From busking on the streets of Melbourne to performing on stages around the world, RINI is that R&B star that should be on your playlist.
Love is one of the most ubiquitous topics in music. No matter what genre it may be, love will always find a way to be at the center of the discussion. It’s a topic so used, it can be hard to be surprised when listening to a love song and trying to find new ways to relate to it. If that’s the case for your listening habits, then you probably don’t have RINI in your playlist.
Justerini Sandoval, who more commonly goes by his stage name RINI, was born in the Philippines and spent a good portion of his childhood in the country. Later on, he and his family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where RINI developed his love for the R&B sound. Turning to genre greats like Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, and Kehlani, RINI began sharing his work independently online to a growing audience. Soon, his slow and sensual R&B told through his sultry falsetto and soul-stirring voice caught the attention of Warner Music, who signed the rising star.
A move to Los Angeles, and scoring hits like My Favorite Clothes and Meet Me in Amsterdam, solidified his status as one to watch out for. Currently on his world tour, which will include a stop in Manila in July, RINI is bringing his impeccable talent for turning mundane events into moving bops in all four corners of the globe.
Before he embarks on the Asian and Australian leg of his tour, we got the chance to chat with the 24-year-old artist, where he opened up about his artistry, Filipino roots, getting to perform in the Philippines, and more. Read on below for the full interview.
Where did your stage name of RINI come from?
RINI really came from the last four letters of my first name which is Justerini.
How did you fall in love with music?
I fell in love with music at an early age, My dad was very into music. He would always be blasting music in the house, sometimes with them big ass speakers so that the whole street could hear it. My interest in guitar sparked up when I was in primary school. My dad would bring home instruments from when he goes overseas for work and that’s how I was able to get on the guitar.
When it comes to your music, you’re known for your take on the warm side of R&B. How did you settle on this side of the genre?
I grew up listening to a lot of Rock and Pop music, but R&B didn’t come until later on when I moved to Australia. As a teen, I was into breakdancing and hip-hop and also I played guitar for my church. This was the time that R&B became the genre that I was able to connect with the most.
The way you write love songs has often been praised by fans and critics. Where do you get the inspiration to pen down your lyrics?
The way I write is through my personal experience, or at least inspired by it. I always try to connect with a song emotionally before I put it out because that way it stays in its raw and honest form. A lot of the things I write about is what I am currently going through or a friend is going through or what a character from a movie could be going through.
From growing up in the Philippines, moving to Melbourne, and living in LA, how has your multicultural upbringing impacted your music?
I’m grateful to have been able to experience life as a kid in the Philippines, it’s very very humbling to look back at it and realize how far I’ve come. I feel like each chapter of my life has helped me become the person I am today, and I guess it wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t end up this way. I’m also very proud to be representing the Filipinos and our culture especially in an industry where there’s really not a lot of us that really came from the motherland.
Has the way you make music now changed as compared to when you started as an independent artist
Yes, I definitely think my music has grown from the time I started putting music out independently. I’m always learning and trying new things out and I always aim to do better.
Are there any Filipino musicians you like to listen to or would love to collaborate with?
I definitely listen to a couple of Filipino artists, even the oldies. But someone I’d love to collaborate with that’s a Filipino artist is Olivia Rodrigo. Her music is so dope!
You are set to perform in Manila on July 19 as part of your current world tour. How does it feel getting to perform for a Filipino crowd?
It feels so surreal that this is going to be the first time that I get to perform in the place where I was born. It’s the very first time that I’m going back home as a musician and not just someone who grew up there. So, it’s definitely a new thing for me and I don’t think I’ve even processed the thought completely. I’m just so excited for what’s to come 🙂
What can Pinoy fans expect from your Manila show?
They’re gonna have a great time and they’ll be vibing to these songs for real. Also, I’m excited to speak in Tagalog for the whole show.
Did you ever think your life would lead you to where you are now?
Not in a million years but I’m blessed to have the life I have and the opportunity to be able to share my gift and inspire people. That’s all glory to my creator.
For your new and potential fans out there, what songs of yours do you think they should check out if they want to know who RINI is?
I think My Favorite Clothes is such a crowd favorite and a RINI classic so that will always set the tone for new listeners, but I would love them to hear the newest song My Luv because I’m developing new sonics every time.
What advice would you give to young artists who hope to start a career in music?
My best advice is to know that each of us possess something unique and are able to bring something special to the music, we just need to dive deep into it and be really passionate and love what we do. Another important advice is to always treat people with respect and remember to look back where you came from, it’ll keep you grounded.
Photos by Yudo Kurita.
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