Juan Karlos’ SS&B album, through the eyes of Juan Karlos
The last few days have proven one thing: Juan Karlos is a musician to watch. A track off his Sad Songs & Bullshit Part I album, Ere, is the first Filipino tack in history to enter the Global Spotify Charts, topped Philippine charts on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, and even broke its own record for the biggest single day streams for an OPM song on Spotify Philippines. It’s a lot, and this is just one track—and only the first of a two-part album.
View this post on Instagram
“The album is basically rooted from the whole concept of going through a breakup,” explains JK. “Stereotypical, quintessential breakup album, right?”
But JK admits in our quick sit down that some of the songs in SS&B started to come to him before his actual breakup. “Some sort of a premonition,” he says in hindsight. He likens his breakup to riding a car with someone, going at full speed down a straight road. Before he knew it, the engine had stopped working but the car was still moving—until it wasn’t. He shares, “I only realized after the fact: ‘Oh, shit. So that’s what I was writing about.’”
Despite the success of ERE, Juan Karlos tells Wonder that it was Gabi and Tapusin Na Natin To, which he worked on in collaboration with Zild and Paolo Benjamin of Ben&Ben, respectively, that he enjoyed most.
“I love collaborating,” he shares. “I love seeing people’s processes. My band is better than me; they’re better musicians. And that’s what I like, I like being surrounded by people better than me.”
JK further explains that he loves being the weakest link in the studio. He appreciates knowing that a ceiling exists—usually dictated by the people in the room—above him. He can revel in the idea that he is his own limitation, and he uses that to push himself even further. He observes, embodies and walks out better than he walked in. “I know my capabilities and I know my weaknesses,” he explains.
Sitting in the audience of his album launch last month, it was clear that part of JK’s magic is that he resonates with so many people. He admits not writing for a specific audience, gender or age group, even sharing a heartwarming story of an 80-year-old telling him that his music helped her through the pandemic. And, of course, you have the young women screaming for him at the top of their lungs.
Juan Karlos’ SS&B album doesn’t even only talk about heartbreak. It touches on friendship, and that ever-relatable phase of acceptance.
“I’m not that deep as a person,” he says. “I don’t go full-on poetic mode. A lot of the songs I write, I feel like they’re conversational. I feel like that’s why people are able to relate to them better. It’s more like someone talking to you.”
Listen to Juan Karlos' SS&B album on all major streaming sites now.