by Nickie Wang
Filipinos interest on the US talent show American Idol has been renewed after the inclusion of Thia Megia in its 10th edition’s top 13. Not only that she is the youngest in the new batch of AI hopefuls, she also makes history for being the first 15-year-old to enter the competition.
In the first three seasons, age limit was 16 to 24, then the upper limit was raised to 28 in season 4, and the lower limit was reduced to 15 in the current season. It is as if the universe conspires to make Thia, born Thialorei Lising Megia, to be part of the revamped talent search. Undeniably, she is a living proof that talent knows no age limit.
Last Thursday (Wednesday in the US), Thia sang Irene Cara’s classic “Right Here On My Own” and instantaneously received big approvals from crowd and AI judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson.
Steven commented, “When somebody’s pitch is so perfect, it doesn’t matter what you sing.” Then, J-Lo praised the young singer, “It was so beautiful. It was a quiet moment. You were there standing still and you captivated every single person in this room.”
Yet, the best compliment came from AI original judge Randy. He compared Thia to the late pop icon Michael Jackson.
“It’s been said and it is definitely true that the mark of a great singer… is the quality of the tone of the voice…. your tone when we first heard you reminded me so much of the late great Michael Jackson,” he raved.
These positive reviews put Thia, who once became a semi-finalist in America’s Got Talent, as one of the top contenders in this year’s batch. Though some people doubt that Thia will win the American Idol title and some even say that she is just a sentimental favorite and is destined to be just another Jasmine Trias, we can’t deny the fact that when she opens her mouth and starts to sing, we all move closer to our TV set. If she is not the one that makes other hopefuls to feel nervous, then probably it’s just the judges comments that make them shiver.
A jazzed up interaction with Fourplay
American jazz band Fourplay has a very intriguing name because it evokes different meanings. But members of the group will not apologize if people would assume other than what they believe their band name means, which is being serious and romantic both at the same time.
True to its name, Fourplay dished out a performance that seduced the auditory nerves of jazz music fans that flocked to the Rockwell Tent on Feb. 25. The jazz quartet aroused the senses of the attendees at the ABS-CBN Jazz Night with seductive rhythm of its contemporary repertoire that embeds elements of pop, rhythm and blues, and a variety of other genres.
The concert, according to its members, is a musical outing that showcases their talent, individually and collectively, which significantly speaks of the synergy of the musicians.
Fourplay, which is composed of Bob James (keyboards), Lee Ritenour (guitars), Nathan East (bass), and Chuck Loeb (guitar), has been a formidable group in the world of jazz music for almost two decades now. It has sold millions CDs and has produced 12 records. It also takes pride of being the only musical group in history to be recognized by the United State Congress.
“It’s congressional, the feeling is congressional,” quipped Nathan East, also the vocalist of the group, and furthered on a serious note, “It’s a great honor for us because we get to represent the country and it allows us to introduce our music to people around the world.”
Being an exceptional group, young musicians can learn a lot from these passionate artists who share the same interest in continuing the legacy of jazz music. And their secret to success and staying intact for 18 years does not lie on what the trend dictates.
Harvey Mason highlighted the idea of pleasing their selves first. He said that when the band comes up with a new a record, they want to feel confident about the material before they let other people listen to it.
“We gauge our success of course based on how many records we sold, and on how many people attended our concert. But we don’t make decisions based on what the audiences tell us. It’s our responsibility to innovate and take risk and to give something new,” said Mason.
Fourplay’s consistency in maintaining its presence on the contemporary jazz since is a statement that, apart from sustaining a high artistic standard, being original is the main ingredient in making it big in the business. In this respect, for those who want to emulate the band’s accomplishment, must listen to what these old hands would say.
“We are looking for people who have a lot of courage and a lot of believe in themselves. Anyone who is not confident should probably choose a different profession because it’s tough to be in the music business because there are only limited opportunities,” Bob James explained.
The ABS-CBN Jazz Night is the highlight of the annual Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival, which is a month-long festivity that features local and foreign jazz artists performing in different venues in around the metro.
Sarah in tried and tested formula
Last Saturday, E! Live aired the music video of Sarah Geronimo’s rendition of “Fallin’” which is the soundtrack of Catch Me…I’m In Love movie that launches the big screen tandem of the pop princess and Gerald Anderson.
We won’t be surprised if this Viva Films and Star Cinema co-production would rake in big revenues once it hits the major theaters this March. First, a movie that stars Sarah Geronimo is always expected to earn millions. We are witnesses to the phenomenal figures her previous projects made like A Very Special Love and You Changed My Life. But the new film leaves us with a question, which we hope would reach her camp: Why is Sarah always being boxed as a plain Jane falling in love with a filthy rich boy next door?
Most great actors are defined by the variety of roles they play and their ability to immerse in any character they are tasked to portray. Apparently Sarah’s new character seems to be the same Laida Magtalas, which has become the archetype of Sarah’s roles in movies and television series. Though she is already a mature actor, it’s obvious that she hasn’t come out of her comfort zone.