Seven years ago, Inigo Pascual’s debut single “Dahil Sa’yo” (Because Of You) took the country by storm, solidifying him as the first ever number one hit on the first iteration of the Billboard Philippines Top 20 charts. After “Dahil Sa’yo” took off, it seemed like everything fell into place: he clinched Song of the Year at the 30th Awit Awards, released his debut album, recorded a rendition of “Remember Me” for the Disney film, Coco, signed as an artist with Tarsier Records, and continued to make music in between the United States and the Philippines.
Pascual’s love for music has always been at the forefront. While he’s known for his acting work, he shares that even when the singer first started his career, he was always trying to find a way to make music. When the opportunity finally came to record his debut album, he was determined to redefine himself as a musician.
Billboard Philippines sat down with Inigo Pascual to look back at the creation of “Dahil Sa’yo,” what’s changed since then, and where he’s taking his music next.
Billboard Philippines: Can you take us back in time to the making of “Dahil Sa’yo?” What was the process like?
Inigo Pascual: I’ve always wanted to make music and “Dahil Sa’yo” was a song that I would say changed my life and my career. I was afraid that people weren’t going to take me seriously or say, “oh, he’s just an actor who’s trying to sing,” or “Piolo [Pascual]’s son’s trying to make music” but within myself, I knew music was always my top priority.
I felt very nervous about “Dahil Sa’yo” kasi noong sinulat ko siya [because when I wrote it], it felt very plain. I would ask the other singers at Cornerstone [Entertainment], like Moira dela Torre, Yeng Constantino, Kuya Sam [Milby], “what do you think should be my first single?” They all said “Dahil Sa’yo.” I was so nervous when it came out. Everything just kind of happened all at once.
Billboard was a big part of it because at the time, we didn’t have a proper chart that was based on plays [or] how many streams a song got. It was usually [through] voting. It was really surprising because I got a call from my manager saying “oh, you got the first number one spot on the very first Billboard charts in the Philippines.” I’ll never forget it.
[Billboard] definitely helped promote the song a lot more. It [happened at] a point in [Filipino] music where it was starting to get exciting. I think after me, it was Moira [dela Torre] and Ate KZ [Tandingan]. Just to see that there’s an actual song chart na alam mong [that you know was] legit based on streams or how many plays it gets…it makes you feel excited to be an artist. It makes you want to make more music.
Billboard Philippines: How do you think the success of “Dahil Sa’yo” set the tone of your career moving forward?
Inigo Pascual: I would say after “Dahil Sa’yo,” people started taking me as a singer more seriously. After that song, I felt like I had more freedom to express myself as an artist. I was able to make my whole album, then even with the music videos, I was given the freedom to have my own input. After that, I was able to partner up with Tarsier Records, make my second album, then I was able to record in the States and work with some international producers like Harv, who worked on Justin Bieber’s Purpose album. I was able to perform at the Staples Center (now known as the Crypto.com Center) for the [NBA team LA] Clippers’ Heritage Night. I feel like without “Dahil Sa’yo,” none of that would have ever happened.
I’ve had some time off from music, but now I’m getting back on it. I’m excited because I’m now making Tagalog songs again. My current sound now is more vulnerable and open. I’ve allowed myself to be more in touch with my emotional side. I’m excited for people to hear this new side of myself.
I’ve also been thinking lately…I wanna make a song, kind of like a throwback vibe of “Dahil Sa’yo.” One of things I love seeing [when I perform] are all the titas doing zumba to “Dahil Sa’yo.” I have to create something like that just to give back. The zumba community really made my song big, not gonna lie!
Billboard Philippines: The zumba culture!
Inigo Pascual: (laughs) Shoutout to them. Thank you!