Jed Madela: With a Song in His Heart

Photo by Jun de Leon

MANILA, Philippines - With Jed Madela’s high-caliber performances, multiple awards and dynamic renditions from his deep repertoire, the airline industry’s loss is the music world’s gain.

Offstage and sans the klieg lights, he initially strikes you as very cool and composed. In the appointed dressing room at the Genting Club, he looks straight at this writer with his soulful eyes, answering inquiries in calm tones, charming as most Ilonggos are.

As the camera clicks away, ace photographer Jun de Leon is visibly impressed with his subject’s stance and angles as Jed ably projects and delivers the required looks with ease. Behind his unassuming facade, however, is a world-class artist who has bedazzled countless audiences with his voice, stage presence and distinctive style of showmanship. Jed Madela, indeed, is a man who matters in music.

When It Rains

“It was a case of self-discovery as to how I got into singing. It was more of an informal training; I remember singing using an old karaoke in our house then,” Jed, whose real name is John Edward Tajanlangit, recalls.

His initial testing of the song festival waters, so to speak, was in the 2003 Voice of Asia competition held in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Sixteen Asian countries participated with 18 contestants competing. Jed was the first official Philippine male representative to the event, and he eventually garnered the Silver Trophy.

It was in 2005, however, when Jed became a household name during the World Championship of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) event in Hollywood. He single-handedly bagged all major industry awards by besting over 3,000 participants from 52 countries to win the grand prize.

“We knew nothing then about the competition; I was kind of nervous, but still, I performed and did my best,” he reminisces.

Jed competed in six categories whereby he was awarded all the golds. For the Pop category, he sang “I’m Your Angel.” For the Original Song category (meaning a composition from the singer’s home country), he sang “Be My Lady” by Martin Nievera. Other songs he performed were “Home” for the Broadway category, “Take Me Out of the Dark” for the Gospel category, and a duet with Risa Navales (“Last Night of the World”) in the Pop Duet category. The final song that made him the grand champion was “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith.

Looking back, Jed recalls that he was five years old when he started singing and acknowledges his father (church choirmaster Roy Tajanlangit) as his first voice coach. He is the eldest among three siblings, and his younger brother and sister are also singers in their church choir.

 “My entire family is very musically inclined. Never a day goes by that you won’t be hearing anyone singing in our home or someone playing the piano. Singing has always been a hobby for us. Everybody looks at music as an outlet for us to express ourselves and as a form of enjoyment as well,” says Jed.

The Singer, Not the Song

Jed earned a Business Administration degree from the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City at the age of 18. During his campus years, he was also a regular fixture in various singing competitions, which he usually ended up winning.

With his height, good looks, educational background and a training schedulee waiting in the wings, Jed was initially set to become a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines. Plans did not materialize as he explored his artistic pursuits.

For a time, Jed also became the lead vocalist of Pose (the band performed at the now-defunct Fashion Café in Glorietta) and Divest (based in Iloilo City). This Cancer-born singer was also handled by Ronnie Henares of Primeline and the late Bella Tan. One thing led to another and, as fate and destiny would have it, the rest is (musical) history.

 “Above anything else, I really love doing live performances. Recording is nice but I’m only limited to the four walls of the studio. When I do concerts, by touching the audience with my music, talking, interacting and performing for them live—that for Jed Madela is the ultimate high!” he reveals. “I would like to be remembered as the singer who touched his audience with his voice and his music.”

Over his 10-year stay in showbiz, needless to say, he has chalked an impressive list of achievements, including being a mainstay of Sunday TV noontime’s ASAP Rocks on ABS-CBN. Aside from having his schedule full with corporate shows and concerts both here and abroad, Jed is promoting The Classics (his sixth album) under Universal Records.

Despite his stellar status, he refuses, however, to be “boxed” in a mold that typifies a showbiz fixture.

“I’m basically a probinsiyano at heart. I don’t get too absorbed with life in showbiz; I’m not much of a story maker, the type to be involved in the headlines or get caught in some petty intrigues.

 “Let me reiterate how much I really love performing! It’s the passion for my job because singing is my first love. Some artists may look at their careers as moneymakers by banking on the financial aspect. When I sing, I do not sing just for the heck of it or to impress people with my high notes. My talent is the one that’s on the frontline,” Jed firmly concludes.

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