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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Nicole Laurel Asensio drops new Christmas-themed track, 'Christmas Without You'

11/16/2021 09:03:49 PM

Nicole Laurel Asensio is set to debut a new Christmas song this 26th of November. 

The multi-talented artist will release her new song Christmas Without You, as a prequel of sorts to last year's original composition See You This Christmas. The new track  couple saying their sweet goodbyes and exchanging well wishes  as one of them needs to leave to work abroad to support their loved one. 

The song also showcases a part of the story wherein its characters s continue to find ways to remain hopeful during the holiday season, even if they are separated from one another. It is through the little holiday rituals they once shared, that the memory of one another comes alive, and they are renewed by the thought of being together again in due time. 

Nicole shared her story on how the song came in fruition.
“The initial songwriting process was quite simple. I began humming a melody and out came the first verse… it was after that that I couldn’t squeeze anything. I started watching Christmas movies on Netflix in hopes of drawing lyrical inspiration. A day later I had my first draft of the song lyrics and melody.”
The creative process also involved Sam Akin, a young Nigerian songwriter based in Dumaguete City whom Nicole worked with for few other music projects. 
“I decided to give Sam a zoom call so I could get his creative opinion on the song. Together we made a few lyrical adjustments. I was also unsure about how to end the song at that point so I passed him a rough phone-recorded demo and he tried singing some lines as he would, stylistically. I loved what he had done when he sang it, so I decided to keep his soulful flavour in the coda of the song. Thematically, I wanted the song to traverse from having the persona alone in present day to plunging into her memories with her lover. Hence, a musical shift of sorts was in order.”
This also prompted the duo to contact Michael Guevarra, a bona-fide jazz big-band arranger and saxophone player for further brainstorming—and this also made them made its collaboration through a digital conference program Zoom.
“Michael screen-shared his music sheets and filled them in as we etched out the notes and melodies together over zoom. It was my first time to write and do arrangement sessions over zoom, with all the connection interruptions, barking dogs and ambient noise,” said Nicole. 
“While Michael wrote out the big-band section, me and Ira Cruz got to work mapping out the intro, verse and coda of the song. It was a collaborative effort in terms of sound and arrangement. Michael enlisted Otep Concepcion on drums, Simon Tan (AMP Bigband) on upright bass, Nikko Rivera (who arranged last year’s “See You This Christmas”) on keys Lester Sorilla on trumpet, Darius Mendoza on Trombone and Himself on Saxophone. 

Following the remote setups despite making it a big-band produced song, Nicole headed to Wildgrass Recording Studios to record and shoot footage for its video. 
“I wanted to shoot a simple music video and feature a leading man character, something light and comfortable,” Nicole initially quipped.

The singer-songwriter, who just came off acting for a full-length musical period piece Katips, had former Pinoy Big Brother housemate Ranty Portento to be the leading man for the visual accompaniment that is directed by Gorio Vicuna.
“Communication with Ranty was quick and easy, we only met once over zoom, but I felt like working with him would be easy,” Nicole said of Ranty. 
“Writing the concept for the video was a collaboration between me and our director, Gorio, it was very home-grown, we brought our own costumes and props, shot in my grandmother’s home and wrapped up on set all in a day’s work. The set was light, full of laughter, sweets, wine and stories. somehow, in a strange way… it felt like the Christmas I once knew… even if it was make believe.”

The music video for Christmas Without You will be out on 2 December 2021.

Nicole Asensio's upcoming rleease caps up what has been a very active year for the singer once known as Schizoprano. Apart from writing and releasing original music, Nicole has s been very active in numerous online concerts such as Cultural Center of the Philippines’ “Kung Hindi Man” which also featured her original composition and MFlix brought to you by Pinoy Playlist. In addition, she became the solo headliner in a Dubai show for the “Veon” convention. 

The singer-songwriter also spent the last few months filming Katips as Lara, the female lead  of the said movie that also starred Jerome Ponce as its male lead and written, directed and produced by ALIW, Palanca and FAMAS award winner Vince Tanada. 

Currently, Nicole has entries in 8 different categories this year’s prestigious AWIT Awards and is nominated for both People’s Choice award for Best Female and Best Song. With the nods she garnered in this period, Nicole’s future in the entertainment industry seems to be growing slowly and steadily as she expands her craft from singing and writing songs to acting. She is looking forward to delving into more creative endeavours in the coming months and has been steadily writing, recording and producing more material alongside Warner Music Philippines.

For this year's Christmas season, though, Nicole's upcoming Christmas release came much to her surprise, especially with the change of atmosphere, the disconnection, memories, and the demise of a loved one. 

“This year, I didn’t plan on writing a Christmas song at all,” Nicole initially said. “After releasing 6 singles in 6 months… this was quite a lull. I started thinking about my loved ones, people like my grandmothers, who despite being so full of energy and strength at their ages were not able to leave their homes at all… isolation takes a toll on creative spirits. I imagined being in their place, unable to express or connect with others much.” 
She added, “My grandmother Celia passed away a few days after my birthday this year. I consider her one of my ultimate inspirations, role models and source of love. Christmas eve every year for our family was spent with her. I found myself entranced by the memory of my small hands wrapped in the warmth of her soft hands, the same hands she used to prepare our Noche Buena feast.” 
Despite the sorrowful moment, Nicole drew inspiration to create something new again.
“My mom and I spent her last few days with her, making the most of our time together. While I sat by her piano side…. I thought, maybe I should write?” Nicle pondered on. “tell you that there is a common ache of loss that threads us all to one another, there are those who have been given early tickets to paradise, there are relationships stretched over miles. Life goes on,  but through it there is a new kind of love, one strengthened by faith. So I started to write again. Just for fun.”
Asked what are he plans for 2022 and beyond, Nicole Laurel Asensio had a few words.
“To be able to continue creating in these times is surreal, every moment spent with those we love, or doing what we love is a gift from God, never to be taken for granted. I am eternally grateful for those around me, for each and every one of you who inspire me to continue creative pursuits even when sometimes it may feel purposeless. I continue to hold full faith in the fact that there is a greater plan behind all of these challenges, and that greater days await us if we keep marching forward and doing the best we can with what we have now.”
Author: slickmaster | © 2021 The SlickMaster's Files

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