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An Interview With "Tala" Songwriter Nica Del Rosario

By now, everyone has heard the chart-topping song "Tala" by Sarah Geronimo. You probably know all the lyrics to it. Maybe you even know all the choreography and are bold enough to do the Tala challenge and upload it on social media.

Many of us can find a connection with the lyrics of "Tala" and relate our emotions to the meaning behind each line. A rare poetic talent in music can result in a hit song that will be sung for many decades, and such artistry is required when it comes to composing songs that speak to our emotions. Nica Del Rosario — the songwriter of "Tala" — is one of these rare talents.

Nica started learning how to play the guitar in high school, which quickly led to writing songs at the age of 16. Her first professional songwriting job came at the age of 21, just before graduating from college. Samahan Filipino spoke to Nica Del Rosario about her music and her inspirations.

At what age did you know that music was the career path you wanted to take? ''I didn't decide on what I wanted for my future 'til I was in college. I didn't think that it was a viable career option, so I put off thinking about my future for as long as possible. It was in college when I realized that I could combine my love for music and writing and try to make a career out of it.''

Growing up, who were your influences in your music?

"I have always been a fan of artists who also happen to be talented songwriters, such as Damien Rice, Sara Bareilles, and Ingrid Michaelson. I listened to a lot of indie-folk and alternative rock/pop music. My favorite bands as a teen were Incubus and Coldplay. The OPM band scene was really big back then, so I also loved local acts like Kitchie Nadal, Barbie Almalbis, UpDharmaDown, and Bamboo."

What are some of the biggest challenges that songwriters get when composing songs?

"Definitely getting creative blocks. Sometimes I can finish a song in a half-hour, but there are times when I would rack my brain for weeks just to come up with half a verse. It's definitely challenging when you have deadlines and briefs to follow. I have learned to not wait for inspiration to come for me anymore; I look for it and seek it out."

How did you feel and what was your reaction when "Tala" became a hit nationwide and even with overseas Filipinos?

"It was definitely surreal. No one in our team had any idea that this would happen. The attention got a little overwhelming at some point because I'm not a fan of the limelight (hence prioritizing songwriting over performing), but overall, I'm eternally grateful for this blessing and for every person who enjoyed and loved the song. It was definitely a dream I never thought would come true like this." What was it like working with Sarah Geronimo?

"I have said this multiple times already and will always stand by it: Sarah is one of the nicest, kindest people I've ever met. She is incredibly humble and grounded, not just for someone who has reached her level of superstardom, but even for just a human being in general. She is also incredibly passionate as an artist and is very particular about what she wants and never settles for less. It has been an absolute honor working with her, and I'll always believe that she deserves every blessing that has come and continues to come to her."

What's your advice to future songwriters and musicians who want to take this career path?

"Never stop learning. It's always fun to work with other people and collaborate because more often than not, you learn something new to take with you. Being open to new things and new possibilities can work wonders for your work and who you are."


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