Rapper Albert Guallar talks about releasing debut album in a pandemic and his life in quarantine
Loud, sexy, painful, dark, and romantic—this is how Albert Guallar aka Schumi describes the sounds in his debut album “Fresh Prince.”
“I’m still looking for my signature sound, but for now, I’ll say what I feel,” the 19-year-old rapper-songwriter says.
Two years in the making, the album features collaborations with artists Alec, Kiddo Chris, Lipip, R!S, esseca, and Grace Alade.
The songs were shaped by his reflections growing up.
Nakaw Na Sandali evokes Guallar’s penchant for love and longing: Ilang buwan na ang lumipas/ Bakit para bang hindi ka lumayas sa aking puso at isipan/ Ikaw ang lumisan/ Tuwing nakikita ang mga mata agad babalik ang mga alaala/ Madilim na, patapos na, san ka na ba?
For Schumi, releasing his first album in the middle of a pandemic is not without its royal pain.
“It’s bittersweet actually, because I got something off my chest,” he explains. “The album release gained attention only online. We can’t have gigs yet because of the pandemic.”
But the rising rap artist is quick to retort.
“Do not limit yourselves. You will create your own world if you say what you feel and do what you want,” Schumi says.
He is here to claim his throne.
In an exclusive interview, we asked Schumi about his activities and music-making process while in quarantine:
Congratulations on your first ever music album! Your momma must be proud, as always. Tell us more about the album ‘Fresh Prince’. How did you come up with its name? What are your inspirations and struggles in the process?
Thank you very much! She really is proud of this big win. I came up with the title “Fresh Prince” because in my home, growing up, it’s just me and my mom. She’s the queen. I’m the prince. ‘Fresh’ is a term I would connect myself, and my music with. I’ve never seen a teenager drop an album and start a brand in a single year. Take note it’s 2020!
We spent almost a year staying inside our homes. Can you share a glimpse of the routine or activities that keep you grounded while in quarantine?
I started a brand ‘Bakit Why Not?’. I sold masks and hoodies these past few months. I started my leche flan business with my Mamu (my grandmother) as our head cook. Since I was a kid, I loved aquariums, so I bought myself an aquarium and filled it with cute fishes!
I also collected plants, set our pond up, and filled it with more fish. Since then, people have been asking me how to take care of aquarium fish and what equipment they should use to maintain their tanks. People visit the house often just to see the fish.
Last but not the least, my dogs Ziggy and Chyno are always with me.
What realizations about life come to you at this time?
Life is short. Do what you want as long as you don’t not step on people. I realized that trust is a very big word. Trust is earned.
Is there a movie, series, or song that helps you cope lately?
I watched a lot of shows. I loved “The Good Place” because I’ve learned a lot about moral ethics and it actually made me a better person.
How did your songwriting and recording process change because of the pandemic? What are the challenges you have to face and how did you overcome them?
I developed the chill cadence I always wanted. I also learned a new skill which is co-producing my own tracks, peeping something amazing, and anti-tuss. Shoutout to Pray for the knowledge!
Have you experienced performing online? How is it different from before, back when you’re onstage singing in front of a crowd?
The pre-recorded performances are boring. I want a big crowd, a real one.
It’s almost 2021. Tell us your vision as a rising artist in the local hip hop scene.
I see myself and my brothers (8 Ballin’) touring the country and singing inside the coveted Wish Bus. I really want to perform there!
“Fresh Prince” is available on Spotify and various streaming platforms.