We interviewed Ylona Garcia on her first single of 2022 titled ‘Entertain Me’, in collaboration between 88rising‘s PARADISE RISING imprint and the video game VALORANT by Riot Games.

In 2015, Ylona Garcia finished first runner-up in the second season of Pinoy Big Brother signaling the start of an illustrious career in music and TV.

The following year, at age 14, the Filipino-Australian singer-actress released her first EP. Titled My Name Is Ylona Garcia, the nine-track record featured a a collection of pop songs evoking feelings from love to inspirational – including lead single ‘Dahan Dahan Dahan Lang’.

Now, at the age of 19, she’s signed to renowned Asian-American label 88rising. In March last year, Ylona made her debut on under the Filipino-focused Paradise Rising imprint with her single, ‘All That’.

Taking her pop status to global recognition, her latest single ‘Entertain Me’ is a collaboration with Riot Games’ Valorant.

Produced by DNA and co-written by DNA and Ylona herself, the song finds the artist asserting her independence and dispelling the notion that she can be fooled and controlled by anyone.

The song is used for the video game’s latest hero – NEON – a character hailing from Manila and speaks in Tagalog. The character is described as one “who can outpace the rest of the roster, shocking the competition, and sliding straight into the fight.”

The character perfectly compliments the empowered persona Ylona exudes in the new single, and we decided to have a quick chat with her on her latest endeavor.

AsiaLive365: Hi, I’m Nicky! We’re from AsiaLive365 in Bangkok, nice to meet you!

Ylona Garcia: Hi, nice to meet you! I’m Ylona!

AL365: So you’ve come up with a new song very recently titled ‘Entertain Me’. Interestingly, it’s a song for the Valorant video game soundtrack. How did that collaboration come about?

YG: So basically, 88rising came to me with the Valorant proposal and I said ‘Yes, absolutely!’ That’s how it all started! (laughs) I agreed immediately!

AL365: Do you play Valorant?

YG: So I want to play Valorant because of my brother and sister. It’s a sibling bonding time, they do like to play games. I should probably start playing by now. 2022 goal: Play Valorant.

AL365: What’s even more interesting is that the song is theme for the character NEON who’s from the Philippines! What are your thoughts on being able to represent a virtual character from where you’re originally from?

YG: I feel honored and very, very happy! ‘Entertain Me’ was created back in 2021 (which wasn’t really that long ago) on February 10 at 7:54pm. I think it took three hours to make that song. We created that back in Australia because I was still under lockdown there to be with my family.

Valorant really, really, really liked the song and that’s how my management sent the proposal over.

AL365: What was your source of inspiration for the track, ‘Entertain Me’?

YG: They’re taken from my past experiences and my friend’s experiences. I went through certain situations back in the day where, in my heart, I didn’t really feel comfortable doing, but my head was telling me just to go through with it.

At the time, I really didn’t really think anything of it. But when I went back home to Australia during the lockdown, I got to hang out and catch up with my childhood friends. We told each other stories, and I realized that we went through similar situations in which we weren’t okay. That kinda made me feel a little bit mad, so I decided to write the song ‘Entertain Me’.

The song is about being someone who knows the situation and who knows exactly what they want to do about it, and they go through with it.

AL365: The ‘Entertain Me’ MV is quite sci-fi. Do you like space?

YG: I do love space. I love my space. I love the word ‘space’.

AL365: Was 2021 a good year for you?

YG: I think 2021 was a good year for me, I got to hang out with my family a lot!

AL365: The reason I was asking that was because when you released your single ‘All That’, it was about how you throwing 2020 away.

YG: Yeah! (laughs) Yes it was, wasn’t it! But no, I love 2021. Well, there were struggles here and there, but that’s normal.

AL365: You started your career at a really young age. I think you were 14 when you released your first LP? That’s crazy talented! So how have you changed your style since then?

YG: Well, if we’re talking about style, there’s definitely a difference. I’ve leaned more into R&B/pop now. But in regards to reinventing myself, I’m still the same.

AL365: If you were able to travel back in time, what would you tell your younger self?

YG: You’re doing great, sweetie. Just keep going.

AL365: And keep going we shall. We’ve heard a slew of singles since 2019. The big question is: when is your new record coming out?

YG: This year hopefully!

AL365: What else is in store for you?

YG: I do have a few goals that I’ve set until 2022. Put out an album (or an EP). Get into acting. Gift my family with the house I promised to buy.

AL365: You’ve signed to Paradise Rising, how does it feel so far to be a part of that? What could this mean for the Filipino music industry with initiatives such as this?

YG: They’ve been very kind and supportive like family. I think they’re moving forward in ways we can’t even imagine.