Composer Sarah Jane Gandia may have not written her Himig Handog P-Pop Love songs 2014 entry specifically for Jessa Zaragoza, but it is a Jessa Zaragoza song from the first line to the last. “Bumabalik ang Nagdaan” has absolutely connected with the artist on a spiritual level from the theme, the music and the lyrics. Saying that it is a perfect match would be an understatement.
The song starts, “Bakit kaya, bakit mahal pa rin kita, hanggang ngayo’y iniisip pa rin kita…”, and ends, “Bakit ako’y iniwan na.” A heartbreaking song that anyone who has ever been in love can embrace and make their own, “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” is an emotion-laden old-school OPM ballad worthy of winning the top spot.
Jessa Zaragoza shares her thoughts on Sarah Jane’s “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan”
GM: What was your initial reaction upon hearing the song that you’re interpreting for Himig Handog?
JZ: I got a surprise call from Jonathan Manalo of Star Records, and he told me that they have chosen me to interpret the song “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” for Himig Handog. I felt mixed emotions. First was happiness and the feeling of being honored, and second was anxiousness because this would be the first time that I will be interpreting a song for a very prestigious musical competition. Although Himig Handog is a songwriting contest, I know that much is expected of the interpreter because he/she will give life to the song and will communicate its meaning to the listeners. When I first listened to “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan,” this instantly came to my mind: “Hhmmnn…I can imagine myself singing this song!” After that, I immediately called Jonathan and said, “Yes! Let’s do it!”
GM: Can you tell us more about the Himig Handog selection process or the song-artist matching procedures?
JZ: To be honest with you, I’m not sure about the whole selection process, as I got the call from Star Records when I was already chosen. As far as I know, there’s a panel that nominates and selects the artists who will interpret the respective songs which made it to the finals.
GM: Is this the first time you’re working with Sarah Jane Gandia? What was your impression of her?
JZ: Yes, this is my first time to sing SJ’s song. She’s also a first-time composer. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and we haven’t seen each other in person, but we communicate through phone and instant messaging. She’s a very nice person, and she seems happy with my interpretation of her song. It always feels great whenever my partner composers are happy with the work I do.
GM: How different or similar is “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” from the other songs you’ve interpreted in the past?
JZ: What I can say is that “Bumabalik Ang Nagdaan” can be considered as the Classic Jessa song of this generation.
GM: What one line, word or paragraph in the song strikes you as memorable, compelling or you can relate to and why?
JZ: The last chorus until the end is very emotional. Every time I sing this part, tears fall because I get so into the heartache. 🙂 The lyrics are so deep, wounded and heartfelt.
“Bakit ngayong wala ka na, bumabalik ang nagdaan, alaala ka pag nag-iisa, wala na ngang iba
Bakit ngayong wala ka na, ang puso ko’y nagtataka, bakit ako ngayon… bakit ako’y iniwan na”
Aside from taking part in Himig Handog this year, Jessa Zaragoza will also be touring the United States with OPM legends Rico J. Puno, Hajji Alejandro and Marco Sison this coming November.