Growing up in Davao City, Paul Pablo learned that life came in all shapes and sizes, just as love crossed different lines and colors. He consequently produced songs that addressed topics like societal issues, identity, and most controversial of all—love, as he saw fit.
"I do think na it’s easy for people to relate sa isang artist if that artist is addressing his or her story. Walang pag-specify sa gender. And knowing that I am an openly gay or queer artist, it’s kind of hard sometimes to make people relate to my story knowing that my rules or my history are coming from the perspective of a gay person," Paul Pablo told PhilSTAR L!fe during his Spotify RADAR photo shoot.
Yet he did. One way or another, the singer-songwriter naturally struck a chord with Filipinos, accumulating around 187,000 listeners.
He rose to popularity with breakout hits like Bangin, Kalawakan, and Kaya. These were fruits of his "affectionate songwriting" that packed all the right punches. Never forced, always poised.
Best of all, Paul Pablo didn't need to change himself or the stories he wanted to tell: only ways of effectively communicating these. Thus spoke "hugot-tronic."
"My inspiration basically when I create music is always about creating something that is unique and something that’s not been heard before. I call my music 'hugot-tronic.' Hugot-tronic is actually a combination of hugot lyrics plus Electropop sounds," the musician explains.
He narrated how many Filipinos are clearly into the hugot genre, which inspired the self-described Little Monster (Lady Gaga fan) to play new music with an Electropop twist.
"I’m a fan of Gaga, but also, as I explore music, I also listen to a lot of different types of music, different artists. There are a lot of artists out there who do really great music, especially sa ating [bansa]. A lot of Filipino artists are waiting to be discovered," he said.
Somehow, it inspired me to not change my storytelling for my songs that I won’t hide na bakla ako sa aking songs. I know for sure na marami pang makaka-relate sa songs ko.
At some point, he knew that his fresh take on both OPM and LGBTQIA+ representation will be a "game changer" in the local music industry. Though that same privilege he's worked hard to gain is now prompting him to work even harder to rep for both Filipinos and the gay community.
Fortunately, Paul Pablo got the gig of a lifetime. He was selected to join the Philippine artist lineup of Spotify RADAR.
The digital music service's global artist development program uplifts emerging artists on the global and local stages, empowering them to connect with new audiences and fans. Specifically, Spotify RADAR enables borderless access for Filipino artists to be discovered by new audiences.
"Being able to be part of this opportunity with Spotify RADAR, I was able to say that it’s possible pala to reach out to a lot of people, a lot of Filipinos—not just here in the Philippines, but globally [so] that [they] can relate to my story."
"Somehow, it inspired me to not change my storytelling for my songs that I won’t hide na bakla ako sa aking songs. I know for sure na marami pang makaka-relate sa songs ko. But also, I approach my audience to address through my music in a very universal way, even if you’re not a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you can still relate to my songs," the singer shared.
Empowered and emboldened as ever, Paul Pablo wishes to be even more vocal—to raise awareness on the LGBTQIA+ community's rights and to inspire its members.
"Spotify RADAR will really help me reach out to those people. Hindi natin alam na maraming nakikinig sa Spotify ng music na naghahanap din ng story na kagaya ko, ng music na kagaya ng sa’kin. Hindi nila alam na ‘yun na pala ang kailangan nila. And Spotify will reach out to them through this platform," he illuminated.
The Spotify RADAR artist sees the opportunity as history, herstory, and our story in the making, which they couldn't be prouder to be part of.
"I think my existence in this music industry is somehow a proof na it’s really kind of challenging [for the] LGBTQIA+ [to] make it, to have a spot in the music industry. Because it’s not yet really like the unusual thing sa atin. Right now, since Spotify is doing this opportunity, it’s just proving na being gay is not a hindrance to making something happen. My existence right now here is proof of that," Paul Pablo concludes.