Briones: World-class talents

Cartoon by John Gilbert Manantan

On the go

I DON’T know about you, but watching foreign vocal coaches “react” to Filipino singers has been my thing since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health crisis began sometime in March.

You should try it. It’s a great stress reliever. Plus, it’s a real confidence booster. Filipinos may be bungling in addressing this pandemic but at least we’re doing something right and wowing the rest of the world while we’re at it.

Do you know that many of these vocal coaches consciously pick Filipino singers to boost their subscriptions and page views?

Apparently, I am not alone. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos like me spend their free time in front of their laptops or their smartphones searching for the latest “review” and hitting that “like” or “subscribe” button.

I’m no different from your regular Juan or Maria. I feel proud whenever our singers awe these vocal coaches with their singing prowess. But let’s get one thing straight: We don’t need foreigners to tell us our singers are world-class. I already know that. We must get that out of our system, that thinking that we can’t be good without foreign validation because that’s just a load of crap.

I don’t need someone from the US or the UK or even South Korea to tell me that Cebuana Morissette Amon, who must be named after Morissette of “Ought to Know” fame, can outsing Mariah Carey at her prime.

But, and it’s a big BUT, it’s nice to know that our singers are appreciated somewhere else.

There are so many good ones in the archipelago that we tend to take for granted the talents of Morissette, who is one of the most reviewed Filipino singers on the internet along with Katrina Velarde and BuDaKhel (Bugoy Drilon, Daryl Ong and Michael Pangilinan).

To be honest, I had no idea who these people were before I watched Morissette perform on the Wish bus.

First of all, they’re very young. Young enough to be my children if I had any.

Plus, I’m not into their genre of music. I like New Wave, Bossa Nova and OPM from the ‘70s and ‘80s. But I do appreciate talent, and these kids have loads.

I don’t blame first-time visitors to the country for thinking that all Filipinos can sing. Because admit it, even those who can’t hold a note believe they can. It’s a matter of faith. Some will even say chutzpah. But one thing is for sure, for every Morissette and Daryl out there, there are those who should never be allowed to go near a microphone.

Then again, singing in the Philippines is not about who is good or bad, although for some it’s a means of escape from poverty. Many join amateur singing contests at a young age. Others find their calling when they’re more mature. Competition is very tough.

I’ve been blessed with a voice that doesn’t make people cringe. But I will gladly shut up and give way to someone who is a better singer.

There’s no greater pleasure than to close your eyes and allow a person’s lovely voice to carry you to a place far, far away where there is no stay-at-home order, no quarantine passes and no such thing as Covid-19.


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