Friday, June 20, 2014

Kito Romualdez Launches Self-Titled Debut Album

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Acoustic guitar-flavored pop music acts are a dime-a-dozen. But every now and then, somebody new comes along who just coaxes you with the easiest melodies and the catchiest of original songs.

Say hello then to Kito Romualdez.

This singer-songwriter is originally a native of San Juan, Manila. But he's lived most of his young life in Canada. Now that he's back in the land of his birth, all he wants to do is sing you his songs. His musical influences are John Mayer, Jason Mraz, John Legend, Alicia Keys and a few more choice singers. The common denominator here is that he's into artists who write their own songs.

Maybe that's why Kito is into creating his own material. In fact, the first track off his self-titled debut is a self-penned tune. And incidentally, it's also one of the best tracks in his album.

An imaginitive piece of pop writing, “Ready Ka Na Ba?” is a call to action as Kito asks, are you ready to be in a relationship? It's plain as day as Kito sings “ready ka na ba lumipad, sumayaw at umikot-ikot sa mundong kong ito? ready ka na ba magsaya, kumanta sa mundong nakakahilo?” It's obvious what Kito's asking---are you ready for the rollercoaster ride of love?---It's exciting and nerve-wracking for sure. But you're assured here as Kito ends that little verse with “kapit lang, andito ako.” Coupled with a head-bobbing melody that you can't escape, “Ready Ka Na Ba?” is an excellent way to start an album.


Kito has a knack for storytelling too. In his 5-track CD, there's an interesting song called “Jack & Jill.” In this little ditty, the singer reimagines the famous nursery rhyme, and turns it into a little love story. It's not the nicest of tales though as Kito croons “Jack and Jill didn't fall down a hill, Jack and Jill fell in love. Jack didn't break his crown, he broke his beating heart from Jill not being around.” That's straightforward heartbreak there, but somehow Kito softens the blow with those ringing, upbeat guitar chords and those light melodies.

Kito's self-titled set also includes a pair of covers in “I Can't Make You Love Me,” and “Suntok Sa Buwan.”

The latter is an original by Grammy-awarded blues and country artist Bonnie Raitt, who Kito claims is a musical influence. Kito says that “country music is big from where I come from in Canada, and this cover is my nod to the folks back there.” The slow tempo, the shimmering guitar arpeggios and the rising string section certainly has “ballad” written all over it. But more than that, this setting shows that Kito can sing a certain way. The boy has got a lot of soul in him as well.

Meanwhile, the OPM alt-pop hit “Suntok Sa Buwan” gets reworked into a love song filled with warm sounding acoustic instruments. If there's ever a need for an unplugged OPM cover to represent Kito, then you don't have to look further than this number.

Kito would like to close his set with an original of course, and the upbeat “She Could Be The One” is just the tune to do it. It's positive, melodic and and you could say hopelessly romantic of Kito, if we're basing from his lyrics. Some might say Kito's cheesy (and he admits to this). But given the circumstance, if you and your songs sound this good, then by all means, bring on the cheese, and bring Kito Romualdez along with it.


Ready Ka Na Ba?
Jack & Jill
I Can't Make You Love Me
Suntok Sa Buwan
She Could Be The One

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