#PARCINQFresh featuring Gian Bernardino
As the cool breeze gently caresses our skin during this chilly season, it's the perfect time to delve into playlists that could envelop us with a warm and comforting ambiance. And for our latest offering, Cup of Joe's perfectly blended discography is what you might just need for the occasion! Fronting the ensemble that leaves no room for anything less is one of their lead vocalists, Gian Bernardino.
The singer-songwriter and style aficionado wears confidence and authenticity with every move. With creative freedom at his fingertips, Gian's self-expression manifests through his crafty melodies and fearless fashion choices. On and off stage, he makes sure that his outgoing and adventurous personalities are beautifully mirrored in his fashion statements, regardless of whether it’s masculine, feminine, androgynous, high-fashion, or avant-garde aesthetics.
And while his distinct self-expression might not appeal to your senses by taking cues from his fashion icon, Harry Styles, Gian is likewise unapologetically extraordinary in the pursuit of his artistry. Though Gian loves to powerdress in bright color-splashed punk-street style on a normal basis, his tale of self-expression has gone through several mix-and-matches to find the right balance and skillfully don it.
The melodious artisan from Baguio embarked on his musical journey at the tender age of three. While residing in Qatar, he actively took part in singing contests, where he discovered his ultimate aspiration: to become a musician and performer. Teen prodigies like Charice Pempengco and Rhap Salazar served as his inspiration to master striking high notes, but it was KZ Tandingan who led him to discover his own voice in the music realm.
The soul supreme’s expressive singing, performances, and self-style, coupled with her ability to challenge gender stereotypes and promote self-expression, left an indelible impression on Gian. However, upon returning home for good, Gian fell victim to intimidation because of his individuality. It was through penning narratives that tug at the heartstrings and eventually pursuing a career in the music industry that he transformed this challenging experience into a source of empowerment.
Taking a leap to the present, Cup of Joe brings a fresh flavor to the soundscape as they deliver the extreme and the maximum in any way possible. Scrub off those masculine musicians, clean-cut artists, and any label that’s in the norm. Breaking free from conventional stereotypes, Gian and his bandmates serve a reimagined sense of performance and what it's like to be an artist full of self-expression.
In this #PARCINQFresh feature, Gian shares why self-expression is a vital theme in their musicality and in embracing his identity confidently as an artist.
Q. As an indie artist who began your musical journey in Baguio, and now returning to shoot your individual feature with a string of accolades already, the experience must be incredible. How does it feel to be back home, reconnecting with your musical roots and reflecting on your humble beginnings?
Baguio evokes a sense of comfort and nostalgia within me, grounding me and serving as a reminder of the challenges I've overcome to become who I am today. Reflecting on my beginnings is important as it rekindles the initial motivations that sparked my journey. This place has greatly influenced my songwriting, inspiring me to incorporate vivid imagery and infuse my music with a cold and melancholic ambiance, drawing from the weather of Baguio.
Q. Your music delivers relatable lyrics that deeply resonate with every listener. It's evident that your songs explore various forms of self-expression with Estranghero and Sinderela to name a few. We're intrigued to know how you infuse self-expression into your music. Walk us through your creative process and how you bring these themes to life in your songs.
Since 2019, we entered the music industry by writing songs inspired by our personal experiences and those of others. Despite heartbreak songs dominating the trend at that time, we remained authentic in our songwriting. I think the beauty of giving importance to self-expression in making music is that it creates a genuine connection with our fans as it enables them to resonate with our experiences. Through freely expressing ourselves, we get to validate and acknowledge unsaid feelings whilst giving inspiration and solace. This freedom enables our fans to create their narratives and make our music a part of their own lives.
Q. For those who haven't yet discovered your latest EP, Patutunguhan, give them a glimpse of what awaits them.
Patutunguhan EP talks about how love can be pure, unrequited, estranged, and unconditional. It is a collection of stories of how bittersweet it is to fall in and out of love and eventually finding yourself lost in the pursuit of it.
Q. Previously, you mentioned that Cup of Joe's biggest dream was simply to share your love for music with the world. Having accomplished that and more, what exciting aspirations lie ahead for the band and for you as a musician?
As a band, we're very much looking forward to finally releasing a full album, going on a city tour, and holding a concert at a big venue. As an artist, I'm looking forward to writing more songs and exploring other forms of art such as acting and modeling.
Q. If you were to choose one song to dedicate to your fans, the Joewahs, which song holds the most profound significance and connection for you?
It would be Sagada. This song is one of the first songs I’ve written and it is about finding peace, comfort, and happiness within a person. It’s as if this so-called place of escape became a person. And for me, my fans are my Sagadas. They’re the reason why I keep doing what I do.
Photography by Daryl Nacario
Art Direction by Joe Andy
Words and Interview by Kryzzle Cailing
Grooming and Styling by Vee Bandilla
Fashion Film by Ian Francisco with
Video Associate Pogs Francisco
Special thanks to Viva Artists Agency and Viva Records
Shot on location at Baguio City