Having a safe space is important for mental health. This is where you can be true to yourself and express your thoughts and feelings without being judged.
This was the theme of the cross-cultural collaboration of Filipino and Singaporean artists, who recently released their extended play (EP) titled My Safe Place which “seeks to promote mental well-being through music”.
The six-track EP featured local artists Trisha Denise and Lu.me, as well as KIRI, kotoji and Marian Carmel from Singapore. The musical project was co-produced by ABS-CBN Music creative director Jonathan Manalo, Star Pop label head Rox Santos and Singapore-based creative production house AOR Global.
During a recent virtual media conference, The STAR learned about each artist’s personal safe place and how it has helped them cope with mental health issues.
For independent singer KIRI, her refuge is her own home. “It’s the place (that) helps me see certain things. It helps me get organized. It’s a physical projection of my mental state in some ways,” she said.
Another important safe place for her is in “the arms of my friends”. “Even my friends here, because you know, it’s my first time in the Philippines and it’s also my first time traveling without my family, so I’m really happy that all of them and also these girls are showing me this that they have.”
The musical opportunity given to her was “very new”, she added, and it can “get a little scary”, but at the same time it is also a space where she can “share my emotions , my feelings and my thoughts”. .”
KIRI also keeps a notebook where she writes lyrics, poems and her thoughts.
She performed the track Get Well Soon in the EP. “I was excited to sing the song because that’s all I need. It’s like a reminder to yourself that things are going to get better.
For kotoji, his safe place is songwriting. She said, “In my personal life and in every other way, I have to play different roles and when you take responsibility for certain roles, you’re not really able to express a lot of yourself. And for me, songwriting is the way to process emotions and situations, and I put everything into it. So, you know, my job is really my safe place.
The multi-instrumentalist artist “writes a lot to the point where I’m a little discreet by exposing myself sometimes”.
“I think that’s the beauty of songwriting. It really gives you a safe place to really channel everything you can into your daily life,” kotoji added.
“But I think, you know, as people in general, especially people who deal with mental health or just mental well-being in general, it’s important to maintain personal space and space sure, because as much as yes, we can rely (on) other resources, yes, we can rely on our friends and family, (but) to a certain extent, at some point, we (are) also self-sufficient. And I think that comes into play, making that safe place whatever it means to the person.
In the EP, kotoji wrote and sang Survive, “an ambient dream-pop track inspired by his struggling friends’ experiences.” She felt she needed to cheer up, and that’s how the song was born.
“My safe place is anywhere where I can express my limits, where I am respected,” remarked Marian Carmel. “Basically anywhere I can feel comfortable like myself in. It can be in my room, in the library or anywhere with my friends and family basta alam ko po na I can be myself and be accepted as myself.
The singer-songwriter was born in the Philippines and raised in Singapore. His ditty in the EP is called I wish I could tell myself“a letter to myself, 19 years old, who has just found out she has panic disorder.”
On the other hand, LU.ME finds solace in both his dog named Henry and his music. She shared, “I love my dog so much. When I’m with my dog, parang, I’m just always happy. Kasi my dog is a French bulldog… So it’s like every time I wake up, natawa na lang ako his niya face (laughs). So whenever I cry he comforts me like in Hindi siya umaalis sa tabi ko.
She added, “Doing tulong with yung music. Lalo na nung times na feeling ko mag-isa ako, andyan lagi yung music. Until now, siyempre, every day I still sing.
LU.ME and kotoji have been bandmates for over 10 years. Soul-pop artist and streamer from kumu LU.METhe contribution of the EP is Surrender. She said, “Surrender is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.
Singer-songwriter Trisha Denise got emotional as she answered the question.
“My family because I am an introvert and wala akong gaanong friends. But for the first time, I can say in this mediacon that I have friends. I want to cry. I thank them for being there for me. And my safe place is here. I do not have many friends. So I’m happy to have them and be part of this project,” said Trisha, who was also comforted by her new friends at the press conference.
She wrote and sang Cracks, which is about embracing your imperfections.
Meanwhile, Manalo considered music and prayer his safe places. “When I’m looking for a place where I can just get away and be alone, and just lay on the floor, around my many collections. The CDs, the vinyls, the whole collection of music I have, ahhh, I feel great,” he said.
The hitmaker added that “prayer is my safe place because it gives me hope and connects me to God.”
Santos, on the other hand, shared that music and his “faith in the Lord” are his safe havens.
The five artists performed a song number titled My Safe Place during the press conference. The single is about “finding a space that gives comfort and makes you feel safe”.
(Stream the My Safe Place EP on various digital streaming platforms.)