Sassa Dagdag has been busy creating new songs during the quarantine.
On May 28, 2020, the up-and-coming singer released her new single titled "Hulog Ni Bathala" under Polyeast Records.
In an exclusive interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), she revealed that she recorded the song in the comfort of her home, not in a professional studio.
Sassa's brother Bryant Dagdag served as her sound engineer and vocal coach. Albert Tamayo did the final mixing and mastered the song, while Arnie Mendaros did the back-up vocals.
The 17-year-old singer told PEP.ph, "Medyo mas napadali po kasi kung ako lang po talaga, hindi ko po siya kaya.
"Pero since si kuya po, meron naman po kaming basic materials for recording, mas napadali po iyong proseso."
WRITING "HULOG NI BATHALA"
What inspired Sassa to write the heartbreak song "Hulog ni Bathala"?
Sassa revealed that it was actually based on her personal experience.
She recalled, "Iyong 'Hulog ni Bathala' po kasi, meron po kasi akong style na kapag umaapaw iyong feelings ko, sinusulat ko po siya.
"Nung time po kasi na iyon sobrang inspired kasi ako, may nagbigay po sa akin ng inspirasyon to write a song, and I'm very thankful for that particular person.
"Kaya sabi ko [sa lyrics], 'Hulog ka ni Bathala, dahil sa 'yo ako'y naniwala.'"
When things didn't work out, Sassa found a way to channel the heartbreak into her song.
She continued, "And then, after po, nung nasa drafts na siya, nawala na po iyong inspiration ko na iyon kaya po nilagyan ko po siya ng twist sa ending na:
Hulog nga ba ni Bathala?/ Bakit tila nanlalamig na ang tadhana/ Araw-araw pa rin kitang na-aalala/Kahit sa panaginip na lang tayo nagsasama.
"Considering na nawala na po iyon, nagkaroon po siya ng twist sa ending, from a love song to ganun po."
DISCOVERING HER SOUND
Sassa was quite shy when she started her music career at the age of 12.
She became a finalist of the second season of ABS-CBN's singing competition The Voice Kids PH in 2015.
Two years after the show, she released her debut album titled Sassy Sassa.
Sassa tried her luck in another talent competition in 2019. This time, she became a finalist on GMA-7's talent search titled The Clash.
Asked how her new song differs from when she was just starting her career, Sassa said her music now has more depth to it.
She added, "Siguro po iyong music ko ngayon, mas may pinaghuhugutan na po ako na experience sa mga nangyayari sa akin.
"Kaya feel ko po na mas better kong nako-compose or nabubuo iyong isang kanta."
Growing up has helped her music mature as she finds her own sound.
"Hinuhugot ko po siya sa mga experience ko, and iyong sound din at the same time, it's slowly turning into more Sassa kumpara dati.
"Considering po na tumatanda na ako, mas alam ko na iyong style ng music na gusto ko.
"For this particular song, dahil medyo heartbreaking nga po gaya nung nasa dulo, medyo mellow siya, medyo acoustic po yung song.
"Para pag sa live din, nagagawan ko siya ng different versions."
She added, "Right now, I'm experimenting with my style. I'm looking kung saan talaga ako comfortable."
LOOKING UP TO FELLOW PERFORMERS
Sassa said she has become more comfortable on stage. This was something she learned from Bamboo Mañalac, who served as her coach in The Voice Kids PH.
She recalled, "Kasi nung The Voice days, very stiff pa ako mag-perform, parang andun lang ako sa gitna and not moving. I stay lang in one spot.
"He told me na, 'Every time you perform, always remember to own the stage and perform like it's your last performance.'
"So every time na nagpe-perform ako, tinatatak ko po iyon sa utak ko, and hindi naman all the time nakakapag-perform, so I make the most out of it."
Meanwhile, Sassa named R&B singer KZ Tandingan, "Dating Tayo" singer TJ Monterde, and Cebuana singer Karencitta as some of the people she looks up to in the OPM industry.
She explained, "Si Ate KZ po kasi, sobrang love ko iyong style niya. Love ko na lagi niya nilalagyan iyong music ng flavor niya na parang iyong isang kanta, di mo mae-expect na ito pala iyon.
"Si Kuya TJ naman po, kahit na he's famous, hindi po niya nakakalimutan kung saan siya nanggaling. Very humble pa rin po siya, and I want to be like that.
"Si Ate Karencitta naman po, love ko iyong medyo chill iyong kanta niya and iyong rap niya, I'm into that po. Pag nakikinig po kasi ako ng music, gusto ko iyong chill and may rap at the same time."
FOR THE FANS
Sassa also told PEP.ph how thankful she is to have such loyal fans, who she refers to as Sassanatics, and how much she appreciates their support all these years.
She said, "No words can express how grateful I am for having them.
"Tine-treasure ko po na andiyan po sila para sa akin from the start.
"Hindi ko kayang sabihin through words basta sobrang blessed ko lang po talaga na kasama ko sila from the start.
"Kasi po hanggang ngayon, hindi po sila nagsawang suportahan ako kahit ano pong pagdaanan. Para po sa akin, family na rin po sila."
When Sassa needs inspiration, she turns to her fans.
Sassa said, "I take them as an inspiration po to keep doing my music, to keep doing what I love.
"Kasi sometimes po, nawawalan din po ako ng inspiration, nawawalan din po ako ng gana sa ginagawa ko.
"Pero dahil po sa comments na iyon, they keep me going, they push me to do better kasi alam ko po na may naniniwala pa po sa akin."