Nadine Lustre on stepping out of her comfort zone and saying goodbye to her 20s in new single, 'Overgrown': "I like shocking myself."

Nadine Lustre on stepping out of her comfort zone and saying goodbye to her 20s in new single, 'Overgrown': "I like shocking myself."

It's been a while since we've heard from Nadine Lustre, musically at least. 

The last time, the Filipino actor-singer was exploring mystifying sonic realms, questioning her journey, and conquering her fears in her visual album, Wildest Dreams. Since then, it's been quiet on the music front as she settles into new beginnings and phases of her life. Now, she's back to start anew—but not without thanking the past. 

In line with her 30th birthday later this year, Nadine released 'Overgrown', an enchanting ode to her transformative 20s, capturing all the scars, lessons, and experiences that's made her who she is today. Blossoming with introspection, the drill-forward track is a sonic cruise through the singer's heart and soul as she bids farewell to the last decade of her life and all the ups and downs that came with it. 


Written on the beautiful island of Siargao alongside Singaporean acts Linying and Josh Wei, in partnership with WILD Entertainment, the single is a reflection of everything that Nadine is as a person and an artist. It's a sincere story of transformation and acceptance, a blooming ascent from the wilderness. 

Following the release of 'Overgrown', Bandwagon caught up with Nadine Lustre to talk about returning to music, rapping for the first time, shocking herself, and starting a new decade. 

It's been a while since you released music. What is it like going back to it after like two years?

It was a bit nerve-racking just because making music is like a muscle that I haven't worked out in a while. I'm not the type who would, you know, sing in the shower or like that. I don't always sing, which I know that I should be doing most of the time, but surprisingly I don't. So, it's kind of weird to go back into that circulation but it's really exciting because since I stopped making music last year, it's that kind of thing that your body looks for.

I wanted to make more music but I had to take a pause because of all of the stuff that I was doing last year and also because I was transitioning from leaving the label as well. The collaboration with WILD is something that was unexpected. It was actually a good friend of mine, Curtismith, who approached me and asked if I was down to do a collaboration with WILD Entertainment, so of course I said yes. For me, it was a sign to get back into music again and I love making music.

For 'Overgrown', you worked with Linying and Josh Wei and took a little writing trip to Siargao. What was it like working on this song with them?

WILD wanted to make the song in an environment where I was most comfortable, where I was most creative and obviously, it's Siargao. So, they flew in Josh and Lin to Siargao so that we could work on the track and it was a nice balance of work and play. We would work on the music for very long hours. Then when we need a break, they [would] just jump into the pool or we sit by the pool. We just talk about different things or go out and eat at a restaurant. Siargao is very beautiful so it's not really hard to find a nice spot, you know?

It was a really nice experience working with them. It was a bit hard though when we were starting because like what I said earlier, it's a muscle that I haven't worked out in a while. So, when we were talking about what we wanted to do, I couldn't make up my mind and it was so hard for me to think of a topic that I wanted to sing about or that I wanted to write about.

We had five days to work on the track but it took us, I think, three days before we were able to finalize a theme – what we wanted to talk about, and the sound as well. We were unsure of everything that we were doing but then when we finally broke the ice on the night of the third day. That's when we were like 'Okay this is it, this is what we want to do'. From there, we were a bit free-flowing because we already knew what we were going to do. It was a bit difficult but it was fun.

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What's the message behind 'Overgrown'?

'Overgrown' is kind of an ode to my 20s. I'm turning 30 this year, that's one of the things that I was really thinking about when we were all in Siargao—well, I still think about it a lot but more so earlier this year.

I'm not scared of turning 30, it's just that it's another decade. It's another chapter and there's a bit of pressure in a way. I know I shouldn't be saying this but you know when you turn 30, you start thinking about all of your achievements and whether you hit your goals or didn't, if you're satisfied. For other people, [they think of] having a family, getting married but for me, I guess I was thinking more of my career and what I wanted to do before 30 and all the goals I have.

In your 20s, you kind of want to just have fun, travel, hang out with your friends, and experience a lot of things. When you're 30, you are more experienced with these things and you want to take a step further. It's different. I was just really overthinking turning 30 so that's when I realized that this is what I want to write about. I want to write about all of the sh*t that I went through because I'm saying goodbye to it and it turned out nice.

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You rap in 'Overgrown,' which is new for you and your music. What was it like tapping into a new skill set for this song?

It was super unexpected. It was supposed to be more of a melodic singing part, but I don't know what happened. I think there was just so much that we wanted to write, to put in the lyrics, so it ended up being a rap. But I mean, it's fun, you know? It's fun and it's nice that people appreciate that side of me.

I was actually a bit worried because I get tongue-tied a lot. I was scared that people would say that I'm trying too hard but when we recorded the song, Josh kept telling me that it was good. I'm the kind of person who doubts herself a lot— definitely not as much as I did before, but this wasn't my comfort zone. I wasn't used to rapping so when we recorded it, I was unsure. I didn't know how to react but then Josh was like, it is really good. 

It was really fun recording this song. I just don't know how I'm gonna perform it because it's one long rap. I try to rap it sometimes and I run out of breath so I don't know how I'm gonna perform this in the future (laughs). 

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How would you compare your creative process when you're acting and when you're making music?

I guess with acting, I put myself in someone else's shoes. In music and songwriting, it's my own experience. It's things that I've felt, that I've seen, and heard so it's totally different. That's why, when people ask me which I prefer, I would say that I prefer music. With music, I can express myself. When you're acting, of course, you have to follow a script. You have to kind of get into character, which is not me.

Were there any artists that you looked to or listened to for inspiration while you were working on 'Overgrown'?

Hmm, who was I listening to a lot then? I don't know but I was listening to a lot of Björk which is totally different from 'Overgrown' (laughs). But I think it's because what I told the team that I wanted to do was something that's a bit abstract—I mean the beat is drill and then it turns into drum and bass and that's pretty abstract enough for someone like me who does pop. I guess that's why I was listening to a lot of Bjork. I was also listening to Caroline Polachek and Shakira.

It's all different things at the same time, I guess the reason is that I didn't want to be in my comfort zone. I've never done drill or rapped before, they're new things for me. As much as possible, I wanted to do something that would still shock me. I want something that would also make me think "Is this really me?" If this is really the kind of sound that I want to do?

I can't say that I've totally found my sound already, which is okay but from time to time, I like shocking myself. I like questioning my decisions, my choices. With 'Overgrown', it was like that. And I liked it, I get to explore different things and I don't stay in a box.

What's next for you as a singer? 

I plan to do more music because I just love making music, I love writing and I love performing. Hopefully, I get to perform soon but before that happens I really want to start working on an album first. Let's see, I'm not really setting anything in stone yet because I'm working on a series at the moment. It's hard when you're planning everything and then the plans will fall through so I'm taking it one step at a time.

That's one thing that I've learned through the years is to just finish one project first and then move on to the other because it's so hard to do them all at the same time. Your concentration and your focus are divided into a lot of things. When we did 'Overgrown'—and even Wildest Dreams, it was the pandemic so it was 110% focus on that album but that's the way to do it. It can't be half-assed, you need to put all your time and yourself into a project, especially if it's music. You bear your heart and your soul so it needs my full attention.

So, I want to finish everything first and let's see what's going to happen next. I want to finish a lot of things first before I start working on music again but, pero tignan natin, kaya naman [we'll see, it's possible]. I'm just being particular with that specific thing about the attention, effort, and time [needed].

Listen to Nadine Lustre's 'Overgrown' here.