In the latest milestone for Alexa Ilacad, the young star drops her original composition, Paano, a heartbreak anthem of a love lost.
What people don’t realize is, Alexa Ilacad has been in the game longer than most of her peers. With nearly two decades of experience, you she is a seasoned pro who has gone from child actor, budding pop artist, and now, a young woman with an admirable personality. But despite this, the 21 year old was sometimes seen as underrated or under-appreciated. However, 2022 is already looking up for her, because with a mindset that is going to change, we are going to see a lot more of Alexa Ilacad.
Following her much talked-about stint in the latest celebrity edition of Pinoy Big Brother, Alexa emerged with a legion of new fans and renewed attention in people appreciating her. Because if there’s one thing you need to know about Alexa Ilacad, it’s that the multi-hyphenate star has real talent and likes to keep it real. And that is on display with her latest single Paano, a heartbreak pop anthem that was inspired by a personal pain years ago. In a one-on-one interview with NYLON Manila, the young star opens up about how Paano came to be, her time in PBB, and what misconceptions about her she wants to dispel.
A SONG TO CALL HER OWN
Alexa always wanted to write her own music. The problem though was that she didn’t know where to start. While she wasn’t into writing songs back then, all that changed in 2016. After experiencing a heartbreak, Alexa, who was understandably hurt, found ways to deal with a lot of thoughts and emotions. While on a car ride, Alexa brought out her phone and wrote on the notes app all the questions running through her head. And she did this while it was raining, as if nature itself wanted to help. After letting it all out, she realized that what she put down was applicable for a song, so she reached out to her best friend and vocalist of Gracenote, Eunice Jorge, to help produce the song and turn it to what it is today.
Above anything else, Alexa is most proud that she could call Paano her own. “I wanted to finally release something that is my own composition. And Paano being the first song I’ve ever wrote, it’s really special to me. And it’s something that I worked on with my best friend, who I also chose to produce the track. It’s a really special song to me.” She half-jokingly adds, “This is the perfect time, kasabay nang Valentines kasi hindi naman lahat masaya on Valentines. So, madami rin mare-relate sa Paano.”
While Paano is a pop song, its lyrics and vocals express hurt and sadness. It serves as a retelling of sorts for the heartache Alexa felt in 2016. And while the final song carries that same energy, it went through some extensive changes for it’s current release, or as Alexa describes, a full 180 switch. “It used to be just a really chill acoustic song, then we turn that into this really heavy pop, a little bit of electro pop, and with effects, with a lot of elements in the song. And with the words as well, we changed it up a bit. Because I was really young when I wrote it back then. So, we wanted it to sound more mature.”
Having written the song nearly six years ago, Alexa Ilacad has clearly moved on. So, when it came time to revisit the track for its current releases, she channeled her acting prowess. “It’s like acting, like I had to be in character. I had to internalize the song so that I could give the emotions and it could be heard through my voice. So, of course, I had to visits those days where I was heartbroken. And I revisited the memories that led me to writing to Paano. And then I hope that’s what people hear when they hear the song.”
If you’ve been following Alexa’s musical career as of late, then you would have known that Alexa’s music has been mostly catchy pop tunes and high pitched vocals that talk about love. Her past two singles, Love At First Sight and Stay Right Here, are realizations of that. But Paano differs in both sound and tone. The pop ballad is her first Tagalog single since signing with her new record label, Off The Record. It’s also less upbeat and bouncy than her previous singles as she lists of a cascade of questions that went behind the breakup and what she felt going through it.
As such, Alexa hopes that her fans feel the rollercoaster of emotions when they hit play on the track. More importantly, the single also represents the bond Alexa has with her fans. “I know my fans have followed my journey. And they know what this song is about. So, I just want to share my story. And I know that they will appreciate it and I hope that they feel my side of the story.”
HER TIME IN PBB
With everything Alexa Ilacad has going for her: talent, drive, and personality, she always had the potential to really break through. And she got that extra push for people to really pay attention to her through joining PBB. It didn’t take a lot of convincing for Alexa to say yes. “I’ve always wanted to join and they’ve always been trying to place me in a different seasons. So, finally, this was God’s perfect timing for me to enter the celebrity edition.”
Her time on the show was exciting, to say the least, and she arguably was one of the highlights. More people got to see her for who she truly is and recognize what she had to offer. Alexa also formed relationships with many of the housemates that have continued strong past their time on the show and made fans giddy mainly with KD Estrada, Benedix Ramos, and Eian Rances.
“It’s quite overwhelming honestly” says the young actor and musician. “Every day, we have so much. My house looks like a flower shop and a balloon shop…and so much food arriving every day. And when they know that I’m sick or that I’m sad, they send care packages right away. It’s just so overwhelming the love that I’ve been receiving and not complaining, I’m really enjoying it. And just the hype of the people online, it’s really fun to engage with them, because they’re so pumped. And it’s just so nice to see all these supporters.” She entered the house with her Alexanators behind her back and left with even more fandoms supporting her. “It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced before. And I’m just so thankful.”
A STRONG PERSONALITY
Aside from the bonds she formed on the show, what stood out to a lot of viewers was Alexa’s confident and strong personality. She kept it real on the show, whether it be about how she felt, her struggles, or her dedication. “I’m competitive, but only with myself. Not with other people. But I love to push myself to the extremes. So, I guess I’m just really hungry for my passion. That’s where the drive and the motivation comes from,” Alexa expresses.
That motivation and drive though wasn’t warmly received by everyone. Some viewers, including some of the housemates, took Alexa’s confidence for her having an attitude. This is a misconception that Alexa is ready to dispel. “People think I’m mataray and I’m masungit, and I’m maarte. I have my bad days, but it’s not like an everyday thing. It’s just because I have a resting b*tch face. And people think I’m very intimidating because you know, when I walk, I keep my head held high. And I have a really strong personality. So, sometimes people aren’t ready for that. And therefore naisip nila that I’m mataray. But if people get to know me, I’m really a softy.”
NEW LOOK ON LIFE
It’s safe to say that Alexa’s time on PBB was life changing, not just for her career or how she approaches her music, but how she views her own life. “It changed my perception on life and on people, like about people how to handle situations, and how to handle myself. It changed me in ways that I didn’t think were possible, but all for the better. So I’m really thankful for PBB. It’s something that I will never regret. And I’m so glad that I did.”
Alexa’s PBB journey gave her newfound respect and attention from many people. “Super nakakakilig na people finally appreciate my talents,” she relays. But this new attention also means that more people have eyes on you, including those who want to see you fail. For Alexa though, she isn’t sweating that too much. “Whatever I showed, during my time, in PBB, it’s just really who I am. So, I wasn’t trying to act any part of it. I don’t have to keep up with any image that I presented that because whatever you saw inside that, that was just me, what you see is what you get with me.”
She furthers, “Now well just with all the new attention, I just have to be more careful, as well. And because I have this new platform, I have to use it wisely. And to be careful with the things I say and the things I do just so I don’t disappoint anyone.”
NEXT BIG THING
New fans, new song, new opportunities, Alexa Ilacad is starting her 2022 on a high note. So, what does she hope to achieve for the year? While she was tight-lipped on what exactly she was going to do next, be it a movie, show, album, or even concert, she did lay down goals for her to reach. “I just want to continue on creating art. That’s my goal. I want to work on so many projects. I want to work on passion projects regarding music as well. And I want to continue with my advocacy, which is helping stray animals and animal shelters. So, those are still my main focus. It’s just like every year it’s still the same. Just maybe improve myself and other ways I can.”
Given how music is intertwined with Alexa’s life, it’s no surprise to learn then that she did write songs while inside the house about her experience there and the other housemates. And while there aren’t any concrete plans set in stone, she is hopeful to turn those drafts into officially recorded songs soon. Speaking of the housemates, Alexa also shared how she’s looking forward to making music with KD Estrada, whom she called her soulmate. “Oh, yeah, for sure. KD and I, we’re gonna make a bunch of songs.”
Starting with her new single, Paano, which Alexa can proudly call her own, Alexa Ilacad has a bright future ahead of her, more so now than ever. Now, moving past her heartbreak and with a trove of lessons learned, she wants to keep moving forward, fostering her passions along the way. And this is something Alexa wanted aspiring musicians and creatives to take to heart. “Never stop creating, never stop learning. I thought I didn’t have it in me. But one day you will discover it and just keep believing in yourself. And keep creating lang like, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s cheesy or it’s corny, just love your own art. And one day you will know some people will love it as well and support that. So, just hold on to that dream until it becomes a reality.”