Christian Brabon Palencia has a last name that would be familiar with most people in the local music industry.

Being the younger brother of popular jazz singer Mia Palencia would naturally open him up to some (unfair) comparisons, but Christian has been slowly leaving his own mark on the music scene recently as the “Barefoot Musician”. Guess what? He performs barefoot.

Singer-songwriter Christian Palencia, the 'barefoot musician', performing at Merdekarya.

Singer-songwriter Christian Palencia, the ‘barefoot musician’, performing at Merdekarya.

The self-taught guitarist has been writing his own songs since he was 13, and he’s recorded quite a few covers as well for his YouTube channel. By

December last year, he had already released his debut EP, Adrenaline.

Aside from his ambition to bring his music to an international audience, Christian has also been on a quest to develop the local indie music scene.

Earlier this year, Christian and his team launched Alter:Native, a series of open mic gigs held at Merdekarya in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

“The shows would normally highlight debuts and three other indie musicians – usually experienced ones – as featured acts,” said Christian during an interview with the BRATs.

According to Palencia, Alter:Native has managed to generate a wider community of indie musicians.

“We’ve seen newbies and more experienced musicians come together and develop a mentor-mentee relationship – and that’s going to contribute greatly to the growth of talent here.”

While Alter:Native’s 2013 run has already concluded, fans of the local indie scene can look forward to Alter:Ego, set to launch in mid-2014

Meanwhile, Christian will be travelling to Australia to gain more musical exposure, and to participate in a few small performances alongside Mia, who curently lives there.

On top of that, the ambitious performer hopes to start his own company with his team “to teach underprivileged children through film and music”.

He said: “I wasn’t a very good learner. I couldn’t pay attention in class, so I had to find my way around it.”

Back in school, he would turn all his math algorithms and long history notes into songs.

“I think it’s is a very good way to help children who are like me to learn better,” he added.

In fact, that was how he started songwriting – with Mia as an inspiration, of course.

“She once wrote a total eulogy into a song, and I was like ‘how do you do this kind of thing?’

“So I started experimenting with my own stuff, I went on a one-song-a-day diet. I thought if she could put these kinds of stories into song, why can’t I write a song about how frequencies travel from one end to another?” (He was looking at telephone wire poles.)

Palencia believes that he might finally establish that dream company some time next year, while juggling with his tertiary education. It might be insanely difficult; but thanks to his undying passion, Palencia believes that it’ll be all worth it. “Nothing makes me as happy as music does. As long as I get to keep on writing stories, I’m happy.”

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