Anyone is one viral video away from being famous nowadays thanks to social media and the Internet.
But before TikTok videos and Instagram Reels, music artists had to “chase” record producers and submit demo tapes to radio stations before they could get their art out there.
This was the experience of international singer-songwriter Karen Ann Rodriguez Cabrera known as Karencitta.
She said in an exclusive chat with Summit Media’s OG Channel, “I’ve been trying so hard for so many years.
“I was part of that YouTube era uploading covers online, hoping for a big hit like Justin Beiber, but nothing happened.”
She mentioned that “Karencitta is her ‘angga,’ the childhood nickname that was coined by her brother Bambam.
According to her, Bambam would write songs with her, believing "I could be a star one day.”
And although he’s always behind the scenes, he has become one of Karencitta’s sources of inspiration.
She shared, “He wrote a lot of lyrics for 'Cebuana', adding, she named 'Bambambam' after her brother.
The song is her expression of gratitude to her brother "for helping me and supporting me with my career.”
Before Cabrera became known as Karencitta, she had to work odd jobs in Hollywood and play a few parts in movies and TV series in California.
She related, “I was living in L.A. and I did a lot of odd jobs here and there. That would be Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder.
“I did a movie with Taylor Lautner, with Zac Efron.”
Cabrera revealed she went to school on acting for two years before she started working, “That’s something a lot of my supporters don’t know about.”
She said one of the best things about her Hollywood stints was getting to see the veteran actors behind the scenes.
“I witnessed Viola Davis in the flesh! She’s one of the top actresses in Hollywood right now and I feel very blessed to watch her and learn from her.”
The singer-songwriter also said she was a “sponge” during her acting gigs, knowing that learning from these A-list actors was a rare treat not anyone can just experience.
She wrote her hit song “Cebuana” at a time she was staying at a rented apartment in Los Angeles.
The whole process of writing the song was, for her, extremely magical, “It’s something that I cannot redo... I finished recording it in 20 minutes.”
She said it’s the fastest she has ever written and produced, “If a song comes easy while writing it, it’s a hit. It’s a sure hit.”
As of writing, “Cebuana” has reached over 24 million views on YouTube.
Cabrera admitted that the first time it reached a million views, she was not prepared for it.
With the highs came the lows. As more and more people got to watch and listen to her song, more and more have started giving their opinions.
It never stopped her, however, to continue showcasing her Filipino and Cebuano roots in her songs.
She said, “I’ve always wanted to amplify original Pinoy music,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to bridge the gap.
“In fusing my culture, my roots, being Filipino, being Bisaya. Injecting those lyrics into my music was very, very important,” she said.
Watch the full interview here to get to know Karencitta even more:
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What is your favorite Karencitta song? Share it in the comments section!