How Martin connects to the public

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star

He is probably the only person in the business who admits he has a big mouth, and that occasionally, it can get him into trouble.

But after more than 30 years in showbiz, Martin Nievera has come to realize that it’s all part of the effort of celebrities to “connect” with the public, and that if there are bashers and critics, well, they’re simply part of the territory, and he has to accept them.

“Seems to me that in this day and age, we have no excuse not to talk or communicate with our fans and bashers,” notes Martin.

Yes, it can be painful sometimes. Especially for someone who would rather be private. “When I do or say anything in public I am hit and questioned on social media, leaving us usually private people out in the open and vulnerable to every painful and positive word. I didn't have this kind of closeness that I do now thanks to social media, but there is definitely a price to pay.”

Does he engage with his bashers and critics, or has he learned to simply ignore them?

“Haters gonna hate, but we are only human so I answer as a human not as a superstar. It's a losing battle I know, but I am only getting into this whole high-tech way of communicating and sometimes I say too much. I am learning.”

Despite these occasional skirmishes on social media, Martin finds himself in a relatively good place for the remainder of 2016. His international career has been pretty steady, what with  at least two concerts a year on the Las Vegas strip. Locally, he has been doing a lot of big and small shows that keep him busy as well as creative, including a recent benefit show for Epcalm, or the Erwin Piedad Cabanag Adult Leukemia Ministries.

Now known as the EPCALM Adult Leukemia Foundation of the Philippines, it is the first and only Christ-centered non-stock, non-profit organization in the country focused on extending timely, personalized, practical and family-oriented support to leukemia patients, and their families. Martin has performed for them numerous times and says he’s always glad to do so.

“I have been with the Epcalm family for quite some time now and every time they need a project that inspires, educates and heals, I am their in-house singer. The people at Epcalm are on a mission to help learn more about leukemia and want to build a facility that will house families dealing with the grief and challenges this cancer comes with. Dr. Erlyn Demerre and her Epcalm team have been passionate about this mission and I am honored to be part of it,” he says.

Martin also had a brief stint on I Love OPM which he describes as a very fun show to be part of. “What made it even more special was the fact it was a pet project of my home network ABS-CBN and not the usual franchise show from another country. It was heartwarming to see how foreigners from all over the world not only love original Pinoy music, but also our country and countrymen.”

Speaking of OPM, Martin has just released a new album that is 100 percent OPM. The album is titled Kahapon Ngayon and contains OPM classics like, Bato sa Buhangin, Paraiso Parisukat, Maalaala Mo Kaya, Hindi Kita Malimot, just to name a few. There is even a version of the Visayan classic Usahay.

At this point, Martin is hoping that what remains of 2016 will be just as productive for him. “I am contracted to do two concerts at the M resort and Casino on the Las Vegas strip on June 11 and  again on Oct. 15. I am all over the world for The Filipino Channel (TFC) promoting Kapamilya happiness everywhere. I plan to do my part on ASAP every Sunday that I am needed. In between all that, I will be heavy into promoting the new CD and have offers to perform in other casinos all over America as well as corporate shows here and there. I want to work on a new CD of original songs as well as go on tour with my son Robin.”

Martin plans to just keep singing and performing. Singing is my job,” he says. “I would like to think I am as needed in this very moody industry as I need it. I am still in it to win it. I love my job I love to sing and perform. Television for me is a blessing and a bonus. Just give me a stage and a microphone even with just a flashlight. I will sing.”

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