Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 2011 The Filipino-American Story:Singer/Songwriter and Producer Jesse Barrera

Finally! The Filipino-American Story is featuring an artist from San Diego! Thanks a lot to Gracienne who introduced me to the young yet very talented Jesse Barrera!

Congratulations Jesse on your latest EP that was out just this September 23rd!

So tell me how did you come up with the title, You'll  Feel Alive? 
 Well to make it short, The EP I wanted to put out was a fun, upbeat summer album. An album you could listen to on the freeway with the windows rolled down. I had written a summer anthem which had the lyrics "You'll Feel Alive" in them and felt that it represented the overall vibe of the record. So I went with it. It's pretty self explanatory. I want listeners to FEEL alive, and feel their spirits lifted after listening to the tunes.

How did this EP start?
Whenever I write songs.. It's usually an impromptu experience. Usually happens late at night when most of the creative events in my life occur. So at a certain point I had realized that I was coming up on a good amount of songs I wanted to put out. It had been about a year since I had released a record so I was definitely DUE for a release. So I picked a few songs I thought were worthy to share with the world and decided to start tracking the disc.

You'll Feel Alive Single

How long did it take you complete the whole thing, from writing the songs to recording, engineering and putting the packages together? About a year to write and 3 months to track. I produce records as
well, so any down time I had, I spent tracking the record. As forputting the packages together. I just slaved in my room with a printer and a bunch of shipping packages for two days. Definitely beats an office job or a regular 9-5.. Just knowing that people appreciate what I do.

I have lot of respect for artists like you. When did you actually realize that you were going to be a singer and songwriter? Did one come first? I started writing songs when I was about 15. Most of the songs I had written were for a band that I played in for about seven years called My American Heart. There was just a moment that I realized I was kind of good at it when people started telling me they enjoyed what I was writing. I'd definitely say that I'm a songwriter, before I say that I'm a singer.

I have also learned, that you were a part of a band before under a label can you tell us about it?
I could honestly write a novel about this. But to keep it short. It has shaped the person I am today. I have experienced things lots of people could never experience their entire lives and I'm incredibly humbled and blessed by everything we had accomplished. We were shelved near the end of our recording contract and reached a stalemate with our label owner. So we disbanded not because we couldn't stand each other but we just had no hope in our career together after that.

As an artist, tell me what are some of the accomplishments that you are really and happy and proud of?
Being able to tour the world for several years and obviously being able to work with amazing artists every day of my life.

If you don't mind my asking, and your fans - How old are you?
Just turned 24 in August.

In performing, what kind of events do you love to perform the most?
I love playing in small intimate venues with my band. 300-500 cap rooms.

You are producing for some young Filipino-American talents recently is
this true?
This is true. But not just Fil-AM's. I produce EVERY KIND of human. Haha.
I'm currently working on Jeremy Manongdo's (aka Passion) record. It's scheduled for a Winter release.

What are your future plans?
Make records for as long as I live. Simple as that.

Do you have any intentions of just focusing one (producing or singing)?
I definitely don't see myself performing with my guitar when I'm 40. That's for sure. Producing and making records is definitely where my
heart is.

What made you choose this path?When I realized it's the only thing I'm really good at.

Do you still speak tagalog?Sadly I don't, mainly because when I was younger my parents had split
up and my step dad was italian. Tagalog was never really spoken in my

Where are your parents from in the Philippines?

You are born here in San Diego, correct?

Have you been to the Philippines?
Yes. I went once when I was about 5 or 6. No one ever explained the
concept of JET LAG to me. So I ended up waking at odd times and crying
everyday. But I mean.. I was a crybaby in general when I was a kid.

At home is it more Filipino Food or American?
Both. I love all kinds of food.

What is your favorite Filipino dish?
I'm gonna go with the standard and say Chicken Adobo. But I DO love
filipino breakfast. (tosilog, tapsilog, etc)

As a Filipino-American, what is that you love most about our culture or you can say, this is why I am proud to be Filam! ?
One thing I noticed about our culture is that were all very supportive of each other. If one person is making it, we all are. We always root for each other and want our brothers and sisters to

As an independent and yet really popular FilAm talent, who can you say you are most grateful to?
My mom and my older sister. They both are registered nurses but have supported me 110% with my decision to pursue music as a career.

Is there anyone look up to and say...that is my nemesis or that is who
I hope to be?
No nemesis here. I love everybody. But I do look up to lots of my
musicians who are friends that are making a big and positive impact to
the music industry.

As a very young artist, what advice can you give for the young FilAms with talents who are also trying to make a name of their own out there?
There are no guidelines in life and if you really want something, go and get it. Doesn't matter HOW you get there, as long as you know you're giving it your all - don't quit. Constantly work hard, keep your eye on the prize and the rest will come. Don't conform to what society asks of you. Be yourself and make it happen. Oh, and SMILE.

Thank you Jesse for my signed album I enjoy listening to it everyday in my car, good luck and wish you all the best!!!--MaG

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