‘I just recorded it in my bathroom!’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

When Kai Honasan’s first song debuted on the air, she was unaware, in the middle of teaching a preschool class, and just received a text message. “This City” was going to debut on 99.5 RT in five minutes. She bade the little children goodbye, jumped in her car and desperately drove around looking for someone to share the momentous occasion with.

“I saw a staff member from my college and said, ‘Sir! Get in my car!’ Two hours later, I got a Tweet alert from a Magic 89.9 DJ that my song was going to play!” Kai recounts.

The singer, songwriter, Magic 89.9 junior jock Gringa, and University of the Philippines music education senior majoring in piano, guitar and voice is still in shock, yet skips along cloud nine as she retells the story, which only happened in October.

“I’m still getting used to this kind of attention for my music, because the song that’s out in the radio right now—I just recorded it in my bathroom.”

Yep, “This City” was recorded in the throne room because Kai recently dragged all her instruments and started writing there due to its good acoustics, “but now, I can’t get out! I try writing somewhere more comfortable, but when I’m in there, it’s like, bam!”


“This City” is a song about Kai’s recent experience at a week-long songwriting program in Madrid, Spain, run by the Berklee College of Music. After her trip, she put together a short video to commemorate her adventure and realized, why use someone else’s song when you can use your own?

So she used her song for her video, which a friend shared on Facebook, and was eventually heard by Magic’s station manager and seasoned DJ, Big Daddy, who was responsible for debuting it on both radio stations. For three weeks, Kai would receive a text message every day that her song was playing on the radio.

“You dream about the first time your song plays on the radio, and I was planning my music so carefully. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast or immediately. When I heard it, it was like I had an out-of-body experience. It’s been my dream since I was a kid,” Kai says.

“When I heard the DJ say, ‘That’s Kai Honasan with her first single, ‘This City,’ I was grinning from ear to ear, I couldn’t believe it was happening. Then, it premiered on Magic! I was texting and calling everybody. I had class that day and I was walking to class feeling so light!”

When she’s rushing to class and she hears her song on the radio, Kai confesses she still feels the same way. “I never get used to it!”

Light music

Kai describes her music as light, breezy and funny, being able to draw inspirations from random events and things, such as her experiences enrolling in UP, which, as most students know, is in a league of its own.

When she was younger, Kai thought relationships and love were the best subjects to write about, “but when I heard Sara Bareilles, that’s when I knew I could get away with writing not about love. You can have a successful musical career even if you write that way.”

She is also inspired by Ingrid Michaelson, and though Michaelson often writes about love, it’s her use of words Kai likes. “It’s quirky and sweet, I think my music is the same. Nothing heavy, just straight to the point.”

Her instrument of choice has also influenced her music—the ukulele, which she taught herself to play the past year. The ukulele’s odd and humorous sound creates the perfect background and inspires lighthearted song subjects.

Kai also gets most creative when she’s driving around in her car, which she confesses to try to do a lot, looking for longer routes to her destination just for more artistic time.

Sweet style

Her sense of style is also starting to become more like her music style, as she learns to experiment with color, especially for her gigs. “I always used to be in dark colors but when I started gigging and doing music, I found that there’s a disjoint between what I’m wearing and what I sing. Even when my brother Karel, who plays jazz and soul with me, he’ll be in orange, which I find so funny.”

Kai’s aforementioned inspiration, Sara Bareilles, also influences her fashion, because she is  Kai’s “hero of all time.” She checks out Bareilles’ videos before going to a gig. She likes that Bareilles’ style is girly, but not excessively so. Kai also likes Florence of Florence and the Machine’s dreamy, ethereal look.

Kai wears lots of skirts to her gigs, “and it used to be just what I’d wear to school, but it’s not stage wear at all!” She also recently started wearing sky-high heels and loves swiping on a good red lipstick because it makes her feel powerful.

Off the stage, Kai still prefers skirts and leggings over jeans, inventing the “Pantsless Sundays Global Movement” which appears on her Twitter bio, just because it can often be too hot in the Philippines to wear a pair of pants. “I like flowy, comfortable  things I can move in. I like feeling girly and flirty, and being able to do this!” She then sways the skirt of her maxi dress and three-fourth-sleeved denim jacket.

Next up

Next year, Kai plans to release an EP of five songs to sell during gigs. She hopes to make it independently from a label as a family project, with no less than music veterans Karel Honasan, her brother, on bass, sister-in-law Barbie Almalbis on guitar, and family friends on keyboards and drums, and she’s targeting March or April next year for release date.

“This City” is currently available on facebook.com/kaihonasan for free download.

Kai will also continue to teach music to preschool children, who she reveals are her first critics every time she’s come up with a new song. “I’d just write a different set of lyrics, and if it caught their attention, I’d go on with writing the song.”

Let’s hope for more preschool classes, long drives and bathroom inspirations for more of Kai Honasan’s refreshing, funny and easy music on the airwaves.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.