It has taken six years for recording artist, stage actress and entrepreneur Rachel Alejandro to come up with a new album and music lovers better “Believe” it’s worth the wait.
According to Rachel, the 13 tracks in “Believe” were chosen so carefully that she refused songs submitted to her by friends (some of whom are big names in the industry) when these didn’t fit the bill. “It was hard telling them ‘no’ because what they wrote were really very good songs. But in the end, we couldn’t just settle for ‘very good’ – we wanted the best,” she said.
One of these is the album’s carrier single, “Tayo Pa Ba?” written by Edith Gallardo and Niño Regalado. Rachel admits crying the first time she heard it. “I had just broken up with my boyfriend then so I was able to relate to the song. ‘Tayo’ will please my loyal fans and will win over younger people who may not be familiar with my music.”
“Tayo Pa Ba?” is about two people who have supposedly moved on from their relationship but are still thinking secretly that what they had may still be worth one more chance. The song is in the vein of Rachel’s biggest hits such as “Paalam Na,” “Bulag Sa Katotohanan” and “Kay Tagal” that all tell of real situations versus mere generic messages.
Released under Sony Music Entertainment, “Believe” also contains the songs “Bakit Hindi Tayo?” (penned by Cholo Escano), “Hanggang” (an Amber-Marcus Davis collaboration) and “The Rain” (written by Rachel herself). The remakes are “You Were There” (by Southern Sons done in duet with her father, Hajji Alejandro), “Xanadu” (Olivia Newton John), “Don’t Stop Believing” (Journey) “Alone” (Heart) and “There’s A Fine, Fine Line” (from the musical “Avenue Q”).
“Although our concept for ‘Believe’ was to come up with strong original materials, we included these remakes to introduce the pop audience to the musicals that I am part of,” she said.
Rachel is part of the puppet-meets-person musical, “Avenue Q,” that runs at Carlos P Romulo Theater inside the RCBC Plaza in Makati City from March 12 to March 27. Produced by Atlantis Productions, the singer plays Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut in the Tony Award-winning show.
“I want my latest album to show people who have not watched any theatrical production that theater is not elitist at all. Many musicals are totally relatable even to young people. Hopefully, the cuts that we chose that are from musicals I am part of, will inspire them to check out the shows,” she said.
Rachel describes “Believe” as a pop album; one that’s easy to listen to but canvasses the geniuses of some of OPM’s finest songwriters and producers. The songs have different flavors and show off her different vocal textures. “I was able to give my voice a rest these past years which now allows me to use its full strength and range. If before, ang boses ko ay parang piano na ilang tiklada lang ang tumutugtog, now every key is functional,” said she.
Asked if the changing trend in music has affected her singing style, Rachel said that what it strengthened is her belief that singing from the heart is potent above all. “I have never been nor will ever be into vocal acrobatics. What’s important in singing is sincerity. When you tell your story as honestly as possible, you make a connection,” she said.
Rachel will also be in the US in April for some shows with Geneva Cruz. She’ll go to New York end of the year to take up skating lessons in preparation for her role in “Xanadu.”
Launched on “ASAP XV” last March 7, Rachel says “Believe” reflects her rekindled purpose as an artist. “If you’re someone like me who has been around, you know that it’s easy to lose sight of why you entered the business in the first place. This album reasserts my belief that new good music still exists. That in these days of the revivals, fresh materials still have a place in the OPM scene,” she concludes.