaced by a turn I made along my journey or maybe I’m just an explorer who enjoys the trip more than the destination. I know just like my songs, I’ll end someday. I hope I get to choose the last note and how it is played. I hope I get to experience the joys with music I had as a child…simple, innocent and pure…
I remember hearing notes in the air as a kid while walking to school. They dance in the air in front of me in different colors. And then, I would hum the tunes all day long. I still hum my way through the day several decades after. For me, there is something mystical about writing songs…I feel like I’m connected to primordial men who harvested the first songs from the air while sitting around fires to keep themselves warm. I feel I’m connected to a music-sphere where all forms of musical lines, transitions and progressions float waiting for songwriters to pluck and arrange them into songs that will give joy to and reset the emotions of the rest of humankind whenever they need to during their individual lives. Sometimes I think that us songwriters were all descendants of all those songwriters that came before us – obligated to carry on the tradition so we can give the gift of music to our brothers and sisters – to remind them of a common language that had been spoken by and listened to by our ancestors since the dawn of time. A common language not bounded by race, religion and other limits that we have imposed upon ourselves.
I never had any illusions for fame, money or even recognition for my works. Oftentimes, I feel that I’m not good enough as a songwriter or as a musician – not having paid my dues to be one by dedicating more time to the craft in terms of training and gigging. But I hear songs and dream of songs – so I write them. I consider songs a gift given to me and so I gift them back. I write songs to memorialized the ultimate sacrifice of soldiers – so that future generations and their families will remember them…I write songs to give a soul to the fight of the oppressed against corruption. I wrote songs to create awareness about the plight of abused, marginalized and homeless children. And I write everyday songs that expresses love and care – but I dedicate all my works to support worthy causes – a platform whose shape and form still eludes me to this very day. It’ll come…maybe not today but someday. Just like one of my songs, it’ll come to me in a blip or a dream. Peace to all.