RECENTLY, I have been a regular at Kafika Cafe and it is always a delight to be serenaded by The Ardent Band on weekends as they shift on different genres all through the evening. More particularly, I always get goosebumps every time their only female vocalist interprets OPM songs with a powerful sultry voice. I was later surprised to know she is actually just 16 years old.
On a few occasions, I was able to talk with Daphne and her family in between her sets as we exchanged stories about the entertainment world in the local scene. Allow me then to feature her power to sing on this weekend issue with the hope that budding performers would get a lesson or two on how to hone one's skills and talent in singing.
Daphne Bonotano has already made a name at such a young age. Just last year, she made it to ABS CBN's "The Voice Teens Season 2 Blind Audition" aired on national television, an experience she said she would never forget as it was her first-ever TV audition and was by far her greatest career break.
On regular gigs, Daphne joins with The Ardent Band as their only female vocalist, a journey she so enjoys as she gets to sing together with her siblings.
When asked when did she start singing, she shared, "I started singing when I was 5 years old, I was blessed to be born into a great family that are music lovers and musicians as well, and so they influenced me the most," adding that her family plays all kinds of music every day at their balcony.
Daphne fondly recalled one time when she tried to sing along with the music being played, her family was so surprised she could carry a tune.
"After that, I was asked to practice the song "Doon lang" by Nonoy Zuniga since my brother Rusty has mastered it already. They then asked me to sing it at my DayCare Recognition Day and when my mother said that a lot of people applauded, that was the start of it all."
Daphne has a distinct style of singing. When asked how she developed such, she said, "As a pop singer, I tend to explore what my voice can further do, expanding my musical horizon by listening to different music I don't usually hear. Being an active listener can have a great impact, I can feel what the message of the song conveys and let my emotions dictate my voice to be free but with control. I started learning some styles by attempting to mimic some singers especially "Camila Cabello" for I got a lot of ideas just by listening to her slide of notes, her own renditions, the riffs and the runs."
What amazes me about this young lady is that she is still so young yet she has already mastered her craft as evident in her vocal acrobatics and amazing control of her voice, it's so easy to get carried away by her own interpretation of almost all the songs she sings.
Surely she has her routine in keeping her voice on its top quality, and so I asked her if she can share her few Do's and Don'ts in maintaining a healthy voice. Here's what she had to say:
Dos for aspiring singers
•Stay Hydrated with warm water. 8-10 glass per day
•Maintain regular vocal practices every morning
• If you have a vocal instructor, let him guide you with the practices
•Keep your throat warm in a cold weather
•Practice proper breathing techniques
•Get enough rest or a vocal nap after the vocalization.
• Sleep at a right time
• Hot ginger tea or plain warm water can help heal a hoarse voice
Don'ts for aspiring singers
• Do not smoke or avoid second-hand smoke for it can cause irritation of throat
• Don’t strain your voice or avoid using the extremes of your vocal range such as yelling and talking excessively especially when you have sick voice
•Do not stay up too late
•Stop drinking alcoholic drinks
• Do not clear your throat or cough habitually
•Do not force or abuse your body. Physical fatigue has a negative effect on voice.
When asked what her vocal exercises are, she said, "I take the face, throat, and jaw massage for it to release the tension, be relaxed and be ready for vocal exercises. I also do sighing, yawning, and humming because they are gentle ways of working your vocal cords without any act of overexerting your voice. Lip roll is very essential to warm your voice just by making a vibration of your lip and you may incorporate some pitch slides too.
Daphne also shared some foods that are good for maintaining a good voice. To mention a few, she said pure honey is good for it is antiseptic and a natural anti-inflammatory; carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and legumes; fruits such as watermelon, melon, apple or any fruits that have high water content.
"Ginger can make your vocal cords work well for it has menthol, always drink lukewarm water. Eggs are also good as well as bread or pasta and light food that contains protein."
Lessons to learn
Daphne has been in the industry for quite a while however young she still is and she has had enough experiences on the ups and downs in the entertainment industry as well as shares of victories and failures.
"Being a musician is not that easy, it can drain yourself emotionally especially when there are people who are trying to knock me down. I overcame their judgements by accepting my flaws and being able to apply them to become better. You won't achieve anything if you don't believe in yourself. In a world of struggles, all you need is to discover comfort in yourself, clutch your expectation and think ambitiously."
The young singer believes in the saying that if you believe, you can achieve. "I realized that I should not be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are fine, Mistakes make us grow. I’ve learned to accept my own mistakes as a continuation of my learning process in any steps that Ill take," she said.
Daphne also puts a premium on being unique. "Be yourself. Not only in the way you style your renditions in singing but as well as in finding your own style in life. Being yourself is what makes you unique as an individual, don't be distracted by anyone, if you think that they are better, then be the best."
Most importantly, Daphne embraces humility. "Be humble in every victory," she said.
It looks like there is more to the golden voice than just being born with it. I wish all the budding singers luck and success and may we all learn a thing or two from this lovely princess who already made a name in the music scene despite her young age.
Kudos Daphne and continue to shine!