ABS-CBN teen singer Darren Espanto is gearing up for an exciting collaboration with Malaysian teen sensation Nik Qistina.
Darren and Nik were tapped by Universal Music Malaysia and MCA Universal Music Philippines to work on two songs together which were both released in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Nik is featured in an updated version of Darren's "My Baby and Me" which is included in his solo sophomore album Be With Me. Nik also performed a stripped version of her single "Young Hearts" which has been streamed for almost a million times on Spotify.
The duo talked about their latest collaboration at a press conference held last Tuesday, June 13, at Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas.
In the interview, Darren said it was their record label's idea for them to work on together.
The teen singer told the press, "We're from the same record label so our record labels got us together.
"We heard each other's song and then we recorded them, and we just really liked the way we sounded, as well.
PH MEETS MYS. When asked what he likes about the Malaysia singer during the press conference, Darren pointed out, "I'd say her personality. She's very chill but at the same time, she's also playful and funny at times too.
"And her passion for music is also inspiring to others, as well."
Darren continued, "She's very pretty, and yun nga po, parang the first time we met each other we kind of just clicked right away."
Before actually meeting each other in person, the two singers have already been talking to each other through social media.
Darren recalled, "Before meeting with each other, we're already talking to each on Instagram and Twitter about the songs..."
He added, "I feel like we were doing it so that when we met, we wouldn't be too awkward, as well.
In a short span of time they've been promoting together, Darren said he has learned a lot from Nik.
He said, "We've been in so many interviews together and I wish I could be as spontaneous as her when [doing interviews].
"When we're doing interviews, my mind just keeps buffering but she's spontaneous on interviews and she knows what to say already."
Aside from being a little more confident and spontaneous, Darren also realized that he has other strengths with regards to singing aside from belting out high notes.
Darren observed, "Yung kaya ko palang hindi masyadong bumirit. Yun po, I'd say that's one thing I learned from myself when I did the collaboration."
NIK QISTINA. Nik is a 16-year-old singer who was discovered after her covers on YouTube became viral. In 2016, she signed up with Universal Music Malaysia and has opened for Gresyon Chance's tour in her country.
For her part, Nik said she developed her confidence and interpersonal skills while working on her collaboration with Darren.
Nik told the press, "I learned to be more confident and I learned to be more conscious at what I'm doing and who I'm meeting with.
"And I also learned a lot from my performances through the years and I learned that I have to just be in the moment and appreciate what I have."
The young performer said she would like to pursue urban-pop genre for her career. She also lists down pop, R&B, indie, and jazz as her favorite music genres.
When asked who her biggest musical influence is, she names international pop superstar Beyonce.
Nik explained, "For me Beyonce is one of my role models, and I'm proud to call her one because first, she is intelligent, she's focused, and she's determined to get what she wants, and she push herself to where she is right now.
"She's selling platinum [records] and she is also a mother and a wife, and she's so successful in life. To me, she's a living legend."
OTHER SIDE OF FAME. Both Darren and Nik were asked how they feel about the current state of their music careers.
Nik expressed her gratitude towards her record label for helping her achieve what she has right now.
She told the press, "I am very happy with where I am now. I wouldn't be here without Universal Music Malaysia and also, MCA Universal Music Philippines, to be where I am in the Philippines.
"This is my first time in the Philippines to do my promos and do the actual music videos with Darren is an honor. So far, I'm loving it."
Meanwhile, Darren still couldn't believe what he has achieved in his four-year music career in the country.
He said, "I never really expected it nung bata po ako, sobrang pangarap ko lang po lahat ng nangyayari ngayon.
"I hope my career would just keep on staying steady and it would continue on nicely."
However, the Kapamilya star noted that success and fame has its "bittersweet moments."
Darren told the press, "It's not always something that you'd enjoy all the time. It's not something that's really easy like one day, you see something on TV but people don't know what happens behind the cameras and like what happens off stage, those type of things."
Nik echoed Darren's sentiments especially with the bashing that's going through in social media.
She further explained, "It's not really easy to deal with negativity when you're trying to fulfill your dreams. Sometimes, it's good and you get lost in the moment but sometimes when it's a bad moment, you just can't help it."
One thing Darren said he misses the most before joining the world of showbiz is his privacy.
He told the press, "Now, we're public figures in the showbiz industry, of course. I guess being able to go to public places without being recognized, I guess. For example, pupuntang Enchanted Kingdom, hindi na pwedeng hindi ma-recognize. Like going to malls, even."
NEW DARREN. Meanwhile, members of the press also took note of Darren's "new look."
The 16-year-old singer made some obvious changes especially with his wardrobe and his singing style.
However, Darren admits that he's not yet used to this kind of change.
He said, "Hindi po ako sanay na ganyan yung itsura ko pero I guess it's also nice to kinda change your image a bit but not to [drastic]...
"I'm not that person who makes that drastic changes. I don't like doing those, but I guess like step by step or year by year. I'd like to change it by a bit.
"I don't know if it's a 'new Darren' but it's a grown type of Darren."
With him breaking an international market, Darren said social media plays a big role for young aspiring artists like him who want to go global.
He noted, "Katulad po nung cover ng 'Chandelier' na nag-viral, so I wasn't really expecting it.
"And since it was social media, people were able to share it and not only around Philippines but in different parts of the world."