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TJ Monterde shares how watching Korean dramas helped inspire him to write new songs

“Puhon” singer TJ Monterde reveals his songwriting process while spending the ECQ alone in his condo.

BY
PUSH TEAM

FRESH SCOOPS

06/27/2020 09:43 AM
TJ Monterde shares how watching Korean dramas helped inspire him to write new songs
Photo credit: @tjmusicmonterde IG

With the release of his new single “Puhon” on Spotify this month, TJ Monterde shared the story behind the growing popularity of his Bisayan love song. “The word ‘puhon’ means God-willing or someday or in God’s time. Sa Bisaya lagi siyang ginagamit. For me it’s a word na very unique and very powerful kasi it somehow turns a situation into something automatically positive pag sinabi mo yung word na yun. And yung songwriting process ko is I usually start with words. Since sobrang fascinated ako sa word na puhon, dun ako umikot sa kuwento na yun. It’s a story of a guy who likes a girl pero medyo out of his league so ginawan ko siya ng kanta na kapag kantahin ko itong kanta na ‘to, sana magkaroon sila ng chance o pag-asa puhon. Nagawa ko yung chorus matagal na siya, in 2017, pero nakabangko lang

Natapos ko siya during this quarantine period. Kasi dito sa condo ko I have a balcony and may beautiful sunset pag hapon so yun yung parang vibe na nagbigay sa akin ng hope kasi for me the sunset gives you a hopeful vibe. Dun ko siya natapos mismo sa balcony na yun. Na someday things will be alrght. Kahit na love story siya, in general, puhon things will be fine and yung arrangement ng song na ‘to, it’s designed for it to be somehow positive in a way, may beat siya na masarap lang pakinggan,” he shared.

TJ hopes that through his song, he can help share the good vibes and positivity he felt while writing it. “Chill lang siya pakinggan na kanta na na-prove naman namin after release na kahit Tagalog-speaking people ay nagugustuhan nila yung song kahit they don’t understand it. But maybe because of the feel of the song na meron siyang upbeat na easy listening melody vibe, so dun ko parang na-prove na you don’t really need to understand everything you want to hear,” he added.


Throughout the pandemic, TJ said he had to get creative with looking for inspiration during songwriting. “Yung thought ko lang is I need to release something that would somehow lift us up in a sense. Magulo na lahat eh, so kahit man lang sa earphones mo ay masaya yung mapapakinggan mo. Yun yung naging idea nung song sa akin. Medyo mahirap siya. Akala ko madali lang kasi I’m alone, there’s solitude, you have all the time, pero hindi rin pala madali kasi medyo mauubusan ka na ng inspiration kasi hindi ka lumalabas and parang nagiging routinary lahat. As in like everyday, umaga gabi na lang, wala ng Lunes, Martes, wala ng ganun. So what I do is naka-focus ako ngayon sa online school, we have a twice a week songwriting class. Dun ako humuhugot ng inspiration and then kung ano yung what’s in front of us, isa sa mga kinukunan ko ng inspiration ngayon is Netflix. So what I watch on Netflix, I write about it,” he explained.

One source of inspiration came to him after watching Korean dramas like Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo and Crash Landing On You. “Merong times na I watch K-drama sometimes. Konti pa lang napapanuod ko pero very interesting kasi yung mga K-drama so when I watch and sobrang gustong gusto ko yung scene, kilig na kilig na yung scene or ang sakit na ng scene, I pause the TV and then I go to my instrument, piano or guitar, whatever, just to grab the moment. Hindi mo bibitawan yung emotion kasi andun na eh, you’re in the peak of it. Gandang ganda ka na sa emotion so you write it out. Yun yung minsan ginagawa ko. I joined the CLOY trend. Sobrang gustong gusto ko yun. Kasi isa sa mga interesting sa akin yung soundtrack. Merong song dun na ‘Let Us Go’ yung title . Nag-pe-play rin ako ng K-drama sa YouTube tapos imu-mute ko tapos gagawa ako ng kanta na kunwari itong kanta ko ang i-a-apply sa movie, bagay ba? Kasi ang galing ng Koreans gumawa ng song, parang sinabayan ng kanta nila yung visuals parang gusto mo rin na nandun ka. Yung simpleng naglalakad lang sila sa street ang romantic, ang sarap na gusto ko rin andun ako. So yun yung lagi kong ginagawa. Aside from CLOY, favorite ko yung Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo kasi magaan lang siya. Masarap lang, good vibes lang. Sinisimulan ko pa lang yung series ni Lee Min Ho ngayon yung The King: Eternal Monarch pero hindi ko pa siya totally makuha. Pero as much as possible I try to watch yung mga magagaan lang na mga K-drama,” he explained.

The Polyeast Records artist summed up his lockdown experience as an exercise in being creative on learning how to adapt to the new normal. “Nung una, parang masaya pa kasi may vacation. Tulog tapos Netflix pero nung umabot na ng one month, dun na ako napaisip na, ‘Hala, iba na ’to. Parang hindi na ko sanay dito. Naninibago na ako dito.’ So isa sa mga lagi kong ginagawa is I talk to my parents and my family, mga twice a day, as kin ganun ka lagi. I need to talk to people. KZ is always in my laptop. Lagi siyang naka-on. Kahit wala siyang gawin, nandiyan lang siya, present lang siya. Ganun din ako sa kanya. Tapos we go to (online) school. I watch any videos na puwede ko makunan ng knowledge kasi for me, yung hinding hindi natin gagawin ngayon is just to wait for things to go back to normal na parang andito lang tayo tapos mag-aantay lang tayo na magiging normal na lahat. Mahirap eh. So we need to adapt talaga. While we have all the time, own your craft. I invested in things na makakatulong sa akin sa new normal na ‘to like I got a new laptop, I got lights and I’ve got my internet. So these are the things that keep me busy,” he said.