He may not have won the first season of The Voice Kids, but his charm and talent has kept the public’s interest in third-placer Juan Karlo Labajo.
JK as some people know him released his debut album JK in 2015 under MCA Music, which was Certified Gold and nearing Platinum status. It spawned the hits “Para Sa ‘Yo” and “Di Ka Man Lang Nagpaalam” (a song for his late mother).
This year, he comes out with his sophomore album entitled JKL bannered by the single “Sana Kung Pwede Lang” composed by fellow Cebuano and former Urbandub vocalist Gabby Alipe. He is also proud of this album as he composed three of its tracks.
Besides singing JK also dabbles in acting as part of the cast of ABS-CBN’s drama series A Love To Last as Lucas Noble [son of lead actor Ian Veneracion]. He previously took on roles in Maalaala Mo Kaya, Hawak Kamay, Pangako Sa ‘Yo and Ipaglaban Mo, and appeared on Pinoy Big Brother and We Love OPM.
Music Geek had a chat with this 16-year-old Cebuano charmer about his latest album and projects.
What can you say about the success of your debut album JK, which turned Gold and now nearing platinum?
I’m really thankful for all the blessings that I received and for all the non-stop playing on radio stations, and now na malapit na siya mag-platinum … I wasn’t really expecting na umabot siya like even gold at all, so I’m really happy. Thanks to everyone who supported the album.”
How much have you grown since your days with ‘The Voice Kids?’
I have grown up a lot. [To start with] my voice got a lot deeper, then I grew a lot taller. I have received a lot of blessings not only in the music industry but also in the movie industry and teleserye. It’s really amazing to think about all the blessings that you receive and it just feels good. I’m happy about it, and hopefully I’ll grow a lot better.
How different is your sophomore album JKL from JK?
There’s a lot of difference in both albums. Because in the second album I wrote some songs so you would probably hear more of what’s going on inside my mind and in my heart. Like you would hear the songs and say “This is JK’s song, this is him,” It’s like my sweet spot – that’s what I really want to show people, I think it’s the way I show people what I have and what I can do in the second album.
You said you composed most of the songs in the new album, can you tell us more about it?
I just started song composition in November 2015 out of boredom really. I just tried to write poems and stories and add a tune to them and they made sense. That’s where it all started. So it’s an amazing thing because it is also another way for me to express or explain what I really feel but not by talking or by interviews and stuff, but by singing and music. It’s more of a different feeling so I’m really excited for you guys to listen to my music.
What was your inspiration composing these songs?
A lot of things, most of them are about life – the things that are happening, that happened in my life, and some things that [I hope] will happen. I have a song for someone; I won’t tell you who that someone is. It’s a story of her wedding day. My inspiration in composing? If I have someone who inspires me in doing all of this, it’s my family. They are my inspiration not just with song writing but also from the very beginning.
What did you learn from writing your own songs?
I learned a lot of things, things that I never knew that I could do. I just thought that I would just sing but I never saw myself as a songwriter. It’s a different thing –singing and composing a song. I was surprised myself when I started writing songs and started composing. It all basically started when I learned how to play the guitar. Playing a chord, I would just suddenly think of a story that would suit the chord, put a tune in it and lyrics, and then boom there’s the song. It’s like writing your own message. For example you’re in a situation, in bad or happy mood, or in a situation where you’re so in love or you hate someone so much. Try to write a message for that someone.
Can you tell us about the carrier single, “Sana Kung Pwede Lang”? I heard it was composed by fellow Cebuano Gabby Alipe.
When we recorded that song, it was really catchy, dumating sa point na talagang hindi ko siya makalimutan for the whole day. So it’s a very nice song that for sure hindi nila makakalimutan kasi it’s like glue that sticks to you, the tune of the song. Ayun nga composed nga mismo ng fellow Cebuano ko na si Kuya Gabby Alipe, so ayun nakaka-proud din kasi fellow Cebuano.
What are you excited about from this album?
I’m excited about a lot of things in this album especially the songs that I composed myself. I’m really excited about the whole release of the album so that everyone could hear all the songs. I’m just really excited for the whole album, the whole new look, and the whole new everything.
How different is acting from singing? It’s two worlds apart, it’s so different. Acting kasi is you express how you feel and you act a character. You turn into another character with acting. With singing kasi you are you – you never get to act someone else, so you act out your life story through singing.
So I always get this question a lot “what would you prefer most singing or acting?” I can’t really choose between the two kasi when I’m on set I really enjoy acting, I love acting, I love the character that I portray and how I handle that character.
When I’m on stage I love singing, I love telling stories through my voice and from my heart, those things are amazing.