Are You Still Being Creative? with Dante Basco

“That’s a cute sweater,” he told me, looking down at my cardigan.

“That’s a cute… polo… shirt?” I awkwardly replied.

“Do you remember me? I met you a year ago,” I said, trying to stir his memory. “I know your cousin Gabe…? You were saying how you were supposed to go to De La Salle?”

Oh, and you went to Carondelet!” he suddenly realized. “And you were talking about your music! How you wanted to do music! I totally remember that conversation! Yeah, yeah!”

Glad to remember, he finally asked, “So how has everything been since then? What’ve you been up to?”

I vividly remember that conversation I had with him just a year ago. It was back in March of 2012. After a panel of talking about the ins-and-outs of working as an actor in the entertainment industry, I had asked him about the industry and if he had any advice for aspiring musicians and writers like myself, especially for those in the Fil-Am community. The focus of these panels and bringing in Fil-Ams was to get the viewpoint of how we are treated in this industry. The reality of it.

“You gotta be better than the white kids!” he would refrain jokingly but honestly.

He had talked to another girl before me, and he didn’t seem the slightest bit interested. Of course, as suave and charismatic as he is, he was polite. With my years of meeting industry professionals and people involved in the industry, I feel like I’ve almost grown immune to being starstruck! (Keyword: “almost”) So, as I approached him, I went with ease and wanted to hold a normal conversation.

He then went on this whole tangent talking about the industry and what you gotta do and how fun it is but how hard it can be at the same time. He was so excited to find someone interested in the industry like myself. After talking about our hometowns and similar surroundings and upbringings, as we seemed to come from the same place, he was so excited to see where I would go from then on and was totally supportive of my work. I remember him vividly telling me, “So I’ll see you around in the future then, huh? I better see you making music!”


“Well, I’ve been getting involved in a lot of things here. Like, I’ve been interning for BakitWhy and I’ve been super involved in Kaba, doing all of these things,” I restlessly stated.

“So you’re kind of in this place where you’re molding…”

“Yeah I’m kind of like, absorbing everything.”

“Ah… Well are you still being creative?” he asked.

Creative. After exhaustingly putting in lame excuses of being so busy and involved and not doing it as much as I’d like to (the detriment of being so involved, for it deters your creativity), he assured me the same piece of advice he told me a year ago: “Just do it! Just do it!” he would constantly, repeatedly say. As simple as it sounds, there’s really no other way to put it. You just gotta do it and practice and practice and practice and do it.

People always ask questions without actually putting in the work. I, myself, victim to it.

Creative. As I thought about that for some time earlier today and into my retreat back home for the weekend, it almost saddened me. I hated to admit that I haven’t entirely been creative.

This morning, I decided to blast some tunes of live acoustic performances from some of my favorite bands. You can bet Heart’s “Crazy On You” came up. Then Meg & Dia’s old “Masteria” and “Lessons In New Jersey” that one time they played in a shoe store. Then Cassadee Pope’s “My Best Friend Hates You.”

There’s something about these performances that get me all the time. They’re the ones that I upload to all of my devices to play on-the-go. I hardly get tired of them (then again, I rarely play them because they’re only reserved for special moments). And, perhaps they remind me of my young, naive self. The Rachel who wanted to grow up and be in a band and play music with her guitar in hand, laughing with the audience and making conversation with them onstage. The one who’d point out weird things going on in the audience. Complimenting people’s shirts and obsessing about a kid’s Hall & Oates band shirt. The communal activity of a performance. From me to you. If there was one thing I wanted to relate to another, it was my music.


It makes me a bit emotional to be writing this right now. My eyes water and throat becomes choked because, in my humble abode of my home, I feel that I have the time to actually tend to my inspirations and loves; the things I value and feel of importance; to refocus my energy on what really matters; away from the people and thoughts and ideas crowding and shoving their words into my head. I’m me.

Time and again, I receive bouts of inspiration, rekindling of “fires,” recurring passions and reminded dreams. Time and again, I go back-and-forth between wanting to do it and busying myself with other things then wanting to do it again.

I keep asking myself, “Why do I keep wanting to go back to this? Why does it make me so emotional and so ‘angst-driven’ when I think about it again?”

I’ve learned that there are some things your heart can’t let go of. Whether it’s still active in your life or not, if it has seriously made an impact on you, it will remain. As tokens to a past life you so loved. Perhaps it reminds you of what you grew up on. Perhaps it reminds you of who you once were. Maybe it reminds you of who you still are. But, never neglect the past and never neglect the feelings, and especially the feelings in your gut, that inspire you to want to do something.


I want to be someone that can say something someday, and inspire another to do the same.

As Mr. Dante Basco himself said over and over again, I will say again: “Just do it!”  Because, as a woman, as an Asian-American, especially as a Filipino, and a young one at that, people will listen. They’ll pay attention.

You just gotta get good.


So, where does my heart lie? What is it that I want?
This may all be so very exciting, and, sure. I’ve learned and grown much, but…

To be true, my heart lies only “here, here and here…
my heart, my mind and my ears…”

image image

And for the heck of it, because it still remains so entirely relevant…
“Are you fighting for nothing?”


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