MANILA, Philippines — At the start of 2021, Clara Benin couldn’t sleep. All night she was kept alive by thoughts of assumptions, regrets, mistakes, memories and other ghosts from her past.
It went on like this in her head for several nights until one night she sat down at her laptop, turned on her digital workspace, and wrote until she had a song.
After recording a demo and sending it to her closest friends (who were all asleep because it was 3am), she listened to the song again and cried.
“I just felt this sense of relief n / A finally I am able to release all these thoughts and I am able to create something beautiful out of this thing that has been causing me anxiety for many nights,” she told Rappler in a post. interview.
Songwriting has always been Clara’s healing ritual when it comes to processing emotions, however delicate they may be.
“Wine” – a fan-favorite that Clara wrote in 2014 and whose studio version eventually came out in 2020 – reads like a song about unrequited love, but was truly inspired by how Clara was overwhelmed by schoolwork and just wanted to have a glass of wine.
“It’s OK”, released in May 2020, was written at the very beginning of the pandemic. With lyrics like “We won’t be the same / I’m changed forever / I can’t ignore / What’s in front of me”, the song was Clara’s ode to the times and a reminder for relax in difficult times.
Her latest single “blink,” the product of those sleepless nights in 2021, is no different.
“Amazingly, it only took me one night to finish the song. I guess because the previous nights I thought so much about how to write the song and every day I journal all my thoughts, so when I finally opened my laptop and opened my logic session (where I record my music), when I opened this, it just came out, everything I wanted to say and everything I felt,” she shared.
“kungbaga (that is) it was already cooked, because I cooked it in my head…. I was able to let it all out in one night,” she said.
While the raw version of the song was finished in early 2021, Clara only released it on December 26, after working with Gabba Santiago on drums and electronic musician The Ringmaster as producer.
Their subtle instrumentals and production work add a new layer to the track, which is ultimately still grounded in the simplicity of Clara’s voice and guitar.
“I always feel protective of my songs. They’re like my babies, so it’s really important for me to work with people I really trust,” Clara said, sharing that her two collaborators on “blink” are her friends, so they understood what she wanted to do.
Since its release, the song has already been played 176,349 times on Spotify (to date). Released under the international label OFFMUTE, it potentially reached listeners not only in the Philippines, but in other countries.
“It’s kind of surreal to think about how this song has reached so many people, not just in the Philippines and maybe around the world, via the internet. And I’m right here in my room, doing music,” she said, laughing at how her song has traveled more than she has right now.
Clara admitted she still struggles to write songs about love and ‘happy things’, which only makes sense because there’s not much to process about happiness .
“I don’t know, I’m just more drawn to sadness when it comes to writing music. That’s when I feel like I need an outlet for that, so songwriting has always been that,” she shared. “I think that’s my challenge, that’s a challenge for me, to write more upbeat songs.”
Whether or not the world hears these catchy songs from Clara Benin, one thing is certain: she will be releasing more music this year.
“I’ve written a bunch of songs over the past two years, just working on the demos. I can finally record them,” she shared, adding that she hopes to release an album this year and more music videos.
Even though she shares her music with thousands of other listeners, her songs will always be personal to Clara.
“I try not to think about releasing it or what other people think about it…As much as possible, I just try to write the song,” Clara said.
“Songwriting has always been therapeutic for me,” she said. “It’s mine before giving it to the world, so I try to enjoy this moment while it’s still mine, before giving it to my listeners.” – Rappler.com