Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence through sound

Cur­ti­smith brings back rap to the lo­cal mu­sic scene

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT OLIVER EMO­CLING PHO­TOG­RA­PHY TRIS­TAN TA­MAYO

“Did you go to Par­adise [In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val]?” Scout mag­a­zine’s graphic artist Grace de Luna asks Mito Fa­bie, pop­u­larly known as Cur­ti­smith, as we walk through the side streets of Mer­alco Av­enue. He tells us that he was locked in his room that night, writ­ing a track for his up­com­ing al­bum “Soully, Yours.” While fes­ti­val head­liner Kanye West was spit­ting out rhymes on­stage in Manila, Fa­bie was at home weav­ing words to cre­ate a new song aptly called West, his homage to the rap­per. “Maybe I’m go­ing to meet him some­day,” he says. It’s not an im­pos­si­ble dream. Af­ter all, he al­ready made waves when he re­leased his first mix­tape in 2015—even gar­ner­ing the at­ten­tion of en­tre­pre­neur Richard Bran­son.

“I’ve got all these dreams,” he says in his song For the Love. His op­ti­mism is ap­par­ent in his mu­sic, but it’s more ev­i­dent in per­son. At one point, he talks about how cor­rect pos­ture can help al­le­vi­ate de­pres­sion. Then, he dis­cusses his as­pi­ra­tions for the mu­sic in­dus­try. “Now, my men­tal­ity is––it’s like a Chance the Rap­per type of thing––I’m try­ing to pen­e­trate the main­stream scene, but not give in to just mak­ing hits or just mak­ing a catchy jin­gle.

“Rap isn’t a chant. When I rap, it’s a story of vi­sions or as­pi­ra­tions.” He finds main­stream songs lack­ing in sub­stance and au­then­tic­ity, fur­ther de­scrib­ing them as “the same thing in a dif­fer­ent toi­let.” Along with other in­de­pen­dent artists, Fa­bie gives lis­ten­ers dif­fer­ent op­tions. “I’m try­ing to make it catchy, but I’m try­ing to make it gen­uine, I’m try­ing to make the lyrics pure.”

For Fa­bie, the ex­pe­ri­ences of rap­pers told through their songs helped him get through tougher times. “When I was younger, the rap­pers were like my older broth­ers.” Fa­bie lists Jay Z, J. Cole, and Frank Ocean as some of his in­flu­ences. He re­al­izes that the same priv­i­lege has been be­stowed upon him. “I’m just try­ing to be the shaper of the au­di­ence that I have now.”

Night draws near, but Fa­bie’s day isn’t com­ing to a close yet. He still has a video shoot for his next project and he’s prob­a­bly go­ing to write as well. “I think at night is when most of my anx­i­eties kick in. So, it’s kind of ther­a­peu­tic for me to write in­stead of wast­ing my time wor­ry­ing.”

We are on the deck of a high-rise con­do­minium over­look­ing the whole of Or­ti­gas. Across is a con­struc­tion site of a new con­do­minium. Build­ings here rise higher ev­ery time. He’s been on the edge of the deck for the shoot. Is he afraid of heights? “No,” he an­swers. “I’m afraid of fall­ing.” Some might say that he is writ­ing a mod­ern myth pat­terned af­ter Icarus for dream­ing too far, but he as­sures me, “I am some­body who seeks bal­ance be­tween lib­erty and struc­ture.”

Mito Fa­bie con­sid­ers Cur­ti­smith as the mag­ni­fy­ing glass of cer­tain life stages. His mix­tape “Ideal” is about his dreams and as­pi­ra­tions while his next project, “Soully, Yours,” is about a re­la­tion­ship and how it af­fected his life.

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