Amazing Women: Nica del Rosario uses gender as secret weapon in songcraft

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2023 07:00 AM | Updated as of Mar 09 2023 11:20 AM

Nica del Rosario. Photo from del Rosario. 
Nica del Rosario. Photo from del Rosario. 

MANILA — For much sought-after singer-songwriter Nica del Rosario, her gender was never a weakness when writing songs for the Philippine pop scene. 

"It’s kind of both an advantage and a disadvantage, but I think women tend to get underestimated often, which gives us a chance to prove ourselves and shine brighter. With all the struggle and oppression a woman goes through, she has the right balance of toughness and heart to keep going in this world," del Rosario said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

Known for her hit compositions "Tala" and "Na Na Na" performed by Sarah Geronimo and BINI, respectively, del Rosario was an AB Communications student who found a passion for songwriting after securing an internship at a small music label. 

Flipmusic Productions was the first to hire del Rosario and lit a fire in the budding composer. 

"It made me feel like I have a lot to prove. Being a female musician and songwriter in a male-dominated industry, I had to go through a lot of doubt and prejudice on whether I was 'legit,' or my skills were worth investing in," she said. 

In 2015, Viva Records asked FlipMusic Productions to pitch one last song for Geronimo’s album "The Great Unknown." The result was "Tala," del Rosario's earnest song about about star-filled romance, written in a span of just three hours. 

With choreography by G-Force founder Georcelle Dapat-Sy, Geronimo's song and music video was an instant chart-topper upon release in 2016. 

The stars weren't done with "Tala," however. By 2019, "Tala" was a late-blooming, full-blown viral sensation, with flash mobs and basketball stars performing the dance craze.

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Del Rosario also composed the song "Rosas" with Gab Pangilinan for former Vice President Leni Robredo, the lone female candidate in the 2022 presidential election. Writing "Rosas," she said, was her way of expressing the longing of the Filipino people for a hopeful future. 

"Watching one woman give hope and inspiration to hundreds and thousands of people is something I will never forget and will always feel blessed to witness," del Rosario said.

"It’s the right balance between strength and resilience as well as kindness and an open heart. The most compassionate yet toughest leaders in the world are women. With everything society throws at us, we’ve learned how to walk through life with both hardness and gentleness at the same time."

In August 2022, del Rosario and and her partner, Justine Pena, exchanged wedding vows in Sydney, Australia. 

The two also tied the knot in the Philippines just last month. 

Del Rosario said she did not expect that members of the LGBT community would look to her as a role model but is clearly up for the challenge. She noted that while the country at its core has patriarchal systemic values, there are still "many powerful, brilliant Filipinas all over the country."

"Hindi madali maging babae sa bansang ito, pero palaban tayong mga kababaihan. As long as we have each other, we keep on living, fighting, and loving," she said.

"I guess the best I can do to keep championing women is to keep doing what I’m doing and hope that it helps, heals, or gives hope to minorities everywhere," the musician said.