Nicole Laurel Asensio (born July 7, 1986) is a Filipino singer-songwriter. After providing lead vocals for all-girl rock band General Luna, she began a solo career and released her first album Schizoprano in 2015.
Nicole Laurel Asensio is the daughter of singer Iwi Laurel, first cousin of actress Denise Laurel, niece of theater artist Cocoy Laurel, and granddaughter of famed opera singer Fides Cuyugan-Asensio. She is also the great-granddaughter of President of the Philippines Jose P. Laurel, granddaughter of Vice President of the Philippines Salvador Laurel, granddaughter of singer Celia Diaz Laurel and first cousin of fashion designer Rajo Laurel.
Nicole Laurel Asensio began singing as a child, but didn’t undergo formal voice lessons like most heirs of musical legends do. Instead, living with her grandmother, mother, and uncle, was enough for her to discover her musicality.
She graduated from De La Salle University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in literature.
Nicole Laurel Asensio got her professional start in musical theatre. At the age of five, while with Repertory Philippines, she got the chance to sing for French record producer, actor, singer, songwriter, and musical theatre composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, best known for creating Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, and was offered the role of Cosette in the 1990 production. “I wasn’t ready to leave the country or adjust schooling at age five,” she said in an interview with MEGA Magazine. In 1998, at age twelve, Asensio performed as one of the orphans in her first major production Annie with Repertory Philippines. The following year she performed in another musical (The Magic Staff) with her grandmother.
By age 15, she had recorded radio ads and jingles for various brands. She grew up listening to different genres but her main influences are Pink Floyd and Skunk Anansie. She has performed in theater productions with Repertory Philippines, Okasaki Theaterworks, Everyman Presents, and 9Works Theatrical.
Her first musical foray outside theatre was as a founding member of the band Crowjane.
In 2010, she played Mimi Marquez in a Philippine production of RENT. That same year, all-girl rock band General Luna formed, with Asensio fronting on lead vocals. General Luna went on permanent hiatus in the last quarter of 2013.
In 2015, under MCA Music, Nicole Laurel Asensio released her debut solo album, Schizoprano, a portmanteau of the words schizophrenic and soprano. The album merges Nicole’s background in theater and classical music with her more recent forays in rock and roll. Tracks from the album include single “Leader for a Day“, with lyrics taken from replies to a Facebook status update she posted asking people what they would do if they were leader for a day. Other tracks are collaborations such as the WilabaliW’s Ian Tayao on the love song “All in All“; rapper Mike Swift on “Wag (Mo Na Ako Mahalin)“; and her Philpop entry song “A Song on a Broken String“. The piano arrangement of another track, “Walang Anuman“, was created by an Italian composer and friend Diedonne Russo, who gave her a piano riff with a note: “This is my gift to you. Write something in your language.” Asensio teamed up with JC Magsalin of the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra to create an orchestral arrangement for the song and e-mailed it to Russo, with a note stating “This is my gift back to you.”