Monday, April 9, 2012


I'd like to introduce Noelle Pico @thenoeychu to Sharing Our Voices. I'm a huge fan of Noelle's music. When I listen to her, my creativity is sparked. I get lost in my own world, only snapping back to reality when the song ends. She is source of inspiration for me, and I feel honored to have her here to share her gift with others.

Thank you, Noey, and welcome.

When Angie asked me over to write for Sharing Our Voices, I honestly wasn’t sure how to go about this post. Having followed the features that have been shared so far, wonderful posts about stories and characters and the things that influence these into being… I wasn’t sure how a musician could fit into the mix.

And then I remembered that musicians are storytellers as well.

I have had music in my life for as long as I can remember. When I search my memories, the houses I have lived in have never once been absent of song. This is a thing I thank my parents for, though not so much for music created by their hands (those are the things my brothers and I have done) but more because all throughout, they encouraged the art of listening.

My parents’ personal collection of cassette tapes are a memory of drawers crammed to the hilt – a library of small plastic cases that were to me things to wonder at. It’s a sort of magic, I guess, to have looked at the fine, thin strips of black wound into rolls easily spanned by the length of my thumb; to know how much music was held within. I continue the tradition today, though CDs have replaced cassettes and the albums of my favorites are hoarded like treasures, stacked proudly on my shelves between books and tucked in special boxes.

The road trips we used to take are best recounted through the albums that my family and I all but memorized word for word, note for note: an end-of-summer trip washed over with rain are the songs from the first albums of the All-American Rejects and Dashboard Confessional; a lengthy weekend tucked away in the silence of a resort can be brought back by that one international release by the Irish group Bellefire (a handful of their songs were familiar covers that my parents particularly enjoyed). Drives to hockey practice in college were accompanied by female voices: Vienna Teng’s soothing tones set lyrics of a poetic bent to the keys of a piano, Maria Mena’s bluntly honest declarations of relationships gone wrong were documented by guitar riffs and husky vocals; and Tori Amos’ richly textured landscapes drew together fables and flights of fancy that were still somehow rooted in the very real world.

There are others still, from years before and the day more recently gone by: train rides to and from graduate studies classes were punctuated by the French pop band KYO, the setting sun dipping behind my city’s skyline. Tunes from the Spanish rock group Motel kept me company as I sat in the back seat of a friend’s van as we drove out of town to her family beach house. Japanese Rock prompts me to nod my head as I wait in line at the queue of vans that serve as my means of transport home.

I sit in a coffee shop, walk the sidewalks, browse bookshelves – and always, I carry music with me.


Cover, “With A Smile” by The Eraserheads // First shared on 14 February 2012, Valentine’s Day offering on Tumblr.

I wrote my first song when I was seven years old.

Thinking back to the tiny girl sitting at the back of a van, I recall the welcome flurry of noise generated by my brothers and cousins. We are parked outside of a botica, one of the small-town pharmacies found in the province where both of my parents’ trace their roots to. This family trip is not out of the ordinary. It is just another summer break away from the hectic frenzy of life in Manila.

Though I confess to being a city girl by trade and at heart, if there is anything that I appreciate about the small town called Bacolod City, it is that the pace slows significantly the moment you find yourself there. Perhaps it is just that, being out of town, cut off from the demands of your life, you are offered a reprieve; a place and time to think – whether you seek it out or not.

Now, I can’t remember what it was that prompted a desire to write music. I just knew that as I let my mind wander over the collective noise of nearly ten children, I happened to look down at the single page of Hallmark stickers that my mother had given me earlier that morning.

And as cartoon bears declared words of encouragement waving brightly colored streamers or through thought bubbles over their heads, a tune rolled over merrily in my mind.

I have them still; the stickers, I mean. They are preserved in a notebook at home, the sheen of their glossy finish now dull, their colors faded with time. Though I often offer a half-embarrassed smile when my mom asks me to sing it publicly, I cannot deny that there has been nothing quite like that first moment of discovery where a seven year old learned that this – songs – was something that she could do.

“Coffee and Nonsense”, original composition // Piano demo.

Writing music is not unlike telling a story. Take any song and in it you will find landscapes and characters and narratives and concepts that resonate in their universality. Always, you will find that as a cohesive whole it speaks and breathes and relates, because music – no matter the language it is written in – once it touches you, it echoes the things that you know and feel. It is your witness, your mirror image, your darkest incarnation, your best friend.

There are words that I want to share, from a musician who I both admire and respect, but I can’t remember the exact entirety of them, so I’ll paraphrase as best as I can:

Tracing the progression of a musician’s craft through the songs they create is not unlike following the progress of the individual; of a life. The songs you write at seven are not the same ones you write when you are thirteen or sixteen or twenty-five. This is not to say that you will not wrestle with the same angels or battle the same ghosts – it is just that the way you handle these experiences, how you express these insights in reference to the world around you and most importantly to yourself – these will not be the same.

As I look back at a personal timeline chronicled by the songs that I have written over the course of twenty years, I not only see how the music I write today is a far cry from the quick children’s jingle put together from words printed on Hallmark stickers – words of encouragement, of love, of pride. Today, I have learned to understand how the music I create is part and parcel of the person I not only am, but the one I strive to be.

When people ask what it is that I do, I tell them simply: I write about people and about feelings; about people who make me feel and what they make me feel. When I set my fingers over the piano keys or curl these around a pen, I tell the music all the things that my heart knows. At all times, all that has ever been asked of me is that if I must tell a story, then I must tell it as truthfully as I can. In return, the music takes my hand and offers me a tune.

“SALISI”, original composition // First shared on 7 December 2011, featured on #upstairsintheworkshop: volume 1.

I hope everyone enjoyed Noelle's music as much as I do. I think she's wicked talented. She asked me to share with everyone that the studio version of SALISI and Hunger (which is featured on Kate Evangelista's trailer for her novel, TASTE) will be available for purchase on April 16th at

I can't wait.

To learn more about this amazing artist, please check her out on tumblr: her name is Noelle


  1. A good song is a story filled with emotion.

    I couldn't write without music.

  2. Thank you again for sharing your music with us, Noey. You are amazingly talented. I can't wait until April 16th.

  3. Angie! Thank you so much for inviting me over and for all the encouragement :) You be epic, my dear :DDD

  4. What a beautiful post. And I agree with Angie, you are extremely talented.


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