Jason Dhakal on His Journey with Spotify RADAR—From Local Sensation To The Global Stage

An artist who needs to be on your playlist.

With his soulful and sultry tracks, Jason is ready to take on the global stage with Spotify RADAR.

Related: Sing It Loud, Sing It Proud: These Queer Filipino Musicians Are Unapologetically Raising Their Voices For The LGBTQIA+ Community 

RADAR embodies the essence of discovering fresh talent on Spotify, encouraging listeners to explore new musical horizons and assisting artists in transitioning into their next chapters. Since its blast-off in 2020, RADAR has served as a home for uncovering up-and-coming sounds and spotlighting rising stars poised for international recognition. In the Philippines, RADAR has been instrumental in helping skyrocket several chart-topping artists to the global stage, including Arthur Nery, Ben&Ben, and SB19.

In line with its dedication to supporting all local talents (and spicing up your playlists), this year marks the continuation of the platform’s commitment with the introduction of the RADAR Philippines Class of 2024. Among the featured artists is none other than Jason Dhakal—an R&B singer-songwriter renowned for sultry and soulful tracks like Body & Soul, ur man, and what’s ur move?. His cover of Para Sa Akin going viral was just a taste of the talent and bops the musician has to offer. He’s helping take Pinoy R&B to new heights, and all while being his unapologetic self.

Explore everything from the stories behind his songs to insights into his inspirations as you delve deeper into Jason’s journey and his preparedness to expand his musical footprint onto the global stage in an exclusive interview with Jason Dhakal and Spotify RADAR.

Being selected as one of RADAR Philippines Artists is a significant achievement. What was your reaction when you found out, and what does this opportunity signify to you?

I’m really grateful. I’ve been on Spotify for a while, and now getting to meet the people behind Spotify—they’ve been nothing but welcoming—I’m just excited for the entire campaign.

Could you describe your evolution as an artist leading up to this point? How has your music changed or grown over time?

I think it has changed a lot. A couple of years ago, I wasn’t with a recording label, and I was doing everything very independently. I think it helped me navigate how to be in shoots; like, I first started here as a model—all of these things I got to incorporate and learn from. Now that I’m an artist, it’s like a full-circle moment for me.

Every artist has their source of inspiration. What inspires your music, and how do you aim to inspire others through your work?

I listen to a lot of music—Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu—these artists are my sources of inspiration. Actually, a lot of things inspire me; movies, for instance, and sometimes simply observing people outside while I’m in the car. Then again, being myself and being confident, while embracing life’s beauty, is how I hope to inspire others as an artist.

Spotify RADAR is known for propelling artists onto the global stage. What are you most looking forward to in this program?

I’m looking forward to the possibility of attending an event or live performance. I really want to see all of these RADAR artists perform and hang out with them.

Now that you’re part of this program, what big dreams or goals do you feel are within reach? 

For me, my biggest dream would be solidifying my spot in the industry, or just elongating my career for as long as I can. Like, I want to do this until I’m dead; that’s my biggest dream and Spotify is helping me achieve that.

With the global exposure that comes with Spotify RADAR, how do you plan to engage with your new international audience?

I hope this opportunity becomes a catalyst for me to tour outside of the Philippines and explore other places. With that, I would love to collaborate with international artists as well. And you know what? Call me crazy, but right now, I’m itching to perform in Brazil, maybe in a bossa nova bar!

Your music has the power to connect and resonate with many. As one of the Spotify RADAR artists, what key messages or themes do you want to highlight through your projects?

That I’m gay. Honestly, I think it’s both unserious and so serious because when do you see a queer person in front of the camera? Usually, queer individuals are behind the scenes; they’re the hair and makeup artists, they’re the stylists. For me, that’s more of a logistical issue, but imagine if there’s one successful queer artist, then that could encourage other labels to invest in other queer individuals too.

In the face of the competitive global music scene, what advantages or unique qualities do you see in yourself as an artist from the Philippines?

I grew up in a different place; I’m from Oman. I’ve never really met many people from there, so when I was talking to my best friend from Oman, there was really no one with the same point of view. No one can understand in the same way; no one can create what I do, and that’s just me. I think that’s my advantage—growing up in Oman and now living in the Philippines.

Moving forward, how do you see your music evolving to continue making an impact on the global stage while staying true to your roots?

I’m 23 now, so I’m in my young adult era. I will evolve, that’s for sure, especially now when I’m making music; there’s such a big difference. I’m more intentional with what I want to release and how I want to present myself publicly. And, at this moment, even I can only imagine what’s next for me.

Photos courtesy of Spotify Philippines

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