The first two years of Daydream‘s career have been exactly like their name: a series of brief ideas that you can’t help but indulge in that, however, are often too disjointed to piece together a full picture.
The idea of the P-pop girl group was conceived in a dream that actualized a year later with their debut single, “Fallin’ 4 U”. The group was then under Warner Music Philippines’ sub-label Rebel Records.
Daydream had everything it needed to succeed: a Filipino audience hungry for the growing P-pop genre, backing by one of the country’s biggest record labels, significant media coverage, four talented and popular members, as well as established local and international predecessors to draw inspiration from. They just needed to find their footing.
“Fallin’ 4 U” was a whirlwind of elements that worked for other groups but felt out-of-place taken out of context. It was a mix of some of the best girl groups to ever exist – from the Blackpink-esque “Daydream, comin’ at ya!”, the Spice Girls slow melody with the anticlimactic Girls’ Generation tempo change near the end to the abrupt ITZY dance break – but it wasn’t Daydream. The members made the most of what was given to them, but it unfortunately resulted in a less-than debut.
Their comeback single six months later, “Lumayo,” was a marked improvement production-wise but still lacked a distinct flair, the soul that would set the group apart from others. Nonetheless, their numbers stayed strong with their new song recording around 47,000 YouTube views and 158,000 Spotify streams.
However, following their sophomore track, the group faced a series of unfortunate events including changes to their lineup and a dwindling online presence. Daydream was basically left in the dark — until a new spark changed all of that in 2023.
Daydream relaunched as a self-produced group in mid-2023. While everything that previously worked for them was now a distant memory, it meant they were free to find themselves.
Their new single, “Stay Stuck,” is a self-written pop track reintroducing who they are and what they have to offer to the P-pop scene. It was a creative triumph for both the girls and the genre they call home.
“It’s more of being free from specific constraints. Like if there’s something that you’re attached to that doesn’t serve you well, let go of it. Because you will soon discover that you are more capable than you ever thought you were once you step outside your comfort zone,” Daydream member Denise Silva tells Billboard Philippines.
“Stay Stuck” was produced by manager-songwriter Martti Franca and producer Xergio Ramos, mixed by the latter, and mastered by engineer Jan Fuertez. The group was in good hands, evident from the song’s heavy bass guitar and dynamic production.
Nonetheless, it was the girls who supplied the powerful vocals and equally potent lyrics, with Silva and Kiara Dario (the only remaining members from the group’s original lineup) trying out professional songwriting for the first time.
“It just felt super organic. Denise came in with a few lines ready. We sat down at Martti’s house and then we were just like, ‘Okay this and then this.’ The synergy was on in that room,” Dario situates.
Franca recalls how Silva was intimidated by the thought of writing, only to pen “some very deep lyrics” that went “I was feeling sentimental ’til I realized the fact / That you were always detrimental to the people you attract.” That very line made it into the final song as Silva’s best rap verse yet — on rhythm and on point. Best of all, it was all her.
“It was my first time to ever write a song that was produced professionally. And it was really fun because we got to pour our hearts into it. Put our actual thoughts instead of just singing whatever was given to us. So we were able to play with the words, play with the music, and really express ourselves freely,” Silva celebrates.
Pau Jaravata became the third and final member to complete Daydream’s creative trio. Owing to her theatre background and performing arts studies, she was a well-rounded member who could sing, rap, and dance as well as her fellow members. And with that, the group did away with fixed roles for each member: anyone could now lead and rap like Silva or be the center of vocals like Dario.
After leaving Rebel Records Philippines, Daydream signed with Underdog Music. It is co-owned by Asia’s Phoenix Morissette, who is also fully managed by the label and its marketing head, Franca.
Franca’s management style is simply encouraging the girls to find agency and affirmation in their own actions. According to him, they don’t give him much work to do as they are perfectly capable with the special skillsets they offer.
“It was so amazing watching them work for the first time on this process. Because Kiara had like an Excel sheet where she organized everyone, and then we put like, ‘Oh this person has this as strengths. They could do better here if ever we need to do more choreography, practices. Here’s the audition video link. Here’s the ganito. What’s the status? Is it pasado or not?’ It’s so wild because I’ve never worked with an artist with so much initiative, and was so organized and professional,” Franca observes.
He understands what each member brings to the table: Silva’s radio DJing and hosting, Dario’s digital marketing, and Jaravata’s professional streaming.
“It’s actually funny when we were auditioning. We told Pau, ‘How would you feel to be a member of Daydream?’ And then she’s like, ‘Can I still stream? Will this affect my streaming schedule?’” Franca narrates. “It’s her work. Pero it’s like, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll do rehearsals, we’ll do everything outside of your streaming schedule so that you can still do that’ Same with them naman na, ‘Are you busy? What are you up to? What’s your work schedule like?’”
The team even has a Google Calendar color-coded to each member (blue for Silva, pink for Dario, and yellow for Jaravata) so they know what everyone’s up to.
He also knows how to inspire their creativity without needlessly pressuring them.
“We want to do something different. Let’s try not just throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks. Let’s write as many songs as we can. Let’s talk to as many producers. Let’s collaborate with other writers. Let’s see what we like. If you go into a room, spend eight hours, and then come out not liking the thing that you wrote, that’s fine. You can always go to another session,” Franca sums up.
With that, Daydream was able to establish a work-life balance that works for both the members and the group.
“That’s what I love about the group. You know how a lot of people think that when you’re in a girl or idol group, it’s like sobrang packed ‘yung schedule with like rehearsals everyday, training everyday. But I feel like what makes this group different is that we feel like our lives, our personal lives, the lives that we have outside of Daydream, also make the group better. So like we take whatever we learn, our life experiences, and help that make us better artists. And that’s what we’re able to give our fans as well,” Dario analyzes.
For Franca, it’s as much a mission to develop the still-nascent P-pop boom alongside Daydream’s efforts to come into their own.
“It could be a problem or topic or anything you want to discuss that is currently not being discussed in P-pop. I know for example SB19 has some deeper songs, BTS has some very deep songs, and I think we need more of that here. Like talking about personal things, talking about things that will really reflect. A lot of people experience that but not a lot of people sing about it in P-pop, which is generally a very positive genre,” the manager-songwriter reflects.
“Stay Stuck” is the group’s second comeback, but it feels more like a second coming. A reintroduction or even re-imagination of what Daydream can be.
If Daydream’s origins lie in the dreams of someone in the past, it can start anew with a different meaning to interpret for the name. That is, daydreaming to aspire for better, for themselves, and for P-pop as a whole.
“I think it’s a perfect comeback song. We’ve been not making music for around a year. So I feel like it’s a perfect comeback with a new member and with a new label. It’s written by us. It’s an empowering song that’s meant to talk about bravery even in letting something go, the bravery it takes to do something on your own, and taking control of your own voice, your own career, your own job. So that’s really the message that this comeback as a whole gives to our fans,” Dario concludes.