So, what’s it all worth?— does the poisoned vine indeed breed finer wine? — is this thing we “love” even worth fighting for? Perhaps if it was so “bawal” then maybe it wasn’t borne out of love at all… 

Bakit nga ba masarap kapag bawal?

The renowned multi-talented Nicole Laurel hadn't returned to the recording cycle in a little while. She continued to create brand-new songs. There are actually hundreds that are ongoing. She worked with guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Gabe Dandan, who she had first met nearly nine years ago but had never really had the chance to create with, on the upcoming single "BAWAL." During an unplanned jam, he laid down the guitar and began playing keys. Nicole started creating the song's basic lyrics and music on the spot; Bawal's composition took roughly 30 minutes.

"This is one of the simplest lyrical expressions I have published, nothing poetic here, just a sentiment revolving around the quintessential question: “Bakit masa-rap kapag bawal?” It was one of those instances na halos sabay lumabas yung lyrics and melody, and halos tapos na yung song form in the first session. I was led into the song by the chord choices. The song is a simple, slow, soulful blend of sultriness and the melancholy of desiring something you can’t have," Nicole noted. 

The 'Bawal' team of the best musicians in today’s industry pooled their creative energies at Wildgrass studios for tracking.

Otep Concepcion (Drums), 

Rommel Dela Cruz (Bass)

Nikko Rivera (Keys) 

Ted Amper (Cello)

Lester Sorilla (Trumpet) 

Gabe Dandan (Producer, Guitar, Percussions, Backup Vocals) 

Mike Luis (Vocal arranger, Backup Vocals)

The world class post production team are mixing engineer Angee Rozul then mixed and mastered in Dolby Atmos by: Waxified Sound Production.

Gabe Dandan about his experience working with Nicole

“I like working with Nicole because I am inclined towards improvisation-style writ-ing, it brings out the best in my playing and musical choices, Nicole encourages that environment. Her brain is like a factory for making lyrics, the workflow and is seamless and that doesn’t always happen with everyone.”

On Producing the track with the “Nyors” 

“That was pretty scary, I went early, not just to get good parking, but also to calm my nerves before the guys arrived. When they all arrived it went pretty smoothly, I knew what I wanted to do, but these guys are all really really good, so at first I didn’t feel like I was in the position to tell them what to do, in fact I didn’t have to say much just a little guiding but they’re the best so they just did their thing. It was a fun process. Post production was easy and efficient, Nicole is very honest, she makes sure to tell me what she wants while we’re still in the process and not when everything is already done and I appreciate that.”

We shall all undoubtedly be carried away by "Bawal," along with the memory of many chases, losses, bitter lessons, maybes, opportunities, and possible loves. Nicole Laurel Asensio is giving birth to more songs, but for the time being she only needed to publish one to restart the process.

The first of several songs to hit the studio is "Bawal." In 2023, more can undoubtedly be anticipated.

Nicole finally notes: “PUWEDE”

"The beautiful thing about songwriting is - technically, walang bawal… you can write about anything, anyone and everything… you can use any note, rhythm, topic, lyric that reflects your soul and sentiment… Marami ngang bawal, ngunit, sa paglikha… lahat pwede. This is why creativity proves to be my greatest pur-pose and escape all in one, theres no telling where the creative chase will lead, but one thing is for sure, the creative chase is never futile, and always “masarap.”

“One last listen… before I turn off the speakers. The room is quiet now…. Save for the crackling sound of chicharon. So, bakit nga ba masarap kapag bawal?”

BAWAL is Produced by: Gabe Dandan / Nicole Laurel Asensio

Executive Produced by: Nicole Laurel Asensio

Mix and Mastered in Dolby Atmos by Waxified Sound Production

Distributed by: Warner Music Philippines

Catch it on October 28 on all digital platforms!

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