Eccentric and charismatic, Bullet Dumas has gained following for his sharp yet sassy tone on top of his ever pleasant personality. From having started in Elements Music Camp back in 2010 to today, about six years later, Bullet has certainly grown into a notable artist. But that didn’t happen without embarking on a journey—one he was so ecstatic to share.
Bullet Dumas opens up on avoiding burnouts and letting seemingly little moments change your life, like it did his.
Slowly but surely
After being part of the Elements Music Camp pioneer batch, he waited almost a year to officially have his first gig in Conspiracy Garden Café. Celebrating his six years in the industry, he recalled how even at an early stage in his career, he has already received heartwarming appreciation for his music from fellow camp songwriters and his constant confidence booster, former bandmate KC Tan.
But he just wasn’t ready then. He shares, “Sabi ko, hindi pa ako handa. Kailangan ko hasain yung sarili ko. So from 2011, ‘yon ginawa ko… tumugtug ng tumugtog. I had gigs when I don’t even have audience minsan, pero minsan naman may mga tao. Tapos eventually, may mga prod heads na nag i-invite sa’kin tumugtog, message-message lang sa Facebook tapos ‘yun… the more na tumutugtug ako, the more nahahasa ko yung pagiging live performer ko.”
He also reveals he doesn’t force things in songwriting. “Months, years ako magsulat kase parang pag-ibig yan… kung hindi mo siya matapos, wag mo siya piliitin matapos baka kase masakal siya. Magtatampo siya, hindi siya magpapatapos… kailangan mo mag-hold back, mag-stay back, give it time, give it space. So pagbalik mo after a few days, mas maganda pa yung perspective mo, i-critique mo pa sarili mo… constant editing siya, ganon ako tagal. Kaya free ako…”
Eccentric and charismatic, Bullet is almost always all smiles when you see him.
‘Fan of Love’
A self-confessed fan of love, Bullet, in irony, says he feels most inspired by heartbreaks. “Oo, the best. Tama nga ang The Carpenters, the best love songs are written with a broken heart… Ganun ata akong tao, pag masaya ako, hindi ako makapagsulat.”
As evident in the recent 3D: DAMA concert, in a true ‘fan of love’ fashion, Bullet even dedicated one of his songs, “Tugtog” (the song he also wants to be remembered for) to a fellow musician, Clara Benin, which brought the audience, coupled up or not, to a cozy mood.
Love, is also basically the main reason why he chose this path. While he recognizes the fact that, at times, doing what he does isn’t the most ideal way to set yourself up for financial stability, he says, “Of course, it always pays off kasi gusto mo talaga ‘to eh. Kahit i-exclude mo na yung financial part, masaya talaga ako sa ginagawa ko so basically wala akong problema sa kanya… the best part is, I really love doing this.”
Burning out to burning bright
“Kung may gusto kang gawin, pag you’re very passionate about something, ‘yung career mo minsan aabot sa point na mabu-burnout ka,” he admits. Now how does he deal with it?
Decide the path that you really want to take. More than anything, Bullet says, “Unang una, kailangan mo muna isipin kung ano yung pinakagusto mo talagang gawin bago mo ipagpatuloy kung anong ginagawa mo ngayon.”
Pace yourself. “Ako pini-pace ko sarili ko… kase ayokong mag sawa ako sa ginagawa ko. So ‘yun yung parang pacing ko sakanya, na minsan ng ho-hold back ako ganun tapos bukas ulit… bawi bawi lang.”
Take a break when needed. “You don’t want to get tired of what you’re doing. Kailangan mo ng break pa-konte konte minsan…”
Sharp yet sassy, matched with a rich personality—that's Bullet for you.
Narrating a burnout phase in his life and a single moment that changed the course of his life, Bullet shares, “Last day ‘yon, graduation (Elements Music Camp 2014), tumugtog si Mr. C ng kanta ni Garry Granada na ‘Salamat, salamat musika’ tapos umiyak ako… bihira ako umiyak, nag-bask lang talaga ako sa moment that I’m surrounded by really wonderful people, really talented guys. Doon ko nasabi na, after matinding na-burn out ako… na I would fight for this career… I think I’ll do this for the rest of my life.”
Like his name suggests, Bullet and his songs of heartbreak and more would certainly shoot you where it hurts; but that it'll be so good you can't resist.
ALSO READ: In Focus: Johnoy Danao on Making Music and Getting Over Your Doubts
Photographs by Eugene Bautista