Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An Interview with Rico Blanco About His Song "World Without Strangers" for Giordano Philippines

In my recent post, I shared the happenings during Giordano Philippines's 25th Anniversary Circus Themed Party. It was there when I got the chance to interview Filipino music icon Rico Blanco about the song he wrote for the fashion brand.

By now, I'm sure loyal customers of Girodano and fans of Rico are already familiar with the beautiful "World Without Strangers" song. I heard it for the first time back in July when the song was officially launched in the Giordano Music Festival meant to celebrate music, love, and life as one. I liked the melody at once and appreciated the general thought of the song.

But it was only the other night, when I got to ask Rico himself about the song, that each line of the lyrics took on a much deeper meaning for me as well. When asked how he would personally describe a world without strangers, Rico thoughtfully answered, "It's a world where we are united by our sameness and our respect for each other's uniqueness. It's that kind of world where we celebrate our differences but, at the same time, we know that we are one."

official video

He illustrated this by describing that although the sun may be setting somewhere else while it is rising in this part of the world, "our hearts beat the same way. We have the same desires for our kids, our parents, our friends, our loved ones. Our dreams and goals are the same," he rationalized. "No matter the different cultures we have, when you meet someone from another part of the world, or even from another part of the country, you're not really strangers."

"It's something that I focused on in the song. We're always told that everyone's unique but we're also all the same. I think I explained it better in song form," he chuckled and admitted that it took him a while to come up with the finished product.

"I knew what I wanted to say, what I wanted to express; but I was looking for ways, for new perspectives on how to say it. I didn't want people to say, 'Oh yeah, I've heard it before'," he explained. "[World Without Strangers is not just] another 'We Are One' song. But there's a reason why there are a lot of those songs … because we really need more songs like that and people singing more of those songs and believing [them] because it's true, we are really one."

Normally, Rico says he could write a song in a few days if he's lucky. "For this one, it took me more than a month. It was [during] a trip to Japan to see the cherry blossoms," he reminisced, recalling being immersed in a different and seemingly magical world. While writing World Without Strangers, where he incorporated the words "neath jeepney sky and blossom shade," he found out about a poem that says there are no strangers under a cherry blossom tree. "I don't know exactly how it was worded, but I found that true! Because I was there [with a lot of Japanese people] and we were all just in awe."

video with lyrics -- you can now sing along! :)

"I think it's the same thing. We're Filipinos but when you see the sunset in Manila Bay or in Boracay and we'll go 'Awww!' and then there's someone from another part of the world watching [the sun] with us, at that very moment, we are one, [right?] We're the same."

For Rico, World Without Strangers is one of those magical songs because "my memories from that very happy trip, my first time to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo, there's a warm feeling every time I hear or sing the song. I'm very happy with it." 

Hey, Rico, those of us who appreciate great songs are very happy with it, too! :)

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