Jolianne talks "I'll Be Somebody You Want" and her upcoming EP | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Photos by JT Fernandez

Jolianne just released her newest single “I’ll Be Somebody You Want” ahead of her upcoming EP



In hopes of refining our craft, we’re often encouraged to take inspiration from fellow artists. That’s what Jolianne Salvado has done, too—experiment again and again. While she’s already amassed a considerable following, thanks to her soothing tone and relatable lyrics, she’s only just found her sound.

“The past three years with Careless—they really gave me the leeway to explore sonically. But after all of that exploring, it’s—one, it’s helped me expand my artistry, but at the same time, it’s also allowed me to figure out who Jolianne is at her core. After all that, I realized that the sound truest to me is still the one I started with.” 

READ: This 25-year-old Filipina is the latest in the line of cover artists-turned-hitmakers

Jolianne first made her presence known in the music industry when she joined the second season of “The Voice Kids Philippines” in 2015. Delivering a soulful rendition of Ariana Grande’s “Tattooed Heart,” the then-11-year-old captured the hearts of not only the coaches but also viewers on the lookout for rising talent. 

Jolianne Salvado
“This time, because I tried out so many genres and worked with so many different producers, I now know what’s truest to me. I’m zoning in on that.”

Fast forward to 2019, she released her first song, “Irises,” followed by “Halfway There” (her biggest release so far with over 14 million streams on Spotify) the year after. And in 2021, she officially signed to Careless, further cementing the young singer-songwriter as one of OPM’s most promising stars. 

Now 20 years old, the pop/R&B vocalist is gearing up for the release of her first EP with a taste of what’s to come via her newest single “I’ll Be Somebody You Want.”

Here, we sat down with Jolianne to talk about what she’s sacrificed for music and the journey to the sound and songwriting authenticity she’s moving forward with.

It’s one thing to take music as a hobby, but another to pursue it. When did you decide you wanted to make a career out of it?

A radio station in Cebu reached out and asked me to perform some songs. At the time, I was already writing music, but it was purely for my own enjoyment. I was too shy to put my music out. But this radio station was insistent that I perform at least one original. I had none out then, so thought to just release one of them. It was “Irises.” It hit 10K streams in the first month and I was like ‘Wow, I made it!’ I thought it was everything. From then on, I thought that I was just gonna keep releasing music—and here I am. 

girl in photoshoot
“Sublime,” Jolianne’s first song with Careless, was written before she had gotten in contact with the label—a manifestation as she calls it

How did your parents take it?

My parents were super supportive. My mom was a singer. From the moment she was pregnant with me, she was already scheming to make sure I’d be musically inclined. She’s superstitious so she believed that if you’re pregnant and you listen to the harp, your baby’s gonna pop out musically inclined. And so she listened to a lot of live harp while she was pregnant with me and I guess it worked. 

My dad, he’s the one who helps me on the back end. He’s like my advisor. He goes through my contracts. Before coming out here in the music industry, my dad knew nothing about it but he read deeply into it. He talked to lawyers and now he’s the one who goes through all of the documents.


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A post shared by Jolianne (@joliannesalvado)


Chronologically, “Irises” was way after “The Voice Kids.” Tell us about the in-between.

I didn’t expect a career in music after the show. I was a nerd in school. I was a straight-A student so all my attention was on my academics. It wasn’t until the pandemic that I allowed myself to explore my artistic pursuits. I guess the pandemic was great for me because it allowed me time to make music without the guilt. I feel like my guilt always stemmed from how I felt that I should be studying instead of making music.

Right now, are you in university?

I took an LOA but I was in the Meridian International College (MINT). I took up a degree in music business.

Is your family staying back in Cebu?

Yes, both my parents are in Cebu. But, my brother studies here as well. I go home every now and then. I’m always on the phone with my parents. I was just on the phone with my dad. They know every little detail that happens in my life. And my dad used to be an OFW so we’re familiar with this setup.

Jolianne Salvado
Jolianne will also be releasing another song soon

Going back to your “The Voice Kids” stint, how did you end up on the show?

It’s a stupid story. I joined “The Voice Kids” because I had a crush on a contestant from the season before me. I had the biggest crush on him and I even ran a fan account. There was a rumor that he would perform at the pre-auditions in Cebu. So, I auditioned only in the hopes of seeing him, but he didn’t show up. The upside though, I passed. In hindsight, I didn’t join for the right reasons, but up until that point, I didn’t know I was any good. That was my validation.

Why “Tattooed Heart”?

I love Ariana. She was always my biggest influence and “Yours Truly” is still my favorite era of hers.

Given that you have a career already this early on, did you feel like you’ve had to give up things in pursuit of it?

I had to uproot my entire life to come to the metro and chase my dreams. I never expected to leave home, but I just felt the need to see this dream through. I owe it to myself to give this a shot at the very least. And because I had to trade in a lot of what mattered to me, I’m especially driven to make this work.

Being away from home, what did it mean for you to find a family in Careless?

What terrified me about moving to Manila was that I didn’t know anybody here. When I came on board, I was 17. I started living alone here and they stepped in as my pseudo-parent figures. In a lot of ways, they helped raise me. I’m really grateful that I have them because, at the end of the day, it was never just about the music.


“Because I had to trade in a lot of what mattered to me, I’m especially driven to make this work.”


Jolianne Salvado
“I’m releasing an EP later this year—I know I say that every year, but this is finally happening.”

How would you describe your growth as an artist and individual?

For the past couple of years, I’ve been really haphazard—I would try any genre, trap pop one day, a ballad the next—there was just no connection. This time, because I tried out so many genres and worked with so many different producers, I now know what’s truest to me. I’m zoning in on that.

The writing, too. I’m more honest. My biggest insecurity as a songwriter has always been that I don’t have a lot of life experiences. I grew up in a very conservative environment, school, and household. I wouldn’t say I’m conservative myself, but those are just values drilled into my brain. And I live like a grandma. I would always write about things that I’d never experienced. I was always writing about things my friends were going through or things I’d read about. But recently, I’ve embraced the fact that I do live like a grandma and I’ve embraced that in my songwriting and that’s going to show in the next couple of songs.

If anything, people would appreciate your authenticity much more. What can you tell us about your new single?

“I’ll Be Somebody You Want” is a song about wanting your partner to love you both at your best and your worst. When you love somebody, you acknowledge the complete person with all their complexities and imperfections. You just take the good with the bad. That’s what the song is about.

Is this one of those experiences your friends have been going through?

It’s partially inspired by what I’ve gone through. It’s a mix of everything.


“When you love somebody, you acknowledge the complete person with all their complexities and imperfections. You just take the good with the bad. That’s what the song is about.”


How did it all come together?

I wrote this one in Cebu during the holidays last year. I still find that my best songs are written in my childhood bedroom. That’s where I recorded all of my old songs. The magic really happens there.

I played it over at Careless the next year. I didn’t really think anything of it, but they told me it was truer to my experiences compared to the other songs I’ve written prior.

@joliannesalvado fun fun fun!!! :0 #TikTokMusikat #SoundsofSEA #NewMusic #RisingonTikTok ♬ original sound – jolianne


You’re also releasing another song soon right?

Yes. “Plain Girl” is the one song in my catalog that’s most representative of me. My team asked me when I would write a love song that’s true to my experiences. I told them, “When I get a boyfriend” and they were like, “Maybe just embrace that and write about it.” This is a song about never having been in a relationship. Yes, I’ve never been in one at the ripe age of 20. 

When I played this for them—it was really only satire—they felt that this was a good way to represent the person behind the artist. That’s why “Plain Girl” is coming out. I was so against it because I was embarrassed. I was being so honest about how nothing was going on in my love life. But, I do think it’s a good sentiment to share because there are so many people who go through the exact same thing. 

Jolianne Salvado
Fun fact: Jolianne is also learning music production on Cubase

What do you have to say to your fans who are looking forward to your upcoming projects?

You guys have to stay tuned for more. This is the track (“I’ll Be Somebody You Want”) that sets the rest of the record. I’m releasing an EP later this year—I know I say that every year, but this is finally happening. It’s my first EP ever and the reason it took so long was because I had to figure out what sound I was gonna go for and what direction I was gonna take. I think I found that so I don’t think the plans are going to move anymore. It’s happening.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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