Bamboo on being productive

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star

The death of Hollywood actor Robin Williams affected a lot of people, including celebrities.

One of those who felt the loss was rock singer and The Voice of the Philippines coach Bamboo Mañalac. When he learned of what happened, a deep sadness overcame him. A self-confessed introvert, Bamboo coped by digging up Williams’ past interviews on YouTube and marathoning his movies, starting with his two favorite ones, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. He has always found the lines in the latter film — where Williams played an English teacher whose methods profoundly affected the lives of his students at an all boys’ school — moving, especially now.

“I just felt really affected,” he says. “I don’t know why, (I guess it was because) he was just someone I grew up with from Day One. When he says we’re all worm food and stuff like that, every time he spoke, I’d feel my heart race a little faster. He was just an amazing artist, and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Bamboo knows from personal experience that a lot of artists go through the same thing. Although people don’t always understand how celebrities, even with the fame and fortune they enjoy, plus the adulation of fans, can feel depressed or lonely, he does, which is why Williams’ death hit him hard. “I believe that. I know a lot of artists, there’s a certain sensitivity to them, and I feel that. I hate to say this, but (it’s true that) sometimes the greatest work comes out of the greatest pain. It’s the same for myself sometimes, some of what I’ve done, the best of it, came out of times when I was really down and going through stuff. The great thing about being an artist is having an outlet, you get to pour it out onto a page and do something.”

Williams was able to do that, acknowledges Bamboo, “but maybe he had other things going on, and sometimes that can be a hard hole you dig into. You just have to hope for the best.”

Some days, when the pressures of showbiz get to him, and he’s exhausted from being around people 24/7, with all the traveling that he does, and the constant events and public appearances, he feels drained and “laid out.” He felt this way a lot, especially in the beginning. He even thought that as a rockstar and an artist who wrote and performed his own music, he needed to be in that mode to be creative. But since then, says Bamboo, he has gotten better and has learned to work through these moods. It helps to be surrounded by family and friends, to be productive and to establish a routine.

Speaking of routine, these days, he’s still very busy turning out material for an upcoming album, preparing for the second season of The Voice of the Philippines, plus readying himself for international shows.

Bamboo is set to leave for Canada, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dubai. He also recently accepted an endorsement gig for Jag which, he reveals, has been dressing him since Day One in The Voice. (Soon, Jag will come out with a collection of Bamboo’s own denim picks). Being a rockstar, though, his style is a bit more edgy than most. But generally, he dresses according to how he feels. “I like to wear what I feel on a particular day. If I feel badass, then I wear something that reflects that.”

Bamboo feels grateful that up to now, he still gets to do what he loves, yet at the same time, he gets to reach out to more music fans as the lone male judge and coach in The Voice of the Philippines. To date, he is the only coach among the three left following apl.de.ap’s departure, who has not yet won a season. Lea Salonga won the first season with Mitoy Yonting, then Sarah Geronimo took Season One of The Voice Kids with Lyca Gairanod. He refuses to go into the upcoming season with a strategy. He’ll just keep on doing what he has always done, which is to be a pure musician hitting the stage with as much passion as he can deliver, every single time.

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