Our ninth demo feature for Demo-Crazy Volume 7 is STEAL by Nini Neri.


What Inspired you to write this song?


“Steal” is a song about getting hurt and that certain event bringing out your worst self. The funny thing is, I wrote “Steal“ years ago—back in college when I hadn’t even been in a legit relationship yet, let alone been hurt in that way. During that time, there were quite a number of close friends going through that and I internalized their pain so much that I got to write a song about it. 


I was sitting alone in my dorm room playing random progressions on my uke when this idea just popped into my head. I finished the rest of the song sitting in the fire escape with a view overlooking Marikina. 



Describe the process/experience of creating this song from start to finish.


“Steal” has had a few melodic and lyrical tweaks throughout the years—especially because it’s just been sitting there for so long. I’d completely forget about it then end up listening to it again with a new set of ears. I find that songs are constantly evolving and, even when they have all the lyrics and etcetera in there, they aren’t completely done until they are. They can’t just be declared done—they have to FEEL done.


For this particular song, the lyrics and the tune came to me at the same time. What usually happens is that a melody pops into my head (and if I like it) then I put in some stand-in lyrics and record short snippets on my phone (that just sit there until further notice). Some ideas make it, others don’t—it’s kinda like doodling in a musical way, I guess? I have tons of song doodles in there. 


Do you do something or listen to someone to kick start your creativity?


I usually get very creative when I’m stuck in traffic driving to and from work, when I’m in the shower, or sitting alone in my room with the sound of the electric fan just humming in the background. I think it’s in those little moments of quiet—where we just live mindfully in our existence—that I indulge find that part of myself that likes to wander even deeper into the realm of my imagination. 


Ofcourse, I get inspired when I listen to music. But, that aside, it’s more of… Well, I’m a very reflective person (sometimes to the point where I get lost thinking about the things I should have said or done in the past) so that’s where I find my creativity—in reflection. 


To me, songs are messages from the subconscious manifested into art. There are songs one writes with a certain intention in mind and others that just come to be. After writing a song, I like to go back and analyze the ones that randomly popped out because they help me realize a few things about myself or my state of mind I wouldn’t have been aware of.


Does songwriting come naturally to you?


I’d like to hope so? Haha I’m not sure how to answer this question. I love music/singing and I’m also an avid reader/writer. Songwriting is the love child of my two favorite worldly delights, so I naturally just fell in love with it. There are days when it just flows and I can make a number of different song ideas/drafts without forcing it out, but there are also days when it gets so hard to pull anything out of there. 


Those days I just step back and do something else.


Who are your biggest influences musically?


I like a lot of different artists and genres—from Broadway songs to 80’s songs to indie to pop/hip-hop.


I currently enjoy bouncing between Sarah Bareilles, Lizzo, Lorde, Sigrid, Billie Eilish—among any others. But I guess “Steal” was born during a Lorde-heavy period. 


The writer in me that has this weakness for lyrics that either hit you with an “oof” or give you something to think about. 


And I just really enjoy how Lorde plays with words and the thought-provoking imagery she has with her lyrics. It feels more like poetry since it’s not as easy to digest the first time. You have to go back to her lyrics to figure out what the song is completely about—which I love. 



Listen to STEAL by Nini Neri:

STEAL Lyrics:


Oh my god, look at what the cat dragged in

She’s so fake, fire’d melt her plastic skin (skin)

Skinned alive—that’s how I’d like to see her

Oh someone please make her hurt



As much as she hurt me

The sight is what I can’t unsee

Oh, it’s not a simple thing

I’ll steal her life like she stole him


Long ago, that’s when our love still roamed

Like dinosaurs—destined to become unknown (known)

Known all along that he’d break this small glass heart

But still I think I’m not that smart



As much as he hurt me

The sight is what I can’t unsee

Oh, it’s not a simple thing

I’d take him back as soon as he’d walk in


III. Take a look at the fire burning hard

Cast my eyes upon the stars

Tumbling down down from the scalding flames

Turn to ice as it touches my heart



As much as they hurt me

The sight is what I-I-I tell myself

Let it be a simple thing

Don’t let them get beneath your skin

I’ll steal her life like she stole him



Check out Demo-Crazy Vol. 7 and follow 22 Tango Records on Soundcloud for the latest songs.  

Artwork by Isa Neri.

Music curation by Abegail Kionisala & Redd Odilao.