Working hard and fighting for the pursuit of his passion for music, Inigo Pascual proves that there is much more to him than we realize.
Inigo Pascual likes to talk. With so much stories to tell, conversations with him run a little longer than anticipated, but it doesn’t feel like time has passed at all. While he admits to already being chatty in general, this is something he felt manifest even more amid the pandemic. “I love talking with my friends. To be honest, lately, like for the past couple of months, I’m probably on a video call with my friends at least 20 hours out of 24 hours,” he says, recalling what has helped me centered, connected, and calm thus far, aside from hugs, of course, which he is very big on. “I think that’s what I miss the most. It’s not something you talk about everyday ‘no?”
Over the year and so of being locked down and limited in life’s many liberties, we have come to realize that aside from the simple things that really do make a difference in our own definition of happiness, it is important to acknowledge our human limits when it comes to facing challenges. “In terms of creativity, I was challenged at first,” admits Inigo Pascual, who for someone as expressive as he is, was suddenly at a loss for what to say in music and otherwise. “To be honest, I didn’t know what to write about. I tried to write about the current situation on the hardships, we’re all going through, but you know it’s hard sometimes when you’re writing about something that you’re currently going through, because you just never find the right words to really express [yourself.]”
So, what did Inigo Pascual do to offset the obvious frustration? He cooked, he painted, and yes, he cleaned up. “This is kind of weird, but I find peace in cleaning up nowadays. Every time I clean up and kind of just organize things, that’s what I’m able to think about what I really feel,” he details. “Minsan kasi, the more you dig in your emotions, the more it doesn’t come out.” Following the enduring words of The Beatles, he just let it be.
In The Beginning
Brimming with so much energy and life, it isn’t hard to believe that growing up, Inigo Pascual was the type to try everything. “I was into football for a time. I was doing Taekwondo and track and field…I was doing all sorts of things,” he details of what was hardly distilled at an early age. “And you know, with all the phases that I went through in my life, one thing that never left me was music.” Gravitating towards performing, he eventually settled into an early sense of self when he found his corner in theater arts. “That’s where I felt most the confident and most comfortable,” he says.
People like to think and talk about their life’s grand plan, but rarely does it really ever follow through. In the case of Inigo Pascual, he thought he had things figured out on the entertainment front when it seemed like the stars were aligning for him when he joined a boy band in the United States. (This followed an earlier heartbreak of not being able to audition for X Factor when turned 16 because the show was canceled.) “I really thought that was it. I was like, yo, this is my dream: I want to make it in states. One of the intentions that I had was because people wouldn’t be able to say that, ‘Oh, you just made it because of your dad,’ you know what I mean?” But unfortunately, the path isn’t always paved as we would like it to be. “After that didn’t work out, I would cry myself every night when I was in Tennessee, I just felt like I didn’t belong. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing,” he recalls.
Even after finding himself back in the Philippines, this time as an actor, Inigo Pascual would always turn to music when the going would get tough—and trust that it did.
The Song Of Inigo Pascual
Despite what one will want to assume, what with his pedigree and all, it was never easy for Inigo Pascual, While music was already a part of his life, his source of happiness and outlet of emotions had to take a back seat for a while as he had to carve a space for himself in showbiz. “Every time I had to pull up a resume for something, I always would write down: I love music, I play instruments, I sing songs. Whatever, just to kind of like push it, but I was never really given the opportunity to make my own songs, not until three years down the road,” shares Inigo Pascual.
And then Dahil Sa’yo happened.
“That’s when I was given the opportunity to make my first album, but I fought for it. I was like, you know, I want to make music, but in the Philippines,” he says. By this time, everything was happening fast for Inigo Pascual, but at every opportunity to perform music onstage, he was grateful—even if he would be pulled in as a last-minute replacement. “People were starting to recognize me as a singer. So, that was very important, to have that kind of trust” he says, recounting his performance of Despacito on ASAP with Sarah Geronimo as a game-changer for him. “With music…It was always so fun to do it. I didn’t feel like I was scared to do it. I was always in that space of experimenting; in terms of what I can do with my music.” Here, he was limitless.
As a singer, people love your music and when you sing songs that you compose, it’s different whenever you hear other people singing it like, whoa, that’s something I wrote by myself and now you’re singing it, too,” he relates. “It’s a whole different experience when I’m onstage and I start hearing them singing… This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, like I just want to keep making songs that people will love and would listen to.”
Finding His Sound
It can be said that in the years of really zeroing in on music, Inigo Pascual did not only find his groove in music, but essentially, he found himself. “Music definitely made me grow up,” he says, recounting his journey thus far, especially with the recent release of his latest album, Options. “With this album, I mean, we all went through so much. It was two years in the making. So, I mean the pandemic happened, the shutdown of the company of ABS-CBN happened, but we didn’t stop. It just goes to show that, just because there are certain things around you that is kind of hindering you from your goals, that doesn’t mean that you should stop. That for me is a sign of maturity as well as, you know? Just not shortchanging your passion, your destiny or your goals, because of the current situation you’re in. I became more understanding and became more patient.”
The privilege of being to persist at and pursue his passion for music is not lost on him though. “I feel like there are other artists out there that are going through worse situations that are super talented. There’s so many artists that another super talented but can’t release music because they don’t have, you know certain things that they need just to put music out there,” says Inigo Pascual. This is why why he has opened himself up to collaborating with other artists, even in the simplest exchange of giving advice whenever he can in a Zoom call. “For them to kind of choose me to be able to say, you know, advice to them, it kind of made me feel like okay, I’m doing something right. You know, in a way, may point pala ‘tong ginagawa ko ‘di ba?”
Being able to keep the music alive and well in his own way is something that Inigo Pascual only used to dream of before, but now, it is all becoming a reality.
To this day, the child-like wonder in him still remains every time he sees his music on Spotify, being able to hear himself on the radio (Kiss FM, no less), and performing for the Filipino heritage night of the LA Clippers halftime show. “It blows my mind,” he attests. “It’s a crazy feeling to be honest, to be able to do these things like right now.”
To More Dreams
So much is happening right now for Inigo Pascual who is preparing to do something he never thought he be doing. Details are scarce and he remains tight-lipped, but he says despite not being used to it, “it’s always good to challenge yourself.”
“Mare-realize mo na hindi pala imposibleng mangarap and hindi imposible mangyari ang mga pangarap mo. It’s important to also realize that because a lot of people get lost in it. That’s one of the things that I took seriously, being in that moment when it’s happening,” he says, turning serious. “Even when I perform on stage, no matter how big or how small the audience is, for me, it’s always so much fun. Every time I hear the crowd singing the chorus of my song or even meeting people and they will tell me that they know my song or they know me from somewhere…it is a dream come true to even realize that I was somewhat becoming that person to them, because I wanted to be that. It’s cool to realize that, but at the same time, not letting it get to your head to the point that you’re mayabang about it. To me it’s still all part of the job, you know? I mean, so much as it is my dream, it is still a job that you have to do. And at the end of the day, you just have to really enjoy everything you’re doing as much as possible.”
It seems like he found the right words to say after all.
Creative direction ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA and JANN PASCUA
Art direction KENNETH DIMAANO
Photography SHAIRA LUNA
Assisted LANCE LUNA
Fashion direction LYN ALUMNO
Styling ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
Grooming JAY HERRERA
Illustrations JANN PASCUA
3D Illustration YSA CANLAS
Videography FLOYD JHOCSON
Shoot coordination LOUIS ESGUERRA
Special thanks to CORNERSTONE (ERICKSON RAYMUNDO, JEFF VADILLO, CARESS CABALLERO, PHER MOYA, LIZ ALVAREZ)