Even a canceled performance at Head In The Clouds Manila can’t dim the spirits of Ylona Garcia. The rain and lightning has nothing on how far Ylona Garcia has come in just one year.
December 10, 2022, wasn’t just any ordinary Saturday. It was supposed to be a glorious moment for Ylona Garcia as she was set to perform on day two of Head In The Clouds Manila. It would mark her first stage in the Philippines in over four years and demonstrate just how far she has come as a musician. But it seems that fate and mother nature had other plans in mind as her and August 08’s sets were canceled due to bad weather.
The announcement was a major bummer for many who waited to watch her perform. Still, a canceled performance wasn’t going to deny that Ylona is having a moment, as evidenced by how she was one of the most anticipated acts of the day. It is also a trajectory that looks to continue rise in 2023. A day before her now-canceled performance at HITC Manila, NYLON Manila got the chance to speak with the young artist where she clued us in on a performance that would have been, being in Manila, manifestation, and more.
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Technically, Ylona didn’t have to wait long to come back to the Philippines. She was actually in the country this past November for family. But this trip felt extra special because it was the first time in four years she was in the country mainly as Ylona, the musician. It was a moment that brought a bag of feelings for her.
“It feels nerve-racking. Seeing the fans again, seeing people who do know me as Ylona Garcia from PBB, ASAP, or just the things that I’ve done here,” says the Filipino-Australian via Zoom from her hotel room. “But also very exciting, because this is where I started my entire career. So yeah, we’re very, like, weirdly at peace, excited, nervous, but at the same time, just very calm.”
Needless to say, when she got the call from 88rising that she was heading to Manila for HITC, the excitement was palpable. “I was excited and I’m still excited because of just the mere fact that I can come home and perform for everyone again. And to be performing alongside artists who just do the same things that you love and that you just feel the freest doing, like just watching people in that element is exciting.”
Sadly, this excitement couldn’t be channeled to the stage when she made the hard decision to cancel her set due to a thunderstorm, taking to social media saying, ”my number 1 priority will always be everyone’s safety.” At least, lucky fans were able to see her during her meet-and-greet at the Valorant booth on the festival grounds.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
During the chat, Ylona was tight-lipped about what exactly she cooked up for the performance because she didn’t want to spoil it, though she did tease that the sassy Ylona will be there, including a new setlist as well as the possibility of the return of her Tito Boy intro.
Ylona even put out a call on social media asking for artists to join her on stage at the Head In The Clouds festivals in Jakarta and Manila, a process that she admits made her want to spend more time with the applicants. “I wish I had more time to hear and listen to them because for the sake of time, we just had to kind of go with the options that we have. We had to book them and I didn’t have much time to look at everybody else who sent inquiries. But I really hope to work with everybody who had sent in inquiries, like on projects.”
Aside from performing though, Ylona also shared that she was excited to catch other Filipino acts on stage, in particular Manila Grey and SB19. “I’m not sure if I’ve met SB19 before. But whether I have or I haven’t, I just remember hearing super great things about them, as well as Manila Grey. And I’m just excited to see them do their thing.”
WHAT A YEAR
A performance at Head In The Clouds Manila could have been the perfect period for Ylona to end her 2022. Not only was it her final public performance of 2022, but it’s been one amazing year for the Filipino-Australian in general. She began the year running when she dropped Entertain Me, a critically-acclaimed smash that quickly became her biggest hit to date. She then partnered up with Valorant to help introduce Neon, the game’s first-ever playable Filipino character. Opening HITC in LA, being an interviewer at the NBA All-Star Weekend, and giving us the vibes with Vibin were just some of her other 2022 highlights.
“No, not at all. I’m definitely grateful,” says Ylona as she reflected on the year that was and whether she expected all this to happen. “A lot of exciting things happened, a lot of lessons that had to be learned. And I again, I’m just overall grateful, because I wouldn’t be who I am now without what happened.”
And while we still have around three weeks left before 2023 rolls in, Ylona already has a few New Year goals in mind. “First things that popped up in my head were to be more connected to my fans, connected to my family, and to everybody that I care about. Meeting more people and hopefully, just be able to help inspire them in any way that I can all right.”
Ylona then proceeded to ask the author of this article what their goals for 2023 are so that they can manifest them together, which is truly one of the best ways anyone can end an interview. While a manifestation of a performance in Manila has yet to come, rest assured that when the time comes, she will be more than ready to meet the occasion.