How do you top a power ballad originally sung by belter Angeline Quinto? First, get a super talented act who can match the grandness of her voice. Second, pull in the song’s composer who actually believes there was more that could be done to the track delivered by the famous songstress in a mainstream songwriting competition.
The California-registered RJA Productions – its initials referring to its no-nonsense head Rosabella Jao-Arribas – clearly did its homework as the producer addressing the challenge of covering Angeline’s “Hanggang Kailan,” which is among the gems that came out of 2014’s “Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs” – the same album that produced Morisette’s “Akin Ka Na Lang” and KZ Tandingan’s “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako.”
It’s a big blessing that RJA has her own world-class talent in Alisah Bonaobra, one of the few in the current biz who can truly put her own twist on an already popular song and make listeners wonder if her version is actually the definitive one. In recording “Hanggang Kailan’s” new rendition, she gave the floor to its composer Joel Mendoza, the late-blooming balikbayan songwriter who insisted on having his original vision for the song captured note for note, or as high and emphatic as it should be, which Alisah obligingly delivered.
“I won’t forget that day we finished recording my vocals after six hours,” recalled Alisah when she spoke about her experience in interpreting the song at Wild Grass studio in Quezon City in November last year. “Sir Joel served as my vocal coach and he really expressed through body language his goal of coming up with the finest version we could possibly produce.”
Small wonder Alisah’s “Hanggang Kailan” is subtitled “Composer’s Cut.” This fresh cover certainly showcased what was missing in Angeline’s take – something previously known only to Joel and perhaps to some studio or record label guys who had a hand in cutting the record’s length to conform to the standard requirement of a songwriting tiff finalist.
Released last April 21 on digital stores, “Hanggang Kailan (Composer’s Cut)” has now reached thousands of streamers. The lyric video uploaded by ABS-CBN Star Music on YouTube had hit the 15,000 views mark after 11 days.
Well, the consummate professional tunesmith who excelled in corporate America and then survived multiple near-death experiences is no doubt a happy man now that he is finally able to share the cut as nature intended.
Joel shared, “I supervised for free and as you have seen on a video, I gave my all in guiding Alisah as she sang her heart out on this cut which to me really completes the story of the song.”
A clip of Joel orchestrating Alisah as she sings on record had been posted on Facebook for everyone to see how committed they were to making sure the finest cut would be served to the listening public.
Last year, RJA released Alisah’s version of the Martin Nievera classic “Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin,” penned by songwriting dame Cecile Azarcon who also wrote an original called “Do You Have A Miracle For Me” which Alisah likewise performed. Other popular records by the former X-Factor UK finalist include “Walang Iwanan,” “Gintong Tinig,” and “Can I.”
As Alisah herself projects, “Hanggang Kailan (Composer’s Cut)” is likely to become a regular fixture in her repertoire.