Words by Howi Bakunawa
Photos by Alyssa Chen
At the beginning of October, just when the weather was starting to turn cold, a very special gig was happening somewhere down in Maginhawa — a gig which felt like a family reunion of sorts.
Singer-songwriter, Denice Lao, just released her debut single “Just Got Home” to the delight of her fans, friends, and family all gathered to celebrate alongside her. The gig featured performances from Kai Atienza, Banda Ni Mayor, and Pusakalye.
Kai Atienza sends shivers surging through the room with her electrifying voice
Banda Ni Mayor flexes their musical talent (and English-speaking skills!) to the conyo crowd
Pusakalye gets into groove with mellow hooks and some funky bass and piano
In the midst of it all was Denice Lao, spritely running up to the stage to introduce the performers, her close friends, who accompanied her throughout her musical journey homeward. She thanks them all profusely and the performers, in exchange, tell Denice how proud of her they are. It’s just really nice to see all of the support going around.
Finally, it’s Denice Lao’s turn to play on stage. She banters along unhurriedly with the crowd as she and her band set up their equipment and explains: “[Just Got Home] is me finally being at home with my music”. The rooms dials down into a hush. Denise Lao begins to play her music, lighting the way back home.
The crowd looks over at Denice Lao, captivated
Denice Lao has done the improbable, what most would never dream of doing — she has shared a piece of herself in a song and everyone: her family, friends, and fans — all join her and sing along. “Just Got Home” is an account of both the heartbreak and the growth that waits for everyone toward its end — and if the journey takes place between heartbreak and growth, then Denice Lao has truly arrived home. Surrounded by the people you love, sharing who you are alongside them — isn’t that what home really is?
Welcome home, Denice!
She bares it all openly, unapologetically and without fear. This is who she is. We just can’t help but love it.
Listen to “Just Got Home” available now on all streaming platforms and follow Denice Lao at https://www.facebook.com/denicelaomusic/