I’m sure you’ve heard of the stereotype that pop is for airheads.
But I’m also sure (I sure hope so) that you’ve heard that pop music is capable of so much more than churning out Top 40 hits — or rather, that there is so much more depth and complexity to Top 40 hits. Case in point: artists like Lorde and Robyn make music that squarely fits into the pop genre, but offer much more than just bubblegum.
One artist who hopes one day to join these ranks is Ena Mori. Ena is a halfJapanese, half-Filipino singer-songwriter signed under Offshore Music, Ely Buendia’s label. Her music is a blend of lively synths and bass that’s hard not to dance to whether you’re in the club or in your room. Needless to say, it slaps.
Right now, Ena is gearing up to launch her EP on Feb. 27, which will contain remastered versions of her first few singles along with some new music. I caught up with Ena to talk about, well, her music, her new EP, and what makes pop cooler than you think.
YOUNG STAR: Tell me about how you first got into making music.
ENA MORI: Actually, I started doing music in general when I was six years old. I started with classical piano — I was that Asian kid who would go to competitions. Chopin, Mozart, you name it. I was doing that for 12, 13 years. And when I was 10, that’s when I realized it’s really fun when I write the songs and I don’t have to play other people’s songs.
I professionally started after college. It was actually three of my songs — Light, Got U Good and Walk Away — those were my thesis songs. It went well, so I released them and that’s when it all happened. I took up Music Production in CSB.
What was it that drew you to make pop music?
Actually, I really explored (a lot), obviously, from classical, to jazz, and all the experimental music. But I always wanted to write pop songs that are pushing the boundaries. A lot of people underestimate pop, a lot of people are like, “Oh, you listen to pop… you’re so not cool.’ (Laughs) But pop is so cool. So yeah, I wanted to write pop songs that are actually appreciated by a lot of people.
Which musicians do you look up to and influence your work?
I love Lorde. Lorde is one of my biggest influences — and I think you can hear that in my music. Robyn is one of my big influences also. And new artists like (the Norwegian singer-songwriter) Sigrid, and (the pop band) Muna — they’re good influences of mine.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it yet?
Actually, I don’t know how… but maybe synth-pop? Synth-pop with a little bit of Japanese style to it. Since I’m half Japanese, I have history with that music. Very poppy, synth, candy pop.
Tell me about your upcoming EP. What has been the most rewarding and challenging part about making it?
The rewarding part is that it wasn’t that hard to make this it. This EP is kind of like a compilation of my old works — Got U Good and everything — but I remastered it, I made it a little bit newer so the audience can hear the difference.
Overall, it was really fun, and very… kind of like me, introducing myself to the music world. It’s kind of my portfolio. I think it wasn’t that challenging, although it was hard for me to make my old songs into something new again. Because as an artist I’m always evolving, and when I listen to Got U Good, I sound like a baby, even if it was just two years ago. I think that was a hard thing, like how can I make it new?
Are there any new songs on your EP we should watch out for?
Yes, there’s one song that’s new. It’s called Safe Zone. I’m also releasing one song that’s the first demo of Light. So yeah, two songs.
Which one is your favorite among the songs in your EP?
It’s so easy. (Laughs) Safe Zone. ‘Cause that’s my newest song. And I actually like the meaning of it: Safe Zone is… you know when you’re liked by someone, and at the time you don’t like that person? But when (that) someone moves on, that’s when you kinda like, “Wait… hold on, I like you though.” (Laughs) That feeling of realizing your value after you lose that person — that’s what the song’s about.
Catch the launch of Ena Mori’s EP on Thursday, Feb. 27 at XX XX in La Fuerza Plaza, Chino Roces Ave., Makati. There will be an exhibit by Miel Maker of Things, and performances by BP Valenzuela, Clara Benin, Syd Hartha, and Shanne Dandan. Tickets are at P300.