Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. First up: KA Antonio of Ajka.
Asked what her biggest musical influences are, and KA Antonio cites female-led ’90s and early ’00s acts like The Cranberries, Swing Out Sister, and Imago, along with other female musicians who strike a nostalgic chord, such as Barbie Almalbis and Alanis Morrissette. Now she gets to follow in their footsteps as the frontwoman for Ajka, the winner of the Nescafé Soundskool contest held in 2010. After a brief hiatus (in which her bandmates pursued jobs in the corporate world while KA released an album as a solo artist), the band that first formed in their DLSU college days has reunited and is ready to jump back into a reinvigorated music scene. “We’re coming up with new songs,” she happily announces. “We’re also currently working on re-releasing some of the songs from our first EP, coming up with a music video… it kind of feels like we’re a new band all over again, but we wanted to hold on to the songs that we had before.”
These days, Ajka regularly performs at monthly gigs called called No Covers Allowed, which puts promising local talents in the spotlight. “It’s fun! It can be hard finding gigs where you will get paid to play original music unless you’re a well-known artist,” she says. And if you want to get a glimpse of KA in action, watch this:
Describe yourself as an artist.
I don’t care! Or probably it’s because of the years that have passed… I had a phase when I was really losing it, asking myself why I wanted to do this. I felt so pressured that I couldn’t write music anymore. That’s what I’ve worked on the past few months: getting the passion back and having fun. I just want to keep remembering that this is my passion and not something I feel forced to do.
Top 3 songs on repeat?
“Super Far” by Lany, “Style” by Taylor Swift, and “Gravity” by John Mayer.
One song you would recommend to anyone?
“#41” by Dave Matthews Band, but you have to look for the live version. Or Swing Out Sister’s “Breakout,” the Live at the Jazz Café version. Especially if people are into jazz music—super ganda the solos.
Is OPM dead or thriving?
Thriving! There are a lot of super awesome new artists that you didn’t even know existed. Well, you know they all exist, but every so often, a new one comes up. But at the same time, the old ones are still there. So it’s really very, very interesting.
Coldplay… feeling! Ha ha. And John Mayer. Why not? Alessia Cara has a collab with John Mayer!
Photographs by Renzo Navarro
Makeup and grooming by Chyla of NYX Cosmetics