One of the favorite things that budding singer-songwriter Frankie Pangilinan likes to do is “plagiarize – herself.” Strange and unacceptable it may seem, but Kakie, as she is fondly called, writes incessantly — be it poetry, songs, or fiction — and each medium bleeds into the other so naturally that she does not even try to lie about it.
For instance, her new single, shatter, is perhaps her most difficult song to sing.
“Given its emotional range and the painful memories it’s associated with, shatter took an old, unearthed poem of mine to pry the lyrics from the more shadowy parts of my skull,” Kakie quips.
Another song she particularly cited is gone. The titles of the songs Kakie wrote and recorded are always uniquely written without capital letters.
“It’s not based on real-life experience,” Kakie insists. “I have a smaller writing account which has become my safe space online, with a handful of readers who I find myself indebted to for keeping me sane in quarantine. Writing gone became my tribute to them, having been composed from the perspective of a fictional character who had no knowledge about the death of her husband.”
Kakie attests gone is a tearjerker. “The main vocal you hear on the song was one take, the very first I did. I asked if we could turn on the studio lights off and it was cold in the booth. I’d like to thank Fern of Kindred Productions, who so generously provided backing vocals for the end of the song.
“He sings, ‘never left, never left you, baby,’ which references a quote from an unpublished draft I have. I can’t wait to share it.”
Breathing life into a song, immortalizing her truth and feelings into the lyrics and melody feels like a sigh of relief for Kakie. For a 20-year-old, her songs implore unusual depth and special meaning in the lyrics.
“I wrote many of the songs years ago,” she shares. “Recorded them with a semi-shattered iPhone in the wee hours (my natural habitat) and transferred the files onto a USB, then didn’t pay them any mind for at least two years.
“It was thereafter referred to as the ‘heartbreak hard-drive,’ which, I think, makes for an alternate title for the EP (extended play). I swore to myself I wouldn’t open those songs until I was no longer saddened about what they were written of.
“Here we are now, having rummaged through the files with a little less ache and a little more bravery, offering a body of work to the world that sounds exactly how I imagined it would. It is the first of my music that I’m truly, deeply, wholeheartedly proud to claim.”
Kakie, however, laments how it took her a long while to finally present the songs she composed.
“I’m saddened that it took me this long to arrive at this place artistically, but I’m deeply overjoyed that I’ve arrived at all,” she declares.
Even the significance of the letter play in abOUT hER SPACE is important to Kakie.
“I think ‘abh’ has come to represent both a broken heart and a bountiful harvest,” Kakie maintains. “My dad (Sen. Kiko Pangilinan) has imbedded a great deal of agricultural enthusiasm in me. One of the greatest lessons of farming is that the best fruits are shaped by hardships.
There is no growth without rain.
No yield without toil and labor. A broken heart therefore, must inevitably mean something in the end. And I think this body of work is proof of that.”
The seven-track EP, abOUT hER SPACE, contains the single afterparty, the follow-up to Kakie’s 2020 release, battlescars, as well as to the Ely Buendia-produced track, tyl (true young lovers), a song she also composed.
It is released by Curve Entertainment.
Interestingly, most of the songs that Kakie wrote and produced in abOUT hER SPACE are older than her previous releases.
It took Kakie and her team quite a while to trim down the songs to seven for the EP. The newest is afterparty, while lost is the oldest.