The multi-hyphenate talks about the process of creating her first song in two years and opens up on the decade she considers the “big turnaround.”
The turn of a new decade is often associated with a fresh start, and actress, singer, and entrepreneur Nadine Lustre is ready to welcome her thirties. Two years after her last music release, she returns with a new song that bids farewell to her twenties: “Overgrown,” an eclectic, drill-inspired experimental track that pays homage to her experiences over the last decade as she looks forward to her thirties and beyond.
Lustre recently sat down with Vogue Philippines for a chat sharing the most important lessons she’s learned in her twenties and talking about her latest song, how she wants it to dispel a misconception about celebrities, experimenting with a new genre, and working with international producers.
How would you describe “Overgrown” in your own words?
My goodbye to my twenties, short as that. Because in the song I sing about all of my, well most of my experiences in my twenties, and how my twenties is a big turnaround for me and my life.
What have you learned about yourself in your twenties?
A lot. That I’m the kind of person who would, I guess, do things for people that I love, even if I don’t like it. Also that I’m actually not a scaredy cat. ‘Cause back then, when I was younger, I hated being alone, and I didn’t realize this until recently. I would always get uncomfortable, I feel lonely, I feel like I’m so left out when I’m alone, alone at the house or alone driving in the car. I always wanna be with someone. But now I realize that I actually like being alone.
In the song, you say “Learned a lot about myself / Lot of scars, can’t you tell” and “Thought I knew the real me/ changing with the seasons.” What does that mean?
Well the first line, “Lot of scars, can’t you tell” is pretty much me saying I have a lot of battle scars and I’ve gone through a lot, which is, you know a lot of people don’t realize ‘cause when they think of celebrities, when they think of artistas (celebrities), you know they think we’re these perfect idols with, it’s all glitz and glam and everything is so beautiful, everything is so shiny and perfect when in reality, we’re also going through a lot of stuff—especially me. And I kind of just wanna touch on that because I don’t want people to forget that we’re people too, we’re human too, and we go through a lot as well. And the second line, “Thought I knew the real me / changing with the seasons,” I’m still trying to catch myself or catch up with who I am, ‘cause I keep changing. Everyday I’m changing and sometimes it doesn’t really sink in, so I’m chasing after the new me. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I never understand myself. Like when changes happen, I don’t understand it. I’m always questioning why this is happening. Does that make sense? I’m not sure, I’m trying to find my words.
What was it like collaborating with WILD Entertainment and working with Linying and Josh Wei?
My collaboration with WILD was such a surprise, because when that happened, I kind of put my music career on park just because I was doing a lot of things. I knew that I still wanted to do music, it’s just that it wasn’t the time. I wanted to focus more on films, which was what I was doing when I decided to park my music career. And I was also working on different business ventures, so I was really busy. And for me, if you wanna make music, you have to put all of your attention into it, all of your focus into it. It can’t be just, you know, a side project. You have to be all in. So I put that on park, but then a couple of months later, a good friend of mine tapped me, and he mentioned that WILD wanted to collaborate on a song. And so I thought okay, this is a sign, maybe I should get back into it.
It was really fun working with them. It was nice because they adjusted to what I was comfortable with. They wanted to work on the music where I’m most comfortable, which is Siargao, and it was the perfect setup because when they flew in and we started working, it was a good balance of work and play at the same time. We would work on the song for long, like a long time, hours and hours, and then when we wanna take a break, we just jump in a pool or go to a restaurant somewhere in town, have a couple of drinks, it was really nice. And I love that they’re very, they really stuck to my vision and what I wanted to do. They were very collaborative and I love that the three of us were all in sync.
It was nice because if one person has a good idea, it’s kind of like we finish each other’s sentences but not really. I don’t know how to explain that, but it’s kind of the same thing. So one person is thinking this but we’re actually all thinking the same, we just couldn’t find the right words, especially with the songwriting: we just couldn’t find the right words, but when one person says it we’re like oh yeah, that’s the word we’re looking for, so we’re all pretty much in sync on that end. It’s just nice working with them and it was, it was a good experience.
How is this different from your other music and projects?
I think it’s very different from the stuff that I’ve done before because for this one, I decided to do something that’s way out of my comfort zone. So we decided on, first day when we decided on the sound or on the genre, from out of nowhere I just thought to myself, okay I wanna do drill. So I told Josh [Wei] and Lin [Linyin], Josh the producer and then my co-songwriter, that I wanted to do drill, and drill is like, no one, not a lot of artists do drill, and drill is usually heavy rap. So it’s all of the things that I’m really not comfortable with, I guess. “Overgrown” is such an experiment as compared to the other stuff that I’ve done before. The other ones, I kind of know that this is what I want. But for “Overgrown,” [the] first couple of days, actually no, [the] first few months after we finished the first phase of the song, I still wasn’t sure if I liked the song. It was really weird because usually, I would like the song right away after the first draft, but for this one, I wasn’t really sure. Like three months after working on the song, I wasn’t sure that I liked the song. And it wasn’t until [going] over the final drafts, when we were about to finish working on it, when I realized that oh okay, I like the song, this is a good song.
What do you want listeners to take away from this track?
We all go through something, and we all have to grow from it. I mean, it’s part of growing. Whatever it is that we go through, it’s essential to our growth, and as long as you keep accepting all of those challenges, you know, like, you keep growing and growing is inevitable, you can’t stop it from happening.
Will you be doing a full album in the foreseeable future?
Definitely I wanna keep working on music, and now I don’t plan to stop. But for now, I wanna focus on finishing all of my film projects, but for sure this year, I’m gonna squeeze that in, later this year. I really wanna start working on an album.
Interview answers edited for clarity.