THE industry newbie was quick to reach the peak of his singing career four years after entering the music arena. Chad Borja was 20-years-old when he took to the stage in 1987. By 1991, the good-looking balladeer reached a career highlight as a solo artist. It was on the same year when he released his first album, “All About Love.”
Three more albums followed, “Chad Borja” in 1994, “The Way I Am in 1996” and “Sorry Na, Pwede Ba” in 1997, and there was no better avenue to showcase this artist’s songs and albums than the stage.
Aside from TV guestings, it was the live concerts that kept Chad close to his fans. But it was not just any other concert, for the stage was shared with the country’s best singers of the era.
“My memorable performances, among others, were my solo concerts with Regine Velasquez, Geneva Cruz and Side A as my guest artists, and many more after that. I went on concert tours in the US and performed with Kuh Ledesma and many other big-name artists in the industry.”
What Chad tags as significant in the first decade of his career were “international” in essence, two albums were produced by Japanese musician and composer, Yutaka Yokokura, and live performances with renowned international jazz artists, such as Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Michael Paulo, Abraham Laboriel and Gregg Karukas.
Unfortunately, in 1998, Chad’s career was put on hold, along with the release of his fifth album, “Show Me The Way,” when he was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma (thyroid cancer) and had to undergo surgery and radiation therapy.
Health and quality of life became top priority, “Di baling mawala ang boses basta mabuhay lang,” he said.
It was a big change for Chad to relocate in Davao, but he eventually became more appreciative of the city. He found comfort in his new environment-lush greenery, fresh, clean air, a golf course nearby, which allowed him to play almost daily, and most especially, the birth of his two daughters, Aby in 2001 and Mafy in 2003. Everything about his home sped up his recuperation.
No sooner, the vocal chords were at work again, and hitting higher notes coming as a surprise. He even wept after jamming with Rico Puno saying he can’t believe he still can sing.
As he built his confidence through the years with gigs in several local joints, it was in 2013 that Chad re-entered the music scene.
“Singing has always been my passion. There is this feeling of relief & satisfaction every time I sing my heart out. I have somehow always longed for performing on stage with those follow spots and glaring lights.”
“Ikaw Lang Sa Habang Buhay,” became his 6th album, releasing it on his comeback year.
Chad may be swamped with bookings for corporate events, concerts and Pagcor shows, but he makes it a point to return home to Davao to relax, unwind, play golf and attend to personal chores, which includes personal grooming.
“Grooming is very important to my career because I perform on stage. Aside from my voice, looking and smelling good are plus factors in marketing myself to producers. I always think that every show is an opportunity to have more shows.”
Grooming by Rocky’s Barbershop has become his tradition. “I go to Rocky’s in SM City Ecoland at least once a month and have been doing so for years now.”
Recently, he was introduced to one of Rocky’s new perfumes, 1996, formulated by French fragrance company, Charabot. The label sports a classic and traditional scent—woody, aromatic and musky with lemon and lavender on the top notes, tarragon and thyme for the middle notes and patchouli and musk for the base notes.
Rocky’s is hoping that 1996 become Chad’s alternative scent to his favorite perfume, Armani.
If not grooming at Rocky’s, what tradition can this father pass on to his daughters?
It must have been fate that what took Chad back in the pink are what Aby and Mafy are into today. The girls picked up their dad’s passion for music and sport.
“We allow our children to be who they are,” said the dad.
“Singing is a regular thing at home, especially in our music room. It was a pleasant surprise to see Aby develop into an artist. She has great talent that blossomed in her own time. It’s her personal choice to become a singer, and we are supporting her 100 percent.”
Aby’s gigs at the local bars are keeping her busy. Soon, she will be launched as an artist with the release of her debut album.
Two years ago, there was a TV guesting for a short father-child production number, but what Chad is looking forward to is a father-daughter concert in the near future. That would be exciting, he mused.
It was Mafy who took after Chad’s love for golf. She, however, is “driving” it to the level of professionals. Recruited in 2016 at age 12, Mafy is the youngest member of the girl’s golf team of the ICTSI Foundation, which trains young amateurs and support their international competitions representing the Philippines.
The young golfer is currently in Sta. Rosa, Laguna training for the Qualifying for the Junior Masters slated this July in San Diego, California.
The sportsman, music man, the father is passing on his mantra to Aby and Mafy as well and hope that it becomes a Borja tradition: “Go with the flow and live in the moment. Life is short, so make it a point to find happiness in your daily lives. Play your game right and sing like there’s no tomorrow.”
The 1996 perfume, from Rocky’s new fragrance line, is available in all Rocky’s Barbershops at Victoria Plaza, Abreeza Mall, GMall, SM City and SM Lanang Premier in Davao City, and Centrio Ayala Mall and SM City in Cagayan de Oro City.
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