November 26, 2020

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Interview: NBC’s Songland Winner PipoBeats releases new single ‘I’m Thinking When’

PipoBeats, also known as Filippo Gabella, released his brand new Spanglish single “I’m Thinking When” on July 17. The lyric video dropped on July 22, and the music video will come out in August. 

PipoBeats is a rising pop singer who won NBC’s Songland Season 2, the Luis Fonsi episode. Luis Fonsi recorded and released PipoBeats’ song “Sway.” The track peaked at #1 on the iTunes Music Chart in the United States. 

The Los Angeles-based artist is of Chilean descent and a self-taught multi-instrumentalist. He practiced on shoeboxes in place of a real drum when he was 8 years old and also performed at his school talent shows and local events. 

When PipoBeats was working on music about three years ago, Jennifer Lopez and Gente de Zona’s collaboration “Ni Tú Ni Yo” came out. PipoBeats said that he envisioned that type of music being performed at festivals and large stadiums.

(Photo: PipoBeats)

“Part of that is to do with the music itself. In these types of songs, there’s always big drums and trumpets. It just feels alive, and I realized I didn’t have a song like that,” PipoBeats said.

He continued, “I didn’t have a song that you could imagine being played at a FIFA Soccer match, and that’s how the idea for ‘I’m Thinking When’ started. If you listen, you’ll hear actual trumpets and drums that really drive the whole beat.” 

Although PipoBeats started writing “I’m Thinking When” around four years ago, he put it aside to work on other projects. He also realized that something was missing, and it turned out to be Caroline Kole.

Fellow Songland contestant Caroline Kole pictured beside PipoBeats. (Photo: PipoBeats)

“I actually tried doing a collaboration with her some years back, but we couldn’t make it happen at that time. But thanks to us both being on ‘Songland,’ we were finally able to do it,” PipoBeats revealed.  

After they were done filming, PipoBeats invited Caroline to his house to play her “I’m Thinking When.” When they were listening to it for the first time, she was just ad-libbing to the track because she didn’t have any verse yet. 

PipoBeats expressed, “Before having an actual verse written for her, I asked her to go into the booth and just to sing her face off with whatever comes out. She did this two to three times in a row, and I’m pretty sure if I didn’t have a noise gate, you would have heard me on the recording yelling in the background “LET’S GO, THIS IS CRAZY!”

The artist exclaimed that Caroline “was going off” and he loved it. PipoBeats wants others to feel the energy and the need to get up and move after they listen to his single for the first time. “When I’m making Spanish music, my goal is to make you dance for the most part.”

(Photo: PipoBeats)

About two years ago, PipoBeats said that he learned how to mix and master his own music — making the process of finishing a song more tedious. 

“My issue with this song was I had just heard it too many times, and when I over-listen to a track that much, I just end up over-analyzing it,” PipoBeats said. “I’m such a perfectionist with my music, and the issue with this track was that I couldn’t get it to bang the way I wanted it to.” 

When PipoBeats is editing songs, he listens to his tracks in different places, such as the car, the gym and his kitchen. He said that if he doesn’t like how the song sounds, he immediately fixes it. 

The artist disclosed that it took five days to finish mixing and mastering “I’m Thinking When.” PipoBeats wanted to emphasize that this track was written years ago, which meant he was in a different mindset. While he loves his song, he also doesn’t want to encourage people to have the same toxic headspace he had during the songwriting process. 

“I was thinking about that person moving on with someone else. This song captures the spiral that was happening in my head at the time. In the place I am now, I would never write a song like this because it comes from a selfish place,” PipoBeats said. 

He continued, “I really believe in the idea of ‘if you love them, let them go, and wish them nothing but the best.’ But this song is more like ‘if you love them, let them go, but then ruin your life thinking about what their next step is going to be.’”

If PipoBeats could open a show for any artist, he would pick J Balvin. He said that after he made “Sway,” he became more inspired to make Spanish music. He has other Spanish songs he released in the past, but winning Songland was the extra push he needed to focus more on the genre.

(Photo: PipoBeats)

“I want to be the #1 most successful artist in English and Spanish. Such success includes but is not limited to, topping the Billboard Top 100 Chart, my music being on commercial radio and working with other big-name artists like Daddy Yankee, John Mayer, Justin Bieber and winning Grammys,” PipoBeats said.

PipoBeats finished with great advice for aspiring singers, “Talent is only a small part of the equation. The amount of work you put into it will always drive the end game result of your success,” he said. “Figure out what it is you want to do, what you need to do, make a plan and implement it and go all-in.”

Contact Ron Rocky Coloma at rcoloma ‘at’ stanford.edu.