“What does that mean?” The artist formerly known as Lourdes Maglinte ponders, as a hairstylist makes quick work parting her hair into smaller sections. The ends, fading from an emerald green dye, frame her face like a faux bob though the singer takes no notice, her attention focused on applying light makeup.
It was the Wednesday before the official launch of Ruin the Party, and LOURDES (she’s dropped the last name and turned the caps lock on) was getting a complete hair transformation at MIRA Beauty by Design. Her glam squad for that afternoon, led by the salon’s Beauty Director Hannah Esguerra, was preparing to bleach LOURDES’ hair and give her the rose gold hue she’s requested while we were making jokes about touching base with us when she’s even more famous than she already is.
“Being famous,” she clarifies after a swipe of color on her eyebrows. “I don’t think I have fans. But I have friends who go to my gigs.”
In a way, this rings true. After all, as much as Cebu’s music industry is growing, it’s still a tight-knit community that unites familiar faces, most of which end up becoming friends (sometimes lovers).
But following LOURDES’ logic, she certainly has a lot of friends—6,873 monthly listeners on Spotify, 3,823 fans on Facebook, 1,389 followers on Instagram, and 413 on Twitter where she unabashedly comes for the spilled tea. A good chunk of those numbers, it can be assumed, show up in person at her gigs, of which she’s had a lot already at this point.
Even before her debut album—and yes, it’s hard to believe she’s never had one until now—LOURDES has achieved success and corresponding fame in the Queen City of the South. Having written songs since the age of 14, her song “Laylay” performed by Chai Fonacier won second place at the very first Vispop Music Festival in 2013. Two years later, LOURDES herself was Vispop 3.0’s Grand Champion, winning for “Buwag Balik” which she wrote and performed. She has also released the hit singles “Empty Sheets” featuring Kyle Wong of the Wonggoys, and “2 Cents” which still gets significant airplay in local radio stations to this day and is, as the millennials say, a bop.
LOURDES also ventured into theatre, starring as the comical yet endearing leading lady Inday in Offbeat Concepts Production House’s homegrown production Gugmang Giatay the Musical, which ran all the way from 2015 to 2017 with a final show at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Manila. Theatre, LOURDES discloses in an interview with SunStar Cebu, requires a hardcore discipline that sharply contrasts with her experience in singing and songwriting in which she describes as, “there are no boundaries.”
While ultimately discovering her passion for theatre and music is one and the same, LOURDES has been focusing on music these days, which leads us to Ruin the Party. Produced by 22 Tango Records CEO Cattski Espina, the album is described as an unapologetic celebration of life, love, and loss with inspirations drawn from the music of the nineties, particularly influences from TLC, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Sade, and Macy Gray.
“The previous albums I’ve produced had a folk quality into them. In fact, LOURDES’ debut single released in 2016 [“Empty Sheets”] had a pop-folk singer-songwriter sound,” discloses Cattski. “But LOURDES has grown and evolved as an artist, and I discovered that she really has a natural soul, neo-soul, R&B, hip-hop swag, and I’ve always wanted to explore crafting that sound.”
All 11 tracks, I could attest from the album’s first listen earlier this month, certainly achieve the nostalgic vibe Cattski and LOURDES were going for—a sound that plays to LOURDES’ strengths, both in vocals and in songwriting. With the former, the songs evoke a reminder of how 90’s music allows singers to go all out in expressing themselves without the songs being obnoxiously loud or difficult to listen to—power anthems, if I may.
As for the latter, LOURDES is a great songwriter who manages to pen down emotions without being too melodramatic and overly corny. With her impeccable command on words, although the themes of her songs are universal, they’re expressed in new and thought-provoking, sassy ways. It’s especially refreshing to hear that even with the more mellow songs, the lyrics are never condescending to anyone, be it the singer or who she’s singing about; rather, they remain uplifting and even empowering.
On the feel good end, LOURDES’ upbeat songs really make you want to cheer her on, or give her a high-five and an entire bucket of beer—maybe all of the above.
There’s a lot to be said about the deliberate choice of “Ruin the Party” as the opening anthem. Besides being the album’s namesake, it’s an excellent track that sets the mood to the entire album perfectly. The first verses are especially striking and enamors you to sit through the rest of the song, as well as the album.
The song is also, as my good friend Manna puts it, “very 2019.” It’s a commentary of modern dating situations, with descriptions being very uncanny (“Believe me when I say I’ve learned my lesson, but I still backread old conversations.” #tooreal).
“Fuck Feelings” is another standout song, one that well deserves having a second acoustic version making the tracklist. In my head, both Cattski and LOURDES (near mother-daughter in so many ways) bantered and bickered which one should make it in the album, and ultimately decided to shake hands on it and included both because they were just so good. I could be completely wrong of course, but it totally could have happened.
“Cheers”, “Save Someday”, and “Sad Parts” bring a more mellow sound to the album, a welcome reprieve from the more exuberant tracks but by no means are they less vibrant. In fact, the quiet allows LOURDES’ stunning vocals to really shine, and also lets the listener really absorb her striking songwriting. It’s reminiscent of a young Adele—a frequent comparison.
Her hit single “2 Cents” also makes the cut, as it is consistent with the album’s themes of “saying what you want to say, and meaning it,” according to LOURDES.
The rest of the songs remain to be discovered when Ruin the Party drops on November 30. Produced, mixed, and mastered by Room Eleven Recording Studio, the album will be available over Spotify, Deezer, Amazon MP3, and Apple Music.
01 Ruin The Party
02 2 Cents
03 Man Who Couldn’t Stay
04 Save Someday
05 Start A Fire (feat. Various Artists)
06 Sad Parts
07 Fuck Feelings
09 Vagina Song
11 Fuck Feelings (Alt.)
November 30 will also be the album’s launch party at Draft Punk: Brewers and Skewers. The event will feature performances by fellow homegrown acts Alice Who, Sepia Times, and Wonggoys. LOURDES CDs, t-shirts, and other merchandise will also be available for sale. Door fee is at Php 200.00 and comes with free beer.
As for her hair? Well, let’s just say LOURDES is really out to Ruin the Party—and ready to make more friends along the way.
Ruin the Party: The Album Launch is sponsored by Sun Cellular, Filipino Homes, Dr. S. Wong’s Sulfur Soap, Efficascent Relaxing Oil, Omega Advance, Que Pasa, FatBoys Production, MDF Productions, Skin 911, and MIRA Beauty by Design.
PHOTOGRAPHY Kurt Fick HAIR & MAKEUP Chady Pantaleon STYLING Vanessa East