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Janella sings theme song of Disneyâs Moana
Kapamilya star Janella Salvador was selected to cover Disney’s Moana theme song titled How Far I’ll Go along with four other singers from Southeast Asia.
Photo from Star Magic Facebook page

Janella sings theme song of Disney’s Moana

MGA PANGYAYARING KAGILA-GILALAS - Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2016 - 12:00am

SINGAPORE Janella Salvador was handpicked to sing a version of How Far I’ll Go, the theme song of Disney’s Moana, in time for the film’s Philippine release on Nov. 30.

Last Tuesday, the 18-year-old singer/actress was introduced alongside other popular young artists from Southeast Asia — Maudy Ayunda (Indonesia), Myra Molloy (Thailand), Ayda Jebat (Malaysia) and Minh Nhu (Vietnam) — at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre during the Asian presscon of the new animated film. Each one interpreted and recorded the song composed by Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda in their own language, except for Janella who sang the original English lyrics.   

In a roundtable interview afterwards, Janella said that being chosen by Disney over other young singers in the country came as a shock to her. She considers the project as “my most international (gig) representing the Philippines in Southeast Asia.”

“They said they observed stars from the Philippines, that’s all I know,” Janella said, when asked why she got the part.

“Actually, this is the second time I’ve worked with Disney. Last year, I sang for Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th anniversary. I sang their theme song. I’m also going to do a Disney concert (in Manila),” she added, referring to the Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time show with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra at the Kia Theatre on Nov. 19 and 20.

Janella first heard How Far I’ll Go on the day she would also record it. “I recorded on the spot. It was very confidential. I couldn’t let anyone know about it. Walang pwedeng makarinig. They (Disney people) didn’t even want to e-mail it; that’s how confidential it was. I was surprised sobrang ganda ng kinalabasan ng song. I’m so proud of this project.”

Janella is one of the lucky few who also got to preview Moana ahead of its release dates across Southeast Asia.

Janella (third from right) with Auli’i Cravalho (voice of Moana, second from left) and other Southeast Asian singers (from left) Maudy Ayunda (Indonesia), Ayda Jebat (Malaysia), Myra Molloy (Thailand) and Minh Nhu (Vietnam) during the Asian presscon for Disney’s Moana at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

The latest Disney offering is about a Polynesian young heroine Moana (voiced by Hawaiian actress Auli’i Cravalho) who goes on an adventure on the high seas with a wisecracking demi-god named Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) to find ­— not a prince charming — but herself and her destiny.

“It’s really nice. Super funny, maiiyak ka din and there are lessons (to learn from it),” Janella said of Moana. “I think we can all relate to Moana. Because the lesson of the film basically is to follow your heart. Ang daming tao around us, who are telling us, this is who you should be… Everyone’s gonna give you a piece of their judgment. But what you’re going to become — it will depend on you. You’re gonna choose who you become really.”

For Janella, she now has a fairly good idea as to who she wants to be, or what she wants to become. She has already fully embraced the showbiz path even if initially, she didn’t imagine herself in it.

Said the daughter of singers Jenine Desiderio and Juan Miguel Salvador: “I’ve been singing since I was a kid. So sinasama ako ng mom ko everywhere, sa mga gigs niya although the truth is, I was a super shy kid. I never dreamt of going into showbiz because I was shy when it came to interacting with people and all.

“But sayang. If God gave you the instrument, you have to use it, right? I was able to realize it when I was a bit older already, that I should enjoy it (singing talent) and embrace it.”

As for acting, “I suddenly enjoyed it after Be Careful with My Heart,” referring to her first TV project, the hit daytime series which ran on ABS-CBN from 2012 to 2014. “(Now) I like singing, dancing, acting. I enjoy performing in general so hopefully, in a few years, andito pa rin ako sa business.”

Janella also hopes that in the future, she gets to do musicals just like her mom who once starred in the West End musical Miss Saigon as the female lead Kim when she was only 17 years old.

The young actress had an audition opportunity early this year for the Miss Saigon revival, but a taping schedule abroad prevented her from going. Nevertheless, after seeing the play on London’s West End, she vowed to herself that she’s going to try it one day. 

To observers, her showbiz lineage might have somehow paved the way for Janella. However, she’d also like to think that, “I worked hard on it. Never did I use my mother, like the only reason I’m here is because I’m the daughter of my mom. I think that’s the struggle of showbiz royalties, to prove that they’re apart from their mom and dad. So my feeling is that… I hope I make a name for myself.”

From the looks of it, Janella is well on her way, especially as she takes her mom’s advice to heart.

“Her constant advice to me is… being in this business — she always reminds me — you’re in a fishbowl. A lot of eyes are on you so you always have to be careful with what you do. In everything that you do, you should be able to inspire people, and that it should be for the good of everyone. That’s why you chose this career because you know everyone’s gonna be watching, so why not contribute a bit of goodness?”

 

JANELLA SALVADOR
Philstar
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