As early as I can remember, my fondness for music came about when I was four years old. Local TV channels would feature music videos when they sign in early in the morning, and I would listen to the same songs day in and day out. I ended up memorising the songs.
Is there any musician in your family?
My mom loves to sing but only as a hobby. I believe that my other two siblings could have been more talented than I am because I have heard them sing. It just so happened that I was the only one who pursued performing music on stage. Surprisingly, I found out two years ago that my father used to play the alto saxophone. I guess he forgot to tell me.
Who is your musical influence? Why?
I have always loved how Martin Nievera sang because he does it with so much heart and power. When I started performing, my road manager told me not to listen to Martin anymore (because I would end up copying him) He told me to start looking for my own style. I also listened to Boyz II men, Michael Jackson, and John Mayer to name a few.
How do you describe your work ethic, style of playing and your strength as a musician?
I follow the traditional work ethic of musicians: Don’t be late, respect the people you work with, and come prepared. In performing, I follow two basic rules:
Sing with all your heart and all your soul
Don’t F#@* up!
My style of playing? I am an entertainer—I try to be entertaining on stage by experimenting on gestures and sounds. I don’t really stick with a particular genre. I usually play songs that a lot of people would relate to. As to being a musician, I am quite versatile. I not only play the guitar and sing; I also play the piano and write my own songs. Hopefully people would be able to hear my original compositions soon.
How do you envision yourself as an artist?
I see myself marketed as an artist with a lot of talents. I know that it has been done before by Paolo Santos and Jimmy Bondoc, but you have to admit—Filipinos are quite fond of their music and talent. Remember the days of harana in our history? Singing while playing guitar would always work especially with the ladies.
How can you describe the musical scene in Manila then and now?
The musical scene in Manila evolves depending on the generation. The scene in the early 2000s for instance was an amazing time with a lot of music lovers coming out of their homes to watch their favourite performers. By the late 2000s however, the interest died out. Hopefully, we would experience a renaissance of sorts in this generation.
Do you think musicians are still relevant in the next 10 years with the advent of technology and accessible music online?
I think musicians will always be relevant. As long as people would feel and relate to the songs that they would write and perform, music lovers would patronise them. We have survived music piracy for decades—I know that we will look for ways to be relevant in one way or the other. It’s so sad to say but we have to adapt with the changing of the times.
Any advice for aspiring artists and musicians
- Reach for your dreams—so far as it may seem. Reach for the sky—no matter how high.
- Never forget to thank God for the talent that he has given you.
- Strive to learn more. When I started to play music, I have to learn something new every day, a new musical piece, a technique, a spiel, a gesture…anything!
- Always have something to fall back on. I took up secondary education in college while I performed at night. I am now a High school teacher in a school in Mandaluyong City. I get to enjoy the best of both worlds.