Filipino-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez is in town. The only American Idol contestant with Filipino roots that reached the top 2 in the search’s season 11 hopes to top and explore her mother’s roots.
Last Saturday she was the featured star in a concert at The Theatre at Solaire with Filipino-American singer Martin Nievera.
At Studio 28 in Taguig City’s Uptown Parade in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Jessica met a motley group of members of the mass media and explained why she is back in the Philippines. Though this isn’t her first time in the country—she’s been here several times as guest of a TV network—this time Jessica seems bent on carving a niche in the Philippines’ colorful and flourishing music market. She signed with Stages for management of her career not only in the Philippines but in the booming digital music market in Southeast Asia.
Jessica Sanchez, with the help of Stages, said Carlo Orosa who was there to represent the management company, will do a number of projects in the country in the coming months,
Another STAGES star, Christian Bautista, was also there, and they performed the Christmas tune that they recorded in LA, ”Another Silent Christmas Song,” now available for download from digital music websties.
Jessica said she would love to learn Filipino (Tagalog), then she would sing more OPM songs.
“While I don’t understand Filipino well, it’s a beautiful language to sing in. I want to learn, dive in and be part of the culture. I want to be able to talk and sing in Tagalog to show that side of me,” said the 23-year-old singer, who was raised in the United States by a Mexican-American father and a Filipino mother from Bataan.
She likewise feels that speaking the language better can double as her way of thanking all the Filipino fans that have been supportive of her career over the years. “I just love the people and how they backed me up throughout my ‘Idol’ journey, and I’m excited to show everyone how I have grown up,” said Jessica.
Jessica , in her Nov. 10 show at The Theatre at Solaire sang the ballad “Ikaw,” which she has done a couple of times in previous visits to the country. She learned a couple more and performed them with Martin Nievera
Jessica is also slated to do shows in Cebu and Davao in December.
The upcoming shows will be “a mix of fun stuff”—a throwback to her ‘Idol’ days, a smattering of her original material, and songs that have become part of her musical journey.
“I’m excited to sing different types of songs that will cater to everyone in the crowd. It won’t be limited to ballads and pop songs. I want to touch everyone with my music,” she said.
“Filipinos can really sing—they’re like vocal monsters, belting and doing all these crazy stuff! I’d love to work with talented artists, not only onstage, but also on record,” she said.
Jessica is recording a new album, which she hopes to finish and release next year. The sound will be R&B-leaning, which is more in line with who she is as an artist.
“I just feel that my voice sits in a beautiful pocket when I sing R&B music. I think my tone suits that genre, and I’m super excited to continue in that direction,” said Jessica, who looks up to the likes of Mariah Carey, Etta James and Aretha Franklin. “Over the years, I have let people dictate who I am as an artist. But now, I just want to do music that feels right to me.”
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My friend Ester Dipasupil who once edited the Lifestyle section of Manila Standard before moving to the Philippine Daily Inquirer is now a book writer and editor.
Last Monday, Nov. 12, she launched A Banaue Story: Restoring a World Heritage Treasure,” a coffee table book on the restoration of the world-famous rice terraces of Ifugao province, at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.
The 265-page book is a testimony to the efforts of local farming communities in the province and the dedication of advocates in the preservation of the age-old architectural wonder often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World, but which now faces alarming problems of degradation, neglect, and abandonment.
Apart from contributions from prominent personalities in the academe, the book, edited by the former Philippine Daily Inquirer editor, is replete with spectacular photographs of the terraces -- declared a world heritage site by UNESCO-- taken from all angles by renowned photographers like Eduardo Masferre, John Chua, and George Tapan, among others.
It also includes documentation and on-site step-by-step procedures on the current restoration efforts being undertaken by volunteers from the villages as well as soldiers of the Philippine Army, with the support of businesswoman and cultural heritage stalwart Dr. Milagros O. How, president and CEO of Universal Harvester, Inc.
The book ends with an appeal not only to stakeholders but Filipinos from all over as well to help save the terraces in ways they know best, before this beloved cultural icon vanishes completely from the landscape.
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