Nadine Lustre Is Using Music to Showcase Her Human Side

Photos courtesy of Careless Music.

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For Nadine Lustre, transparency is the most important thing. Born and raised in the Philippines, she began acting in a slew of Filipino films before seriously pivoting to music last year. Insecurities about not knowing how to write songs discouraged her, until now. “Two years ago, I successfully wrote my first song without any help,” says Lustre. “Since then, I’ve been trying, but it was really this year that I really told myself that I could actually write.” Her new 12-track R&B album titled Wildest Dreams was released in October. To celebrate her recent release, Lustre spoke to Interview about her creative process, anime, and how Jhené Aiko taught her to be vulnerable.


On Wildest Dreams: I started working on the album last year. Wildest Dreams is inspired by this one specific dream I had back in 2017. Aside from the fact that it was really vivid, it was also very meaningful to me. I would say that it changed my life and how I look at things. If I were to pick [a favorite song off the album], it would be “Dance with Danger.” The message of the song is that I’m ready for what’s to come. I guess that’s where I’m at right now.

On learning how to be vulnerable from Jhené Aiko: When I checked my Spotify Wrapped, my first two artists were Jhené Aiko and Lady Gaga. Every time I listen to their music, I feel something different. With Jhené, I feel like she’s the one who taught me how to be vulnerable. Being in the industry here in the Philippines, people expect you to be good all the time, and showing vulnerability is like showing weakness. That was a big no-no back in the day. But because of Jhené Aiko, I learned how to be more open and to not be ashamed of the things that I’m going through, and to actually share it. My listeners might be able to pick up something from that.

On dreams of being a manga artist: [If I wasn’t a singer], I’d probably still do creative projects, like get back into painting. I love anime, so when I was a kid growing up, being a manga artist was the dream. I have a lot of favorite animes. Right now, I’m hooked on Attack on Titan because the latest season is coming out. I also love Great Teacher Onizuka. It’s a weird, kind of pervy anime I used to watch when I was younger. 

On deleting her Twitter: It just got a bit too toxic for me. I don’t get comments on Instagram because it had to be turned off. But [to connect with fans], we’ve been doing podcasts since the album came out. I just opened my Facebook page. I don’t [like social media]. I really don’t, but it’s just one of those things that you can’t really avoid because of work. It’s something that I really have to get into because for brands, posting, and promoting the album.

On her dream collaboration: I know it’s super impossible, but Björk is one of my idols. Her artistry and music is so creative and intense.

On wanting to learn production: My sound is pretty experimental. It’s still pop, but we tried using different instruments. There are instruments on the album that are traditional Filipino instruments. I’m still trying to find my sound. I’m not really into producing yet. I’m just like, “One day, one day.” When they try to make the instrumental, I’m just there watching. But honestly, I don’t really know what’s going on, so I still have that to learn.

On acting versus music: I was supposed to do a TV series before the quarantine, but then because of the pandemic, it got canceled. But with the music, there was nothing stopping it from happening. I still want to act, but you can’t really express yourself through acting because you’re always portraying a role. You always have a script. That’s something I realized because of the album.

On navigating show business in the Philippines: People see celebrities differently here in the Philippines. I wanted to break out of that mold and make them realize that I’m the same as them. I have emotions and vulnerability. I want to show them that my life isn’t all glitter. It’s challenges, tears, and all that.