Yeng on living the dream Kapamilya Chat

For all of us, the pandemic has been a season of realizations and self-growth. Yeng Constantino used the stay-at-home set up to spend more time with the family, protect her mental health, and write new songs that will uplift listeners. The Pop Rock Royalty talked more about these in this episode of Kapamilya Chat.

Yeng is back with a new single, an inspirational anthem titled “Kumapit,” which she wrote during the earlier days of the pandemic. She was affected by all the negative COVID-related news and it inspired her to create a piece that will comfort her kababayans. “It gave me the boost para masulat ito, hoping na kung may makarining man, be an encouragement sa mga tao to just keep on holding on to God.” The original plan was to release “Kumapit” on social media until it became a full-blown single.

Last year, Yeng had a donation drive from the monetized “Kumapit” video. She said the song didn’t earn much but she and husband Yan Asuncion still made an effort to extend help to different institutions. At the end of the day, her main goal is to give hope and comfort through her song and that’s what happened. 

The OPM icon is no stranger to anxious thoughts and emotions. She knows how crippling it feels. But one lesson she learned amid the pandemic is to be more patient. She learned that ignoring negative emotions does not guarantee healing but rather buries them deep in the heart. The most important thing to do, therefore, is to acknowledge how you feel and let it pass. 

Importante na damahin mo what you are feeling pero importante, the key is, don’t stay in that emotion. Once na alam mong nauubos na ‘yung emosyon, i-allow mo na rin ‘yung sarili mo to feel relieved. ‘Pag nagpe-peek na ‘yung sunlight sa heart mo, i-allow mo nang pumasok ‘yun,” Yeng advised. 

She also mentioned social media detox as an effective way to de-stress. You can either take a break or limit what you see and who you follow. “It really helps kasi ang daming trigger points, eh. Nakakaramdam tayo ng jealousy. But there’s nothing wrong about that. Nakakaramdam talaga tayo ng ganun, feeling mo loser ka. So for a time, i-unfollow mo muna ‘yung tao na ‘yun not because that person is bad pero para i-recollect mo muna ‘yung sarili mo.

Yeng added that healing doesn’t mean waiting in idle. You need to be more productive, work on yourself, and more importantly nourish the spiritual life. Please know that you are allowed to talk about how you feel. What Yeng did was contact her spiritual family to confide in them. 

“Find a mentor na alam mong may wisdom para mag-minister sa’yo. Kasi oftentimes, we want to pray pero kahit nagpe-pray tayo hindi natin maramdaman ‘yung presence ni God kasi nao-overpower tayo ng voices in our heads. So it would be better kung may friends tayo or older people than us na pwedeng maghila sa atin from that darkness,” she related.

While alone time can help, too much self-isolation can have negative impact on one’s mental health. Yeng’s tip is to open up to others after a healthy period of self-assessment. Above all, hold on to God’s promise that He is good and He is always with you. 

Yeng went on to talk about her process of writing songs. In “Kumapit,” her intention is to really make it sound inspiring. Most of the time, though she would just express her true self without any expectation like what happened in her breakout single “Hawak Kamay.” Besides, her songs are a mix of spiritual, punk, and sweet. 

It’s easy to assume that Yeng can always breeze through her works as an artist. But the downside of longevity, 14 years in her case, is the inevitable burnout. “I remember noong sinulat ko ‘yung Hawak Kamay, it was really fun pero dumating din sa point ng career ko na parang obligation na siya, minsan nakakapagod. More than joy, na-feel ko before na pressure na lang siya.”

Thanks to the stuck-at-home phase, she had the time to think through what she wants for her career, more so appreciate the privilege of living her dreams. “Dati pinapangarap ko lang ‘to. Akalain mo ba naman na makakapag-concert ka sa Araneta, makaka-travel ka sa buong mundo with your music,” she would talk to herself. 

They say that people tend to forget their struggles and endless crying to God once they get what they want. Even Yeng is guilty of that sometimes, so her prayer is that God may keep her thankful and appreciative. After all, the life she has now is a dream come true, an answered prayer – a reflection of God’s faithfulness to her. In times of pressure, she would take a rest to refresh her passion. 

Nagre-reminisce ako ng mga songs na kinakanta noong bata-bata pa, and it really helps mentally and artistically. I am really anticipating na after ng season na to, makasulat na ako ng mga songs ulit kasi alam kong nami-miss na ng mga Yengsters. Sana after nito, Lord, gusto ko na ulit makapagsulat ng kanta,” she smiled. 

She also reminisced on her most unforgettable performance – the Araneta concert with Bamboo. Sharing the big stage with the rock icon, Yeng’s sentimentality brought her back to the days when, “’pag dumadaan ako ng Cubao, nakikita ko lang ‘yung Araneta kasama ko Nanay at Tatay ko.” 

She continued, ”Hindi ko sukat akalain na mararating ko ‘yung point na ‘yun, makakapag-concert ako ng ganun at maririnig ko ‘yung buong Araneta na kumakanta ng kanta ko. Nakakakilabot!

Yeng and all her fans are looking forward to more concerts, songs, and collaborations. Moira Dela Torre is on her ‘collab’ bucket list, as well as IV of Spades, Rico Blanco, and Ebe Dencel. She’s also impressed with the music and writing style of newcomer Angela Ken, “Malalim na bata. I really like that kid.” Yeng also mentioned Keiko Necesario and Reese Lansangan. 

As advice to aspiring songwriters, Yeng stressed that there’s no perfect formula in creating songs. Failures are inevitable part of the journey and success doesn’t happen overnight. But you have to keep going. 

“Don’t be discouraged with the numbers. Just focus on what you are doing. Totoo talaga, envy is the killer of happiness, so kung titingin ka sa ibang artist, make it more like an inspiration,” expressed Yeng. 

At the end of the day, you are your own artist, so you have to be sincere to your style, intent, and motivation. Yeng recalled writing “Jeepney Love Story” in 2010. It was a song about a girl gushing about her jeepney moments with her crush, a theme Yeng assumed as too cheesy. She told her producer, Raymund Marasigan, “Kuya, parang ang corny ng kanta ko,” to which he replied, “Noong ginawa mo ba ‘yan, sincere ka ba?”

Yeng knew her song was infused with sincerity and it was a reflection of her inner child, and that’s what matters. Unexpectedly, the song turned out a mega hit because of its relatable theme. Thus, to aspiring musicians, her other advice is, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Dapat ikaw ang number one supporter mo. Tingnan mo kung anong pwede mo pang i-improve pero huwag mong i-judge ang sarili mo. Kailangan sabihan mo rin ‘yung sarili mo ng words that will make your soul flourish.” 

Here’s a bonus trivia: If she isn’t a musician today, Yeng would’ve wanted to be a devoted cat lady or a social media manager of celebrities because of her penchant for editing and production. 

Catch up with Yeng in this episode of Kapamilya Chat!