Celebrated singer-songwriter Ebe Dancel recently released his latest single "Tanging Kailangan" under Widescope Entertainment, were he is currently residing as it's A&R (Artist and Repertoire) Representative. The song was produced by close friend and manager Rico Blanco and mixed and mastered by Angelo Rozul. Ria Villena-Osorio did piano and the string arrangements while Noel Mendez (guitar), Roger Alcantara (bass), Pao Santiago (drums), Dino Decena (violin 1, viola), Jascha Obieta (violin 2) and Jopi Vergara Doestra (cello) round out the musicians.
One Music PH recently had the fortune of getting aninterview with him...
One Music PH: Let’s talk about “Tanging Kailangan”…
Ebe Dancel: The new single is called “Tanging Kailangan”, produced by my manager Rico Blanco and it’s my second single under Widescope Entertainment. I wrote it a few days…uh, two days before Christmas if I’m not mistaken. Someone asked me what I wanted for my birthday, ‘di ko ma-articulate, so I wrote that song instead, and I’ve had my share of wedding shows as well, so I get bored of watching the whole ceremony. Parang andami kong naririnig na mga wedding vows, so I wanted to make my own. It’s a very honest take, it’s not “I promise you the moon and the stars…”, but rather what you’re getting is a very flawed person who will keep trying. That’s basically what “Tanging Kailangan” is all about.
One Music PH: As somebody who’s probably done more wedding gigs than most artists, does it ever get boring and taxing at some point?
Ebe Dancel: No, weddings are always fun, kasi lahat ng tao masaya eh. ‘Di tulad ng gig meron lang mahihila diyan, ‘yung mga ayaw naman talagang sumama pero parang ‘yung buong barkada pupunta, so sige na nga! Weddings, the mood is always festive and I’m almost always surprised at the bride, rarely the groom. ‘Yung nakakapagod (lang) is ‘yung kailangan ko magtago, like I have to stay in a hotel room for hours or I have to hide in the van. Sometimes I’m at backstage and it’s really dark ‘cause it’s not a concert eh, so ‘yung likod ng stage, likod lang talaga ng stage. So there’s no crew, there’s no lights, nothing. My most memorable wedding (that I played in) I think was my first time in San Juan, La Union. Si Jericho Rosales tinawagan niya ko, “Bro, best man ako ng wedding sa La Union, can I get you to play?” Tapos sabi niya beach gig, so laban! But the thing is I had to be in a hotel room siguro from around 9am until 7pm kasi San Juan the surf town, it’s small, so’pag nakita ka ng isang tao, andali na lang kumalat. Then the couple, Guji and Nikki, I ended up being really good friends with them.
One Music PH: Your single prior to this “Manatili” is every bit as beautiful as “Tanging Kailangan", but “Manatili” does have this reassuring component that can be correlated to mental health issues that are becoming more rampant these days because of the pandemic. As somebody who’s no stranger to issues like this before, how important for you was being able to somehow touch on it with this song?
Ebe: You know what, the story about “Manatili”, is that I wrote it in a middle of a panic attack around 3am. I woke up and my hands were shaking and I didn’t know what to do, so I started strumming a guitar and I wrote the song just to calm me down. And you are right, this pandemic talaga has really made things worse for people like me who’s struggled with mental health. Siguro ‘yung reassurance, it’s not just for the fans, it’s also a reassurance sa sarili ko na that’s me asking God to stay by my side in the most difficult time of my life…Of humanity, at least since pinanganak tayo. Had really bad situations in the past, but in this lifetime, the whole world just stopped, I just needed to tell myself, the world, and also the fans that God is with us. He’s always with us.
One Music PH: Now that you’re with Rico Blanco and Balcony Entertainment, how does your dynamic with Rico work?
Ebe: Rico and I have known each other for two decades. Wala pang Sugarfree, college band ko pa lang, nakakapanuod na siya ng show. And then, he was actually part of Sugarfree for a year, and he produced, maybe, three-fourths of Sugarfree’s first album, not a lot of people know that. And then we’ve always managed to stay in touch. Magkasundo naman kasi kami ni Rico, pareho kami ng humor, we’re both musicians, we’re both passionate about certain things. So the transition from my past management with Trici Nicolas who decided to retire to Balcony wasn’t difficult, kasi parang life goes on lang. Kasi in the first place, 95% of my shows are gone, so that part’s manageable. What I do appreciate about Balcony, with Rico in particular is that we have long conversations and it doesn’t always have to be about music. Nakakapurga eh, kung puro music na lang pag-uusapan. So we talk about basketball, we talk about about (the) beach, we talk about dogs, cars…He reminds me to have fun and to enjoy the process, whereas dati it was four, five shows a week, which is very difficult to manage given pa time for recording and then it’s always up to something and then I have that many shows. So now parang si Rico, nung tinanong ko siya na all these shows are gone, what do I do? Sabi niya now is the time to create, which is what we’re doing now, I’m writing songs and he’s producing.
One Music PH: How are things shaping up, can we expect an album soon?
Ebe: It’s an EP actually. Dito sa next single makikita na themed ang EP. It’s just four songs, but there’s a particular theme in mind. So the next single will give you a glimpse of what I’m trying to accomplish here. Paglabas ng third single mare-realize ng mga tao kung ano yung theme, so we’ll have to wait a few months for that (‘cause) I have yet to record it, kakalabas lang naman kasi nitong “Tanging Kailangan”. We goot do the rounds, at least online and promote the single in lieu of touring bars and universities.