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Anak Ko

by Jay Som

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1.
I can’t remember The words were forming in your mouth You’ve found another To bring you joy and play a part I’m turning inside out With the thought of a new day I’ll only come around If you want it I see you clearly You dance around and fuck with us A feigned intention Well no one needs to feel your light
2.
I’m not that kind of fool Who needs to read the room (Somebody tell me) If I’ve fallen from your lips Straight to your fingertips (Somebody tell me) Now you’re waiting in the light Patiently to my surprise (Somebody tell me) I pick up the superbike Going 80 in the night (Somebody tell me) Said you wanted something else Something new for show and tell Gonna breathe until you’re gone Gonna breathe until you’re
3.
Peace Out 04:16
Point me to my chair Make me sing that awful song That you cannot bear Still you take until it’s gone No hard No hard feelings Want me to say right words? Make you feel incredible I’m selling myself short Pulling teeth to make it work No hard No hard feelings Won’t you try Won’t you try to forgive Won’t you try Won’t you try to be anyone else We pace around the room Make good friends with shiny floors This apartment’s so cold Got not heat to fill the noise You’re driving no control Wanna crack the window Toss your phone I’m in trouble tomorrow We’ve got time to fake it so No hard No hard feelings Won’t you try Won’t you try to forgive Won’t you try Won’t you try to be anyone else
4.
Devotion 03:32
Used to be the one to cry And feel the motions Painted a path to find A strange devotion I changed my mind Well, look no further Just takes some time To come back down to earth (It’s only change) I changed my mind Just takes some time I wanna change I wanna change
5.
I’m sinking in my bed We’re leaving town tomorrow It’s only for the memories So used to feeling numb Shifting through the nighttime drive We’ll be alright Been watching hours pass Inside cars with no glass Constructing shallow dreams of Shoplifting at the Whole Foods My baby says I’m growing tough “Don’t let others define you” I’m sticking to the script now I’ll let my body win Shifting through the nighttime drive It’ll be a while
6.
Tell me Did you fall in at first glance? Do you think you’ll take a chance? Do you think on the weekend I could know? Show me Before you haunt me on the screen Will my affection pull the strings? Another forgotten memory We’ve built This city that we’re sinking in Nobody wants to play pretend I just know that I’m feeling like we’ve just begun Nothing’s ever good enough Tenderness is all I’ve got
7.
Anak Ko 03:38
Pretend to play it Let’s fall in love This game, so hollow I come undone We’ll keep it quiet Won’t show you off Somewhere I’ll feel it When you are gone
8.
Crown 04:38
Arranging your best words Tying the knot A brighter tomorrow Could you take a shot? Don’t wanna slow down Don’t wanna forget The company’s fine The feeling’s alright You’ve got your best friends Searching for miles Static in their heads Eating the night Don’t wanna slow down Don’t wanna forget The company’s fine The feeling’s alright Don’t wanna come down Don’t wanna jump in The moment’s enough You never had to follow through You’re singing now Still out of tune The crown belongs to second best You’ll do it all over again
9.
Get Well 03:57
Get well I hope you can How do you find peace With a drink in your hand I’ve been sick like you I’ve had my share Don’t wanna find you On the other end I will be your friend Keep you safe instead I’ll show you you’re special I don’t want to forget

about

Melina Duterte is a master of voice: Hers are dream pop songs that hint at a universe of her own creation. Recording as Jay Som since 2015, Duterte’s world of shy, swirling intimacies always contains a disarming ease, a sky-bent sparkle and a grounding indie-rock humility. In an era of burnout, the title track of her 2017 breakout, Everybody Works, remains a balm and an anthem.

Duterte’s life became a whirlwind in the wake of Everybody Works. After spending her teen years and early 20s exploring an eclectic array of musical styles—studying jazz trumpet as a child, carrying on her Filipino family tradition of spirited karaoke, and quietly recording indie-pop songs in her bedroom alone—that accomplished album found her playing festivals around the world, sharing stages with the likes of Paramore, Death Cab for Cutie, and Mitski.

In November of 2017, seeking a new environment, Duterte left her home of the Bay Area for Los Angeles. There, she demoed new songs, while also embracing opportunities to do session work and produce, engineer, and mix for other artists (like Sasami, Chastity Belt). Reckoning with the relative instability of musicianhood, Duterte turned inward, tuning ever deeper into her own emotions and desires as a way of staying centered through huge changes. She found a community; she fell in love. And for an artist whose career began after releasing her earliest collection of demos—2015's hazy but exquisitely crafted Turn Into—in a fit of drunken confidence on Thanksgiving night, she finally quit drinking for good. “I feel like a completely different person,” she reflects. Positivity was a way forward.

The striking clarity of her new music reflects that shift. After months of poring over pools of demos, Duterte, now 25, essentially started over. She wrote most of her brilliant new album, Anak Ko—pronounced Anuhk-Ko—in a burst during a self-imposed week-long solo retreat to Joshua Tree. As in the past, Duterte recorded at home (in some songs, you can hear the washer/dryer near her bedroom) and remained the sole producer, engineer, and mixer. But for the first time, she recruited friends—including Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott, Justus Proffitt, Boy Scouts’ Taylor Vick, as well as bandmates Zachary Elasser, Oliver Pinnell and Dylan Allard—to contribute additional vocals, drums, guitars, strings, and pedal steel. Honing in on simplicity and groove, refining her skills as a producer, Duterte cracked her sound open subtly, highlighting its best parts: She’s bloomed.

Inspired by the lush, poppy sounds of 80s bands such as Prefab Sprout, the Cure, and Cocteau Twins—as well as the ecstatic guitarwork of contemporary Vancouver band Weed—Anak Ko sounds dazzlingly tactile, and firmly present. The result is a refreshingly precise sound. On the subtly explosive “Superbike,” Duterte aimed for the genius combination of “Cocteau Twins and Alanis Morissette”—“letting loose,” she says, over swirling shoegaze. “Night Time Drive” is a restless road song, but one with a sense of contentedness and composure, which “basically encapsulated my entire life for the past two years,” she says—always moving, but “accepting it, being a little stronger from it.” (She sings, memorably, of “shoplifting at the Whole Foods.”) Duterte focused more on bass this time: “I just wanted to make a more groovy record,” she notes.

The slow-burning highlight “Tenderness” begins minimally, like a slightly muffled phone call, before flowering into a bright, jazzy earworm. Duterte calls it “a feel-good, funky, kind of sexy song” in part about “the curse of social media” and how it complicates relationships. “That’s definitely about scrolling on your phone and seeing a person and it just haunts you, you can’t escape it,” Duterte says. “I have a weird relationship to social media and how people perceive me—as this person that has a platform, as a solo artist, and this marginalized person. That was really getting to me. I wanted to express those emotions, but I felt stifled. I feel like a lot of the themes of the songs stemmed from bottled up emotions, frustration with yourself, and acceptance.”

The title, Anak Ko, means “my child" in Tagalog, one of the native dialects in the Philippines. It was inspired by an unassuming text message from Duterte’s mother, who has always addressed her as such: Hi anak ko, I love you anak ko. “It’s an endearing thing to say, it feels comfortable,” Duterte reflects, likening the process of creating and releasing an album, too, to “birthing a child.” That sense of care charges Anak Ko, as does another concept Duterte has found herself circling back to: the importance of patience and kindness.

“In order to change, you’ve got to make so many mistakes,” Duterte says, reflecting on her recent growth as an artist with a zen-like calm. “What’s helped me is forcing myself to be even more peaceful and kind with myself and others. You can get so caught up in attention, and the monetary value of being a musician, that you can forget to be humble. You can learn more from humility than the flashy stuff. I want kindness in my life. Kindness is the most important thing for this job, and empathy.”

credits

released August 23, 2019

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Jay Som Los Angeles, California

Melina Duterte: jaysommusic@gmail.com

mgmt: chad@saltymgmt.com

North American/South American/Australian Booking: mbetts@tbaagency.com

EU Booking: mattpcopley@primarytalent.com
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