Dom Guyot and Janine Berdin promise forever with “habangbuhay/habang buhay”
There’s just something about finding your person. You know, the Cristina Yang to your Meredith Grey, and having that feeling that another being would go above and beyond for you. Imagine being so attuned to someone that you can almost predict what makes them snap. Others call them soulmates, twin flames or best friends. The relationship can be romantic or platonic, a connection so sacred and entirely yours to understand. It’s something that's so palpable that even outsiders know its importance. And after spending some 20 minutes over a spotty Zoom call with them, it’s highkey evident that Dom Guyot and Janine Berdin share one of those connections.
Opposites attract, whether that's a romantic match or a dynamic duo. Such is the case for these two, especially with Dom Guyot’s penchant for soft and sultry R&B and Janine Berdin’s whimsical sensibilities. Despite their sonic differences, one listen of habangbuhay/habang buhay proves that the two create something beautiful when they come together. The doo-wop ballad is an honest manifestation of pining and unrequited love, fervently and perfectly executed by the two young singers.
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Their dynamic, birthed from their decade-old best friendship that began in their hometown of Cebu, bleeds through their work. What started as Janine Berdin pushing Dom Guyot to join singing contests regardless of what people think has transformed into a unique creative connection we all want for ourselves. “Janine and I, when we write, it's like she's my right hand and I'm her right hand,” explains Dom. “For example, I have songs—everything goes through her, even the mixes. And every mix of hers goes through me. We're like a second pair of ears [to each other].”
So when Dom brought the draft up in Janine’s place for another regular songwriting sesh, the two had their eureka moment. The draft to habangbuhay/habang buhay then became *the* track they had to tirelessly work on as their first public collaboration—or in Dom’s words, “To make it the joint slay that it is.”
While the sophisticated track highlights unrequited love, the two best friends express that there’s a deeper meaning to it. Zooming in closer to the lyrics, the song also manifests their willingness to stay together for as long as possible. Pushing for habangbuhay/habang buhay meant putting in the work to release it as soon as possible. Dom rationalizes, “We've been best friends for a long time, and I feel like we're going to be best friends for even longer.” It’s a statement that pushes Janine to interject, “For as long as we live! That's why it's habangbuhay/habang buhay.”
Doo-wop is a genre Dom has dabbled in, specifically in past tracks off his debut album like Non-Defacto and I Miss U. But the two brains behind habangbuhay/habang-buhay decided that the track needed to go all-out. This meant focusing on band-heavy sounds and including brass and horn instruments, heavily embracing the 50s-era genre. Couple that with her best friend’s artistry, these make habangbuhay/habang buhay stand out from her own discography. “It's different from my past collaborations, and it's special— it means a lot to both of us.” Dom says, “My best friend gives it another level of that spice, na parang iba talaga (it’s different) when Janine Berdin is singing.”
More than the meeting of two talented people, collaborations also help artists touch base with brand-new audiences. Janine Berdin hopes that habangbuhay/habang buhay will show her listeners that her music comes from the heart. “It's something I want to share with people because I want them to share this feeling.
Meanwhile, Dom Guyot hopes the collaboration will introduce his music to more people and open them up to listening to queer artists like him. “As an LGBTQIA+ artist, it's been hard to be in this industry and strive in it, especially with the double standards I've faced,” Dom verbalizes. “It's just heavy, and getting the platform to sing with Janine—who has three million listeners—is special. It helps push my message to many people. To make them see that I'm just like them. That even if I like boys, I'm still human and they can relate to me.”
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On the horizon, Dom and Janine hope to debut the song in a live performance. This future stage will mark their first public performance as best friends and as a milestone for their first-ever project. We're all eyes and ears for that to happen. But, of course, that isn’t the end for the Dom Guyot and Janine Berdin tandem appearing in the public eye. These two souls are inseparable—from their art to their personalities—that it’s impossible to imagine a world of a Domskie without his Berdskie and vice versa.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver