Recently, I chatted with Filipino-Australian indie-pop, dance, and R&B singer-songwriter Carl De Villa via email. I had a delightful conversation about his recent releases (the single “In My Father’s Hands” and the EP War Cry), his achievements in being on national TV in Australia, and his musical inspirations. What was the inspiration that Carl De Villa used when he wrote “In My Father’s Hands”? And, why did the one and only Boy George call him “a visual splendor”? Find out the answers by reading on!
Make sure to check out Carl De Villa’s music down below and let me know what you think in the comments!
Please introduce yourself and what has your musical journey been like?
I’m a singer/songwriter, originally from Lapu Lapu City in the Philippines, but now an Australian citizen (by way of Singapore, Okinawa, and Nagoya). I’ve been performing since a very young age when I was in the church choir and was part of a few bands in the Philippines. Notably, I was with the band Serendipity, who many Filipinos will know from our single ‘Para Sa Iyo’ from the movie soundtrack, Crying Ladies.
In Australia, I spent about two years working on my debut album, War Cry, with my writing partner Adrik Kemp and my producers, Michael Tan and Rhys Tolhurst. On the side, I work as a tribute artist covering legendary artists such as Prince, Queen, and Bruno Mars. But my passion is my original music and performance (though I haven’t had a lot of time to do this with COVID-19 destroying the live entertainment industry.
What musical genres or artists inspire you?
My preferred genre to listen to is jazz and R&B. I’m drawn to artists with unique voices, significant stage presence, and power behind their songs. Singers such as Adele, Alicia Keys, and Prince really inspire me in my own music. You can hear some of their influences in my music, particularly I think in the songs “Flaws” and “In My Father’s Hands”.
You have been featured on various shows like Nine Network’s The Voice Australia and Seven Network’s All Together Now. How was it being on these shows? What did you learn from these shows? Any interesting stories?
Being selected for All Together Now was an incredible experience, and I met a lot of fantastic Aussie talent while I was a part of it, with who I remain close today. Being on this show, and The Voice Australia helped me realise my determination to work on my own music and helped drive me to create, record, and release War Cry.
You have been called “”a visual splendor” by the one and only Boy George”. What is the story behind this? How did you feel about this?
This was during my The Voice Australia appearance. It wasn’t my first experience performing by a long shot, and I was singing “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and dressed as always for success. When he turned around, Boy George was captivated by my look and energy. It was an incredible and uplifting experience for sure.
Let’s talk about your recent release, “In My Father’s Hands”. What is this song about?
The song is about fatherhood, as the title implies. It is a very pared-back song, as raw as possible. It explores the idea of unwitting damage caused by fathers in general. And, the battle against them as a child who may not be everything they wanted. It’s about realising that everyone is human, but not necessarily forgiving people because of this. And ultimately, it’s a song about hope: about learning from the mistakes of the past and from the people around you, how to be a better person, and a better role model.
Where did the inspiration for the lyrics come from?
I co-wrote this with Adrik Kemp, and I guess we wanted to convey some idea of the struggles in society to reconcile fatherhood with masculinity and the effects that a binary system has had on generations of children. But also, to spread hope for a better, less binary future.
What do you want listeners to focus on when listening to ”In My Father’s Hands”?
I think it’s easy to hear the pain in the lyrics, but I want people to focus on the hope, and the understanding of humanity as a shared experience.
Let’s talk about your debut album War Cry. What was it like working on a debut album? What are your favorites on this album?
It’s an incredible experience. Writing lyrics and producing them into music is a beautiful journey that I was honoured to go on with my various collaborators. And nothing compares to hearing something you have put so much of yourself into the first, fourth and fiftieth times! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do this.
I love all the songs on the album, but my standouts are the title track “War Cry” and “Fly”. I would name every song, because I love them all, but I’ll leave it there. Aside from saying that the song that has created the most emotional response from listeners is far and away “In My Father’s Hands”.
What are your goals for 2021?
Aside from finally being able to do a live launch of War Cry (Australian COVID-19 numbers are very low, so it could happen early in the year), I’m already writing and workshopping songs for my follow up album, which I’m very excited about. And of course, promoting War Cry as much as possible on my social media.
Lastly, do you have any words for the listeners of ai love music?
Yes, if you’re in Nagoya and otherwise, I used to live in Nagoya and perform in a club in Sakae, so I love that city with all my heart. It gives me great joy to be able to chat with someone else from Nagoya. And of course, please listen to my album and follow me on social media. You can find it all on my website carldevilla.com.au.
About the Artist: Carl De Villa
In no time at all, Filipino-Australian indie pop, dance and R&B singer Carl De Villa has been featured on Nine Network’s The Voice Australia, Seven Network’s All Together Now and performed at sell-out gigs across Australia. His talents as a performing artist are boundless and evident in his upcoming original album.
Carl’s first singles, “Ok lang” and “Walk Away” have garnered more than 100,000 listens online. And, the release of his first EP, War Cry, is set to explode. A visual extravaganza with music in the vein of Sam Smith, Bruno Mars and drawing inspiration from modern indie pop, rock, soul and gospel, each song is a heartfelt, raw experience made sound.
Called “a visual splendour” by the one and only Boy George, fans shower praise on Carl saying that he is “oozing sex appeal” and that his “stage presence was mesmerising”.
Make sure to check out Carl De Villa at the following sites: