“Follow your heart, use your head,” was the advice given to model, dancer, singer-songwriter Mica Javier by her uncle Danny Javier of APO Hiking Society.
Mica Javier, 28, is a Timbaland Productions recording artist, like Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliot, and other hitmakers in the States.
The company Timbaland is owned by the famous African-American songwriter, rapper, and record producer Timbaland (stage name of Timothy Zachary Mosley).
Mica Javier told the press about her journey in the music industry during the presscon last September 13 at the Centerstage KTV and Resto Bar, T. Morato Ave., Quezon City.
MEETING RAPPER TIMBALAND. Mica recalled how it all began in 2010. “I actually met Timbaland here in Manila when they came for the Justin Timberlake concert in 2010.
“And then I was still living in New York, it just so happened that I was in Manila that time, and they pick me up, they just said ‘If you come back to New York and you’re serious about doing music, we can put you on the studio. If you want to.’
“So, obviously, I was like, ‘Okay!’ I was at the radio station with my friend Cliff [Ho], he was a Channel V VJ and he did a show with Georgina [Wilson], The Source, and I was at the radio station with him when Timbaland’s DJ came to guest on his show.
“Then he was just spinning, at the same time Tim’s [Timbaland] manager and publicist were there.
“We just talk and then we got along because we’re all from New York area.
“Then during the after-party of the concert they introduced me to other people like Tim himself, the band and the person managing me in the States.”
How did she feel when Timbaland offered her big break?
She replied, “It was surreal.”
Still, Mica had her doubts. “Because, you know, it’s easy for famous people to just tell you this and that and the other, so I didn’t really believe it until I was in the studio.
“I ended up in the studio in Philly in New York with Jim Beanz, and Jim Beanz was the one who did Britney Spears’ album, Blackout, Nelly Furtado, 'If We Ever Meet Again' by Katy Perry and Timbaland.
“So when I was in the studio with him, and he’s actually teaching me all these things and recording me, that's when I said, ‘Okay, they are not playing, they’re serious, so I better be serious too.’”
TIMBALAND PRODUCTIONS. Mica feels privileged to be part Timbaland’s roster of artists. She was also trained on how to do songs and produce her own singles.
She explained, “They basically signed me to their production company. Parang dinevelop [develop] nila ako sa paggawa ng originals ko na kanta.
“I write music, I don’t produce, so that’s what they [Timbaland Productions] did. They linked me up to producers under their roster. Marami silang young producers up and coming, tapos we just create songs together.
“Usually when you get songs from a camp like Timbaland it’s very, very expensive, so ang perks working under their roster is they give you the music right away and then they develop it, they improve your sound.
“And then they hook you up with shows and introduce you to the people in the industry so you can grow your brand as an artist.
“That’s what I did in the States with them.”
Did she sign a contract?
Mica answered, “Yes, I have a contract with them.
“They were actually the ones who sponsored my visa that got denied, so I ended up having to move here because I can’t live there anymore, legally and work."
Although Mica can't be a New Yorker, she agreed to an arrangement with Timbaland.
“Like I can go and visit but for a short period of time so I talked to my management there then he said, ‘You know your circumstances is difficult because you can’t tell government what to do, or immigration. So, work on your music back home.’
“So that’s what I am doing now.”
“3,000 LIGHTYEARS.” The song “3,000 Lightyears” was one of the first few songs Mica recorded under Timbaland Productions. She revealed that this song is very dear to because it gave her a lot of exposure in the States.
“Well, the biggest thing that came out of it is my song “3,000 Lightyears” it’s one the first few songs I recorded with them.
“Got picked up by FOX’s hit musical TV series Glee and then they also featured it in Dance Moms, a reality dance show in the States.
“So, my song was featured on those big shows.
“They also put it on iTunes, and I got a lot of exposures from that coz I guess they have a huge following.
“It’s really cute because they have these girls on YouTube doing covers of my song and I was like, ‘I am not anyone yet!’
“So it was pretty cool, so that’s one of the perks of being with them because they can link you to these different channels and avenues.”
What is “3,000 Lightyears” about?
Mica narrated, “It was about finding your comfort zone wherever you are.Basically for me, I can relate to this song because I was living away, I was living in New York and my family is in the Philippines.
“So, for me, the lyrics, ‘3000 lightyears away', feels like forever, seems like yesterday we were blowing up stars together… looking for a place called home.’
“Kind of like that feel, so for me it was basically, you know, it’s either finding your way back home or finding your home in every situation you are.”
“TONIGHT.” In June 2013, Mica released her first single titled “Tonight,” a duet with the Prince of RnB Jay-R.
“Tonight” is still topping the charts and has been on the airwaves giving much recall because of its new vibe and sound.
Mica talked about her duet with Jay-R, “’Tonight,’ the inspiration behind it are two people going through difficulties in life.
“And they just kind of want to give up on being negative or being around anything that brings you down.
“So I guess tonight we’re gonna go out, we’re gonna have fun or we’re gonna do whatever we wanna do, so just that we can lift our spirits to the next level and be positive and have fun and share that with everyone.”
Before coming home to Manila, Mica lived and studied in New York for seven years.
LIFE IN NEW YORK. The new singer recalled how New York made her pursue her dream, “I went to NYU [New York University] and a lot of my peers there were in the creative field and at that time I was also interning for a fashion company doing marketing and PR.
“So I would hang out will all these creative people and I found this group and they were just doing music all the time and they were out at bars in New York, they would hook up with producers and they would just write, write, write.
“I got influenced by them; if they can do it then I can do it as well. Coz I’ve been doing it my whole life I just never took it seriously.
“Us Filipinos we do that, we grew up singing in family reunions, we dance parang normal lang so you don’t take it seriously coz it’s around you all the time.
“Whereas over there what we would do here in the Philippines they would do it seriously like a career. So then I said, I can do that too.”
What pushed her to conquer the world of music?
“It was when I graduated college and I couldn’t get a job, for the life of me,” said Mica.
“Like I thought that if you go to college, you’re supposed to follow the rules and land a job, submit your resumé, whatever, did not work out for me.
“So I ended up going back to dancing, I ended up modelling again, I ended up doing all these random jobs but still centred on the arts.
“So I said, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna try.’ Coz I’ve always wanted to, so why not?”
Why didn’t she just pursue music here in the Philippines?
Mica said, “I wanted to come for a while but I didn’t want to come home empty-handed because I wanted to do music.
“I wanted to exhaust all my resources in the States and then have that here and be able to grow some more.
“Coz the experience I gained with them was really good. I grew a lot as a person, as an artist so if I’ll be able to apply it here that would really be cool.”
Now that she has something to show the Filipinos and her family, she’s staying here in the Philippines to do originals and give RnB a spot in the Philippines.
Mica shared her experience working with Salbakuta, “I met them through Jay-R coz Salbakuta is under his label [Homeworkz] and they were looking for a female vocalist to do one of the hooks to their song.”
Was it difficult to sing a song in Filipino?
The singer admitted, “Yeah! Kasi Tagalog siya and it was like the first time I recorded in Tagalog.
“Mahirap pala, kasi I have to change my accent.
“It’s really hard to transfer like the crispiness of Tagalog to singing, well, for me personally, and when I did that song, I had to do it, I had to do it with conviction. That I am singing in Tagalog.”
Although Mica can easily enter the music industry she did it the hard way and proved to her family that she could do it on her own. She says her family did not spoonfeed her, they supported her all the way.
“My family has always been supportive and just tell me to do what I wanna do and just pursue it.
“Sometimes they’ll introduce me to the people and then it’s up to me, like they don’t spoonfeed me at all, they leave it up to me to do the work.
“But the advice and the wisdom and all that, that’s what they give me and that’s priceless.”
FAVORITE SINGERS. Mica also shared her favorite singers and bands in the industry.
Indeed, blood is thicker than water. Topping her faves list are her uncles Danny and George Javier, “Obviously, my uncle [Danny Javier], APO, my other uncle, George Javier, and his group ANG4 [ANG4gettables], they’re really, really good.
“Also Rico Blanco, I love him, he’s a friend of mine. Well, obviously, Jay-R and Kyla, like that, those people. There are a lot of genres here and a lot of underground musicians like Up Dharma Down. I’ve been meeting a lot of musicians here and it’s really cool what they’re doing, they just need exposure so I am lucky to have this duet with Jay-R coz it’s gotten a lot of exposure. “
Mica also shared that she wants to write Tagalog songs that will bring "light and positivity" among Filipinos. She admitted that she’d often run to her uncle Danny Javier and ask for advice. “I do, I always ask him but he’s always busy.”
She continued, “You know that song “Harana,” that’s one of my favorite songs.
“So, I think I would stick to that lane, just add elements of my R&B side because I can break it down and play it on acoustic guitar too.
“So I wanna do Filipino songs that Filipinos can relate to but I don’t think as controversial coz I like to spread light and positivity, so I just want people to have fun.”