Long-time friends Dom Guyot and Janine Berdin need to make music together more often.
It is sometimes said that you shouldn’t work with your friends in the creatives industry because of how intense it can get. But if that’s the case, Dom Guyot and Janine Berdn did not get the memo. After all, why slay alone when you can slay with your bestie? While Dom and Janine have known each other for years, it was only in May 2023 that the world first got to hear what a collab between the two sounds like with habangbuhay/habang buhay. The song about unrequited love is a magical manifestation of music and an example of what happens when two bffs vibe on the same track.
TEN YEARS OF LOVE
“We met more than 10 years ago in Cebu because we went to the same high school together,” shares Janine on how she and Dom first met, proving once again the power of high school friendships. “I was a first-year high school student, and Dom was a fourth-year high school student, and we became the best pair of friends.”
While the two had a bit of a year-level difference, that didn’t stop them from clicking, particularly when it came to music. At the time, the two would share singing videos on social media, with Dom and Janine being the first to like each other’s posts. Beyond their common love for music, the OPM stars connected on a deeper level that only bffs can understand. As Doms says, “No one really got us the way we did. And also, Janine is just really love and light, and that’s the type of people I want to attract.” He adds, “[E]ver since then, we’ve been supporting each other, and being that one call away partner in crime.”
Dom and Janine’s high school friendship quickly blossomed into something special that has continued well into their musical careers. As such, a friendship this beautiful could make a captivating song, which came in the form of habangbuhay/habang buhay.
A MAGICAL MOMENT
When Dom began writing the track, he initially didn’t have a specific person in mind. “I just had the concept of like when you have unrequited love for one another,” he shares. That is, until, during a casual night of the two hanging out, Dom played Janine the track. The two were in Janine’s condo, and the hangout session sparked something special.
“When I heard the track, I was just like, ‘Oh my god, this has to be our first collab,’” recalls Janine. Believe it or not, despite being friends for over ten years, the two have yet to release an official collaboration. But habangbuhay/habang buhay had that special feel that made it worthy of being their first official release together. “This has to be it because we have been talking about writing and being on each other’s songs for a long time, but nothing really gave us the push to actually release any,” voices Janine.
From that night, the Tawang ng Tanghalan winner hopped on the track, turning it into a song that portrays two different perspectives of unrequited love from people longing and pining for one another. For Dom, Janine’s inclusion was that missing piece that the track needed. “She added the magic that was missing. And that is the truth. When Janine hopped on it, it was just that extra spice, that extra kumbaya, the extra sizzle that just makes it the way it is. For some reason, adding not only a female vocalist, pero Janine’s vocals, the Tawag ng Tanghalan champion, it just gives it that magic talaga,” he states. “I think her verse gives it that depth. Now, not only is it about my unrequited love, but also the unrequited love of a young woman who’s ready to move forward and give it a go. And I just think that it gives it that more profound way of encapsulating your feelings.”
While the combined might of Dom Guyot and Janine Berdin is indeed special, what makes habangbuhay/habang buhay hit harder is its production. The doo-wop sound with different instrumentals like piano, guitar, and drums gives it a soulful energy that makes you feel like you’re floating on clouds. The addition of modern elements, such as the lo-fi spice, completes this ear-tingling recipe.
“We knew what vibe we wanted. We knew we wanted that very doo-wop influence,” explains Dom on the track’s production. “We made sure that we stay true to the core meaning of the song, and that was encapsulated not only in the vocals but also in the instrumentals. You can hear how loving and warm it will make you feel, especially with the strings, the horns, the pianos, and the harmonies.”
A HABANGBUHAY/HABANG BUHAY FRIENDSHIP
Needless to say, the making of this whole song was a dream come true for Dom and Janine. Everything came together at the right time, which made making the song a breeze. Despite Dom and Janine being some of OPM’s bright young stars, there was no diva behavior behind the scenes. “It was so easy and quick. We haven’t argued about it ever,” quips Dom. Furthers Janine, “[I]t’s normal to argue, and we’re honest naman to each other. If we don’t like it, we tell each other. But the thing about the track is we loved what we gave on the table.”
The two gave what needed to be given as their friendship proved the perfect background for their synchronization. While on the outside looking in, some may see the two as opposites, Dom sees that as one of their advantages. “This is one thing about our friendship, if you look at Janine, she’s very much an alt and indie pop girl, and I’m very much slay boy extra. For some reason, it just really works. We’re on the opposite sides of the music spectrum, but when we came together, I think it’s the Lo-Fi bond and the Korean R&B bond.”
Even when just talking to them over a square screen over Zoom, the bestie energy they radiate practically leaps off the screen. Their goals of a friendship translated to habangbuhay/habang buhay. It’s proof that they need to collab more, and, as they tease, more collaborations are indeed in the works. The two frequently play to each other the songs they’re working on, so the spirit of collaboration isn’t far from them. This surreal moment for Dom and Janine also encapsulates how wholesome this celebrity friendship is. From high school students to full-fledged musicians, this habang buhay/habangbuhay friendship will last a lifetime.
While some friendships fall apart after a few years, those fake friend allegations will never reach Dom Guyot and Janine Berdin. Their secret to a healthy friendship? Honesty and understanding. “I think it’s all about compromising and being there for each other. And just really being honest about your feelings,” reveals Dom. “[O]nce you start faking it, that’s when it crumbles. And for us kasi, like we will be honest about how we feel about each other. It’s really nice to have that someone who walks through the industry with me.” And just like that, we’re taking notes to apply to our friendships.