Jessa bares real self in concert

Tinnie P. Esguerra (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Who is the real Jessa Zaragoza?

Is it the sultry, seductive, porcelain-skinned songstress known for her tear-jerking romantic anthems?

Is she somebody who can rightfully claim her throne to OPM royalty because of her jukebox hits?

Is she the feisty dramatic telenovela actress who’s now equally at home essaying comic roles, tickling televiewers’ funny bones via the long-running GMA 7 sitcom Pepito Manaloto?

Is there more to her than just being known as the better half of Dingdong Avanzado, and the mom of promising teen singer Jayda?

Apparently, there’s more to love about the artist whom we’ve all known as local showbiz’s “phenomenal diva.”

Despite the glamorous, sexy image that she’s portrayed through the years, Jessa admits that her showbiz facade doesn’t really paint a realistic picture.

That’s why she felt that it’s high time for her to bare her true colors via a major solo concert, which she aptly dubbed, I Am Me.

Aside from finally heeding the clamor of her loyal fans who have waited for 13 years since her last major solo show, Jessa felt that the concert would also serve as a fitting birthday celebration. (Her birthday is on Jan. 30).

It comes as no surprise then how she opted to skip the revealing gowns and the vampish make-up for her concert poster’s pictorial. Instead, sporting a denim jacket and a ponytail, Jessa exudes a more fun, carefree and youthful vibe. Some even remarked that they thought it was her daughter Jayda in the photo.

Jessa says, “I always thought that if I had to do a solo concert again, I would do it at a time when I’m most ready for it. My heart, body and soul should be one. I want to be fully prepared.”

However, more than just reprising her signature hits, the Kapuso actress also believes that her concert should also showcase the unique palette of colors that have shaped her musical personality over the past years.

She says, “Through the years, I’ve discovered different colors of my gift, my voice, and that there are amazing techniques I can do, or songs I can sing. Everything comes out naturally when you’re being true to your own music.”

And just what exactly has she lined up for her fans?

She replies, “There are artists who I looked up to growing up, like Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston. There are also songs that I listened to when I was still a child. I remember, those were songs of artists with big voices. I want those that challenge me and suit the color and texture of my voice.”

Looking back, what would Jessa cite as the defining moment that validated her stature as a singer?

She pauses wistfully and muses, “When my first album Just Can’t Help Feelin’ and my song Bakit Pa? became a hit worldwide, especially when someone tells me that even foreigners sing my song, or that when they were still young, they sang my songs, like these kids from the US who didn’t really know how to speak Tagalog, but knew and appreciated Bakit Pa? It feels so good to know that my music has become a part of their lives.”

Will her fans be in for any other surprise treats?

“I will be dancing (laughs)! Just a little! My fantasy as a dancer will be showcased in this show (laughs). But seriously, I will be sharing different parts of my journey as a singer in this show. That’s why it’s titled, I Am Me.”

Produced by Phenomenal Entertainment, I Am Me also features Jayda and other surprise guests. Elmer Blancaflor is musical director, with concept and direction by Dingdong Avanzado. Showtime is 8:30 p.m.

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