When I first heard Kitchie Nadal sing, I thought she sounded like nobody else. It was our senior year in high school and we had a band, practicing for our Graduation Ball gig. We were at her parent’s house; Kitchie had just woken up. Everything was a blur of indistinct high school chatter until she started to play Linger on her acoustic guitar, singing the song like a less angsty, more soulful Dolores O’Riordan. Back then, I didn’t think any of us had thought about doing music as a profession. Like that Bryan Adams anthem for bands short-lived, some of us quit, some got married. But it was obvious that if anyone of us were take music seriously, it would be her.
Senior year revolved around the four pillars of high school chick rock: Alanis Morisette, The Cranberries, Moonpools & Caterpillars, and Sheryl Crow. Guns ‘N Roses would interject on occasion, but the wailing of women vocalists would always prevail. “Do you still like these bands?” I ask Kitchie. “Yes, of course! I still like them especially because of the nostalgic memories they bring. A lot has changed though, since playing music has been my career and not just a hobby anymore,” she answers.
GIST plucked Kitchie from all her rockstar business for a photoshoot. Upon realizing that it wouldn’t be the usual photoshoot — in which she will be cradling a guitar, looking away from the camera, smiling — she flinched slightly. “Uy ha,” she said, in a what-are-you-going-to-make-me-do tone. Her shyness surprised me, but I knew she would make it work. After every shot we would show her the photos, and she’d say with a laugh and genuine surprise, “Ang ganda! Parang hindi ako.”
It’s been a while since I had last seen her, where is she now in her life and music? “Currently, I’m promoting my fourth album, “Malaya.” I’ve done some collaborative work with other musicians such as Aya de Leon and Bullet Dumas, which I haven’t done in a long time. It has been great, a good excuse to catch up and hang out,” she said. “When it comes to inspiration, I take it from great people like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther, to ‘ordinary’ hardworking Filipinos who refuse to just be victims of injustice. I see them on the streets every day. To me they are inspiring and have moved me in many ways, but I know that I have my own life to live and I’m thankful for what I have.”
And what she has is quite a number of unforgettable songs, and while karaoke is not her favorite thing, these are songs that many Filipinos can sing on cue. “All I know is that they were written according to what I needed to learn in the ‘season’ I was in,” she said of her hits.
During out last layout, I ask her to show her tattoo, which was on the back of her hand. She carelessly brushed her hair off her face — and that was it. We had the shot.
Which musicians have influenced your style of writing or performing?
Lately I have been listening to classic OPM music — Asin, Sampaguita, etc. I dont know how much they have influenced me by now, I just hope they do somehow!
What do you think is the weirdest thing about you?
I don’t think it’s really weird but maybe the weirdest thing about me that I could think of right now is that…I eat anything! And would most likely try disgusting food out of curiosity.
Of all the celebrities and musicians you’ve met, who has affected you most?
Cynthia Alexander. I saw her play, and when I finally met her, I found her adorable as a person. Eventually I got to work with her in arranging one of my songs called Iniibig.
Describe your most magical travel-music moment?
Alaska. I was surprised to see a lot of Filipinos, and that they were had such warm people over there, where it’s extremely cold.
Where can we see you play?
Check out Kitchie Nadal on Facebook.
Favorite color: Orange
Favorite book: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Favorite artist: Theivery Corporation
Favorite person: Yigo
Favorite drink: Dalan
Photos by WALTER BOLLOZOS | Makeup by ANTHEA BUENO of MAC Cosmetics | Hair by BRYAN YOKOTA of PHYTO