What is it all about, a heartfelt, stripped down single from Multi-awarded artist Nicole Laurel Asensio and producer Gabe Dandan is set to launch on all listening platforms on Feb 23, 2024 under Warner Music Philippines, with an intimate launch party on Feb 29, 2024. 

“What is it all About?” was written last February on a windswept afternoon in the centuries-old Paco park. Nicole and Gabe took an afternoon off and strolled through Paco park last February and then  begun jamming as the sun began to sink.

Nicole Asensio says that writing a song that is nearly entirely made up of questions and concurrently writing every chord and line on the spot was an interesting process. It was similar to revealing a secret pattern on a piece of paper by unfolding it. This song, unlike others, doesn't go verse, chorus, verse, chorus; instead, it contains several verses that build to a bridge, after which it becomes silent and returns to asking questions that spread into a variety of vocal patterns.

“A borrowed acoustic guitar and a hazy phone recording riddled with the ambient noises of water fountains and birds was the only reference we had of that afternoon. It was only around one year later that we decided to revisit the Paco park phone recording The notion behind the recording it was to keep it as close to the rawness of the song in its original form on the phone recording as possible.”, Nicole added.

This song is more intimate than their previous ones, it almost whispers and the arrangement has intricacies but is still palpable and simple enough for listeners to digest. 

The instruments were recorded live in one take in Southbay studios with Jacques Dufourt on Drums and percussion, Bergan Nunez on bass and Gabe Dandan on nylon guitar. Right as they were about to track the song, Gabe was strumming some chords and then told Nicole, "Write lyrics over this intro please". She was caught off guard as Nicole sat quietly outside the studio. "The only lyrics that could come to me over the intro were in tagalog…. I was hesitant to voice them over the track, but in the spirit of keeping things raw, what you will hear on the track is the result of the last minute prompt from Gabe." Nicole shared. 

Mikel Miller, who also served as the Matter Over Mind EP's recording engineer, recorded the instruments. Following several minutes of holding their breaths, the room fell silent as Nicole and the men celebrated successfully recording the entire song in a single take. Nicole then went to Wildgrass Studios with the tracks to record a clear vocal. The tracks were delivered to Abbey Road Studios in the UK, where Alex Gordon mastered them after Gabe mixed them in his home studio.

“What is it all about?’ hopes to encapsulate an honest and intimate conversation between lovers trying to figure out the complexities in their relationship,  through questions they reveal their fears and wonder if it will all work out as the years go by and they get old and gray. Love isn’t easy, but genuine love is much much stronger than fear.

“What Is It All About?” is a modern classic tune drizzled with jazz, bossanova and folk influences. Co-written with producer Gabe Dandan, Nicole bares her heart and naked, raw vocal on a refreshingly sparse arrangement. The lyrics slowly trickle in with incessant questions about love and what it is all about. The questions in each verse range from playful curiosity to pondering through pools of fear and confusion. Similarly the musical arrangement begins with a bare nylon guitar and vocal and builds into ripples of vocal rounds. Beneath the lively exchanges between vocal and guitar the “seabed” of instruments is held together steadily by fretless bass-lines and steel-brushed drums. The song is quiet and calm, timeless, raw and honest. The track will be available on all digital platforms on February 23, 2024 under Warner Music Philippines. 

Following the launch, Nicole will also be appearing on the WISH 107 bus on February 27 and will have a launch party on Leap day, February 29, 2023. Two one hour performances (At 400Php each) are to be staged on February 29 at 8:30 and 10:30pm in the beautiful 78-45-33 Salcedo, an intimate acoustic haven that provides a home for performances in their most authentic nature, no PA system, so amplification, no effects… all natural sound and vocals, replicating the essence of how the songs were written at first hum and strum.

Reservations for the launch party: 

0917-597-6661 (78 Salcedo)

Song Credits

Lyrics: Nicole Laurel Asensio

Music: Nicole Laurel Asensio/ Gabe Dandan

Musical Director: Gabe Dandan

Drums: Jacques Rivas Dufourt

Bass: Bergan Nunez

Guitar: Gabe Dandan

Vocal Arrangement: Gabe Dandan/ Nicole Laurel Asensio

Backup Vocals: Gabe Dandan/ Nicole Laurel Asensio

Vocals: Nicole Laurel Asensio

Tracking Engineers: Mikel Miller/ Jess Fermino

Mixing Engineer: Gabe Dandan

Mastering Engineer: Alex Gordon

Executive Producer: Nicole Laurel Asensio

Distributed by: Warner Music Philippines

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