In his latest EP ‘When We Were Younger,’ grentperez looks back on his childhood as he prepares to move forward
Tales of the brave venturing haphazardly into the unknown have existed for as long as we can remember – from the epics of ancient Greece to the more family-friendly stories of Disney. These inspire by showing us individuals who have found the strength to face their fears both relatable and larger-than-life. And yet in the face of uncertainty, despite being armed with a millenniums worth of stories to draw from, choosing to move forward is not always so easy.
Seeking courage elsewhere as he faces impending change, rising-star grentperez looks back on his childhood. His latest EP ‘When We Were Younger’ explores themes of love, loss, family, and friendship, and looking back at these in nostalgia. The release includes tracks such as ‘Stuck On You,’ ‘When The Day Is Done,’ and ‘Old With You,’ among others. He also recently performed at the Eastwood Central Plaza this June 16 for his first-ever live performance in Asia.
“Connecting with what I remember as a really lovely childhood grounds me in the real world and keeps me thinking of the important friends and family in my life – it keeps me from getting ahead of myself,” he shares.
In an exclusive interview with the Filipino-Australian multi-media artist, singer-songwriter, and producer, grentperez talks about his latest EP, family, and his recent visit to the Philippines.
Can you tell us about your latest EP and how it came about?
“‘When We Were Younger’ came right after COVID. During the pandemic, I was just reflecting on myself a lot because that was all I could do then. I realized that things were gonna keep on changing, especially with my career. I was going to have less time for my friends and my family – things were just really changing. It was important for me to connect back to my history, back to being a kid again.”
The EP was written during a time when you were in a songwriting rut. How did you manage to get out of that slump?
“At the time, I just kept writing a lot of love songs. And love songs are good, I do love them, but it just got to the point where there were just too many and I felt like I needed something more. So that’s why I thought of talking about my memories and nostalgia just to get me out – to break away.”
Whether hopefully or hopelessly romantic, love and relationships seem to be at the forefront of your tracks. Why is that so?
“I think it’s just interesting to me. Especially being Filipino, we grow up around love songs and movies about love – there’s a lot of it in media. I guess I was just always fascinated by it.”
‘Us Without Me’ is undoubtedly the most heart-wrenching on the release. Can you give us a little backstory on it?
“That one actually doesn’t come from a personal story. It’s more hypothetical – talking about other people’s stories – breakups that I’ve heard from my friends and my siblings. It’s a mix. I just wanted to express the feeling of heartbreak. In growing up, you experience growing pains, love, relationships, and heartbreak as well. I think it was important for me to talk about it.”
‘When The Day Is Done’ talks about families always having your back. Being away from them, what’s one thing you wish to tell them?
“I just really want them to know that I love them for sure. That if I could, I’d spend every time and every moment with them. But, till then, I’ll just be back soon.”
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Are there any specific memories about your family that you look fondly upon?
“It’s actually the first line of the song [When The Day Is Done], the sitting around the table reminiscing about. Every time there was a family gathering, we were always talking about stuff later on. That’s something I definitely cherish.”
How does it feel to visit the Philippines for your first-ever live performance in Asia?
“Surreal. To be honest, I didn’t think that my music could take me here, especially to the motherland. It sucks that my Tagalog is so limited, but we have English anyways. But it feels great.”
Is there anything you would like to say to your Filipino fans?
“I want to say thank you all for supporting me. I’m so happy that I’m here, but if you didn’t get to see me, I’ll be back. I don’t know, sometime soon I hope, but I love you all and please take care.”
What is your favorite song to perform? How about your favorite from your latest EP?
Having started out by posting covers on your YouTube channel, what is your all-time favorite cover that you did?
“My favorite all-time cover would be maybe, ‘hopelessly devoted to you,’ yeah.”
If you could go back in time to talk to that guy who just posted the JAMnominated video (the first one on his channel), what would you tell him?
“I’d say, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. Just keep experimenting. Keep making covers. It’ll all work out in the end.’”