“It’s bittersweet; it’s not always something you’d enjoy all the time.”
This was Darren Espanto’s unexpected reply when asked regarding the lessons fame has taught him, at the press launch for the deluxe edition of his album, “Be With Me.”
Malaysian teen sensation Nik Qistana, with whom Darren collaborates on the album, supported his statement.
“It’s not always easy to deal with negativity when you are trying your best to pursue your dreams. Sometimes it’s good and you get lost in the moment; but when it’s a bad moment, you just can’t help it,” she said.
Considering Darren’s success from the time he won the hearts of Filipinos as one of the contestants of “The Voice Kids,” to where he is now three years after and releasing yet another album, one would think that it would be all hearts and rainbows for the 16-year-old singer.
“It’s not something that’s always easy like they see in TV. People don’t know what happens off camera and what happens off stage,” he explained.
Both stars confessed missing their sense of privacy, but understand that it’s part of the path they chose.
Being an artist involves hard work, and these two young artists have been working very hard indeed.
The new release of “Be With Me” includes collaborations between Nik and Darren. One is a slightly different rendition of “My Baby and Me,” which Darren originally sang by himself in the standard edition of the album; the other is a stripped-down version of Nik’s hit single “Young Hearts.”
A music video is in the works and should be released soon.
Nik and Darren have been doing the rounds to promote their collaboration, and obviously savor the experience of working together.
Nik shares, “I’ve met amazing people and learned a lot from MCA Music Philippines and Universal Malaysia. They’ve taught me a lot. But I would say that I have learned to be more in the moment at appreciate what I have and grateful for where I am at. I’ve learned a lot from his collaboration, and I’m honored to be collaborating with Darren.”
Darren chimes in, saying, “It’s been wonderful meeting other people who are also passionate about music and learning that I can do more chill and feel-good songs as well, not just the serious ones. It was a lot of fun working with Nik as well.
“Be With Me” also includes songs that Darren himself wrote—“Hanggang Hi Hello” and “Home.” The young singer and “The Voice Kids” runner-up has contrasting sentiments regarding his compositions.
“Right now, I regret writing ‘Hanggang Hi Hello.’ Nako-cornyhan ako. I feel as if it’s very cheesy. People say they like it so I’m like, okay,” Darren confesses.
“And then for ‘Home,’ I am very proud of that song ‘cause when I released the album, people, not just fans, but other artists as well started texting me saying they really like the song ‘Home’ without knowing that I was the one who wrote it. I’m very proud of that and I hope to make more songs that people would also react to in the future as well.”
Aside from being gifted singers, the two are aware of how fans look up to them and see them as role models, particularly Darren.
He explains, “I would say being a role model—especially to younger kids— is an important thing for me. Not just the little kids but everyone who watches everything we do, I’d say.”
Darren also knows the impact of social media, and takes good care in using it without necessarily compromising his relationship with his fans.
“On social media, I guess, I limit myself in what I say and what I post. But the Darren they see on social media is also the Darren they would know in real life—in person—as well.
“I’m very open to my fans. They know me pretty well. With my fans, I like to interact with them. Gusto ko po yung nakaikipagkulitan sa kanila sa Twitter, sa comments minsan.” he said.
There are however, times when he gets bashed by netizens, but he either ignores or tries to take criticism constructively.
“I guess yung negative feedback, I don’t really dwell on it. Hindi ko po pinapansin na lang. But if it’s good negative feedback, if it would help you grow as a person, I consider kind of taking tips from that feedback,” Darren explained.
Despite the challenges and undeniable pressure of being public figures, both Nik and Darren are thankful for what they have achieved and optimistic about their respective careers.
“I am very happy with where I am now. I wouldn’t be here without Universal Music. So far I am loving it. Hopefully I would have an album very, very soon. But other than that I would just like to grow in this industry and learn more and meet more powerful people that I can learn from. And just be a better person than I am today,” said Nik.
“I’m very, very happy with what’s going on ‘cause I never really expected it. Nung bata pa po ako, pangarap ko lang po lahat ng nangyayari ngayon I hope my career would just stay steady and it would continue on nicely,” Darren said.
The Deluxe Edition of “Be With Me” is available at all leading record stores and on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Spinnr.