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A Christmas concert with Martin Nievera

CEBU, Philippines — Concert King Martin Nievera returns to The Theater at Solaire to stage another Christmas concert on Friday, December 8. Martin, who was recently signed up by Solaire as endorser, is excited to do a Christmas concert anew.

No other Filipino artist had endorsed a resort casino before and Martin prides himself in being the first do so. He jokes that he got the endorsement deal because he is the cousin of the owner. But kidding aside, Martin is a perfect choice. He had performed in many casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere in the world.

As an endorser, Martin gets to play, sing, sleep and do everything in Solaire. And he can brag being a Filipino endorser of a hotel owned by a Filipino, in the Philippines. Another thing he likes about being part of Solaire is getting the chance to promote OPM better. More OPM icons are doing shows in Solaire and Martin says it’s a good development because it keeps OPM alive.

Looking back on his early days in the business, Martin said that when he started his singing career, he didn’t think he’d last for two days.

“Everything that happened back then had no plan. Everything was a mystery. Dati puro hit and miss ang strategy sa career. But now there is a formula. There is the loveteam formula. But my loveteam with Pops (Fernandez) was never a formula. It was for real,” said Martin.

“What made the singers from my generation, the 80s, different is the fact na meron kaming mystery. Every show that I did, corporate show, show sa ibang bansa o sa province, endorsements, all these things came as a big surprise to me. Until now, to be asked at 35 years in the business – 55 years old na ako – to be asked to endorse something as big as Solaire Resorts and Casino, that for me is a true compliment. Hindi lang blessing, ha. Compliment kasi ang ibig sabihin, may tiwala kami sa’yo. This is a big responsibility.”

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The country’s only Concert King comes home to The Theatre at Solaire for a Yuletide concert that also doubles as a celebration of his 35th anniversary in the entertainment industry.

“In all my concerts,” shares Martin, “I am always given the freedom to make suggestions and be part of the production. Most if not all my shows I have directed and written myself. But this time, our director Paolo Valenciano and our musical director Louie Ocampo have been banging heads on how to make this a combination 35th anniversary in showbiz concert and a Christmas concert all in one.”

The repertoire will be a combination of well-loved Christmas tunes to set the mood, the singer-songwriter’s trademark hits, and a few songs from the ‘80s.

“It’s going to be a celebration, nothing too serious,” notes Martin. “Ako pa!”

And when Martin is having a good time, expect a lot of wisecracks in between musical numbers and playful, loquacious banter with the audience and that signature Martin Nievera chutzpah.

Martin looks forward to working with Paolo Valenciano, his godson and the son of his most enduring rival, Gary Valenciano. “Paolo and I have worked together in many fundraisers and now I feel it’s time for us to work together in one of my milestone concerts. I have true faith in him. I have seen his work before plus I love his wife with all my heart not to mention his daughter so the production is still all in the family.”

Martin also knows his musical director for the show, Louie Ocampo, like the palm of his hand. They have collaborated on songs like “You Are My Song” and “Say That You Love Me” to name a few and in many concerts.

“Just like all things that come with Christmas, my chemistry with Louie is a magical mystery. We click. We even have the same quirks and fetishes. I have worked with the best, but Louie is the musical director’s Musical Director. We have seen good days and bad days together. From the start of our careers to the present day, we have never lost that magic.”

Picture this: 35 years ago, Martin did a big Christmas concert in the parking lot in front of what was once known as the Intercon Hotel (known today as Glorietta) and realized how much he loved hearing and singing Christmas songs.

“In my mind, when I sing a Christmas carol I am not just making music, I am singing inside that happy place we only explore once a year at Christmas. How I wish I could do this more often, like when you open a Christmas present, the wrapper may be nice, but who knows what’s inside? The Christmas wrapping is the Theatre at Solaire, but what waits inside is magic meant only for you.” (FREEMAN)

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