Music

Filipino Fans are Sending Pink Sweat$ Love on Instagram: “I Just Appreciate You Guys So Much"

Add the songs of this R&B and soul singer to your make-out playlist, stat.
IMAGE Warner Music Philippines
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Pink Sweat$ is in the middle of moving to a new home when Esquire Philippines caught up with him via Zoom. Moving is stressful for a lot of people, but Sweat$ doesn’t seem to mind.

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“I love moving,” he says while panning the camera around to show his bedroom, which was still bare, save for some of his stuff lying around. “I’m a nomad.”

Sweat$, aka David Bowden, is an R&B and soul singer and songwriter who has been garnering notices for his saccharine sweet vocals and deep, heartfelt lyrics. He initially went the simple, sparse route: singing over acoustic guitars, as in the single “Honesty,” which is nearing 200 million streams on Spotify. Think early 90s R&B crooners like Keith Sweat and Eric Benet.

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But in his latest EP, The Prelude, Sweat$ is trying out more complex production in his songs, particularly percussion. The artist talked about why he named the EP The Prelude, where exactly he got his moniker, and what Filipino fans are saying about him and his music. Excerpts:

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Esquire Philippines: How do you want us to address you? Pink? Mr. Sweats?

Pink Sweat$: Mr Sweats! (laughs) I’ve never had that. 

In previous interviews, you said you went to school before pursuing music. What was the plan if it wasn’t music?

I never finished college. I actually went the first day and I never went back. I never really studied music before. It’s just kind of in my blood man. My whole family makes music. Like church and stuff. I always played in church. I played drums in my church, and later in life I kinda started singing, producing and writing and stuff.

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Music has always called me. It’s the one thing that clicks. I didn’t really like school so much. I always escaped by creating. 

But did you ever considereed pursuing another career path if music hadn’t happened?

Oh yeah. So many. I was gonna go to the military. I tried to be a dentist. I just wanted to try anything. I was trying to get into Chick-Fil-A. I don’t think I even knew what Chick-Fil-A was back then. There was a lot of different things that I tried to do. 

You’re very confident and self-assured in your interviews. Where does this come from?

As a kid, thought I was pretty confident. But where my true confidence came is in failure. I feel like, when I was younger, I wanted to be a follower. Living in a bad environment and trying to do what other people are doing. And I realized that it wasn’t really a good path. It wasn’t really me. I’m a lover. I like to make people feel good. I like that when people come around me, they smile. I want people to feel safe and comfortable. 

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That confidence came from that place, like, you only get one of these lives. I remember my dad told me that everything you do has consequences. Sometimes there’re good consequences and bad consequences. You just gotta make the right decisions. I was probably seven when he told me that. I don’t know why (laughs). But I took it to heart and as I got older, I just wanted to do good. 

Back in the day, artists knew they hit it big when they heard their song on the radio. Has there been a similar moment for you, when you felt like you were becoming successful?

Honestly I don’t think I really know. Maybe family members might have been hitting me up, telling me that they might have heard my song where I’m from. And I said, oh, that’s cool. But I didn’t really think that much of it. 

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I guess when I started helping people out, that’s when I knew, okay, yeah, things are going well. I was able to help my family.

Let’s talk about the album. Why are you calling it The Prelude?

The Prelude is the prelude to The Pink Planet. I like to describe it as a transition phase, like a plane up in the air. That’s The Prelude. And The Pink Planet is the destination. 

Where did you get inspiration to write the songs in the EP?

Inspiration is just love and life. Falling in love with life all over again. As artists, we get this extreme scenario, where you could sing and I could change your whole life. If you write the right song, it could go all over the world, just like this (snaps finger). For me, that was like a fresh start to life. You get to start over, and that was big. Like, all right, this time, I can do it how I want it.

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I can’t be born again! I can’t be a baby again. But in life, sometimes you’re just in control of everything. Like when you’re a kid, you might be growing up a certain kind of way that you’re not in love with. But for me it’s like a rebirth: now I can do all the things I want to do. I can travel, I can give my family new experiences, I can share more of this love. I got so many songs. I can get to share more now. It’s exciting.

What music genres are you really into? And which artists do you like?

I listen to every genre man. I like Metallica. I like Keith Urban. Do you listen to country music?

Not so much here in the Philippines, no.

I listen to country music. I listen to pop music. I listen to everything. I love music, I love discovering things, that make me go, oh, I never this before. 

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I’m curious, have you heard from your Filipino fans?

Yes I have. Definitely on Instagram. I always get messages and everything. I go, oh snap, the love is so dope. I just appreciate you guys so much. 

For the record, the pink thing. Where does it come from? And is this something you’re going to be carrying with you throughout your career?

It came from me wearing pink sweats all the time. I just had one pair and I just put them on every day. Somebody called me Pink Sweats. When I became an artist and I was thinking of a name, I said, oh, Pink Sweats, why don’t I just use that? It worked out.

I don’t feel like the need to do it forever. I think it’s like, you, PJ, you can wear a shirt that says Ralph Lauren, and that’s not your name, right? So for me, it’s like the same thing. I’m Pink Sweats, because that’s how it started, but it doesn’t have to be where it ends. It can go anywhere. 

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And I don’t only like pink. But to me, it’s just easy when you have a beacon. Like, if somebody was looking for you in the woods right now, it’d be easier to find you if you had a light or beacon. So to me, when I’m walking around, I want people to look at me and think, why does he have all this pink on, why is he so happy? I want that. There’ so many reasons to be sad. You can find a reason right now, to just be (sad), but it’s harder to maintain peace and to be bright in this world. And to be like, you know what, I want to stand out. Some people, they don’t want to stand out.

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Photo by Warner Music Philippines.
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A lot of cultures actually, they tell you to be quiet, don’t stand out. But the thing is, all the people we ever really loved in this lifetime, they all stood out. So I’m just trying to make my mark on this earth. The Pink Mark. (laughs) 

Listen to The Prelude now on Spotify and other streaming sites.

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About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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