The Soul Siren poised  for a comeback

Nina, hailed as the “Soul Siren,” has gifted Philippine music with pop anthems that have become theme songs of the romantic and the broken-hearted. Her mammoth achievement was the Diamond Award (10 times Platinum) she received for her Nina Live album 18 years ago from the Philippine Association of the Record Industry Inc., for what is said to be the biggest-selling album by a female artist in the Philippines.

Now, the record-breaking artist is all set for a comeback, ready to make people once again fall in love with her achy-breaky and kilig kind of music in a one-night only concert billed Only Nina.

“There is no special reason for the concert title,” she said. “It is all about me and how I sing, interpret, give meaning and feelings to every song, and how I do and perform in a concert.”

What is new in this post-pandemic shindig are her anthems that will be given a fresh twist in an exciting collaboration with actor-turned-concert director John Prats.

Working with Prats is a thrilling, fun experience, said Nina: “Since this is going to be the first time that we’ll be working together, we have a lot of discussions. We want to deliver a very, very good concert for everyone. This concert is a true team effort, everything in and about it.”

To perceptions that her career at this time seems to be in a more relaxed phase, the singer gently pushed back by stressing: “I still give a 110 percent to any show. Kahit bar ‘yan, kahit three songs langyan, I give a 110 percent.”

But after years in the business, “I also give time for myself, in order for me to share my music with everyone. If I do not take a break and I don’t rest, what will I give my public? They do not deserve to see me haggard-looking, my voice cracking or croaking like a frog. So I need to have my me time as well.”


Unexpected things

With seven studio albums, one live album, three compilation albums, one remix album and a total of 43 singles tucked under her belt, what Nina looks forward to now are unexpected things.
“I just want my life to offer me all sorts of small and big surprises. I have my share of achievements, I am grateful for all of them. I’m not denying that I want to explore other things, but nothing must be calculated, deliberate or super-planned. What I want is for the world to surprise me, for the Muses to give me inspiration.”

Given her mastery of love songs, what is it about love that she didn’t know then that she knows now?

“About love… Ang hindi ko alam noon is huwag kang masyadong magmamahal (What I knew then was not to fall in love heedlessly). Back then, when I fell in love, literalyung pag-fall. I would go for broke. When you love with all your heart and being, na wala ka nang natira sa sarili mo (and nothing is left for yourself), mate-take advantage ka e. Kahit ano puwede nilang kunin from you (they can take everything from you) — money, your life, your time, wala ka na talagang matitira,” she recalled.

“What I practice now is, you have to love yourself first, and it’s not about being selfish. You have to love yourself first before you can love other people. How can you love other people if you don’t even love yourself? So mahalin mo muna yung sarili mo, alagaan mo, bago mo maalagaan at mahalin ang ibang tao” (Love and take care of yourself first, before you can take care of and love other people).

Is she in love at the moment? “Oh, in love with life,” she said. “Definitely in love with everything.”

Among the new crop of Filipino music artists, Nina said she’d be gung-ho to collaborate with Zack Tabudlo, Arthur Nery, Ben & Ben and Moira dela Torre.

Only Nina is set for 8 November at the Samsung Hall, SM Aura in Taguig, with Bobby Velasco as musical director.

The show is produced by Vera Group Inc. with District One as co-producers. Tickets available at SM Ticket outlets and online via and also in District One, BGC.