Odetteâs music is timeless
Odette Quesada and her husband, singer-songwriter Bodjie Dasig

Odette’s music is timeless

ORA MISMO - Leah Salterio (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - She was in high school when she realized she wanted to become a songwriter. It didn’t take long before the beautiful words and melodies she started stringing together were heard on the airlanes, sung and recorded by top local artists. From Give Me a Chance, her winning piece in the fifth Metropop Music Festival interpreted by the late Ric Segreto, Odette Quesada penned one hit song after another.

Today, 35 years later, the music of Odette remains timeless. Perhaps, prolific will even be an understatement for her. Her music has been immortalized by many artists —  from Kuh Ledesma and Sharon Cuneta to Gary Valenciano, Raymond Lauchengco and Ric Segreto.

“I think my first memory of writing songs was in second or third grade,” recalls Odette, who was only 17 when she scored her first hit, Give Me a Chance. “Although I was not aware that not everybody my age could do it. I was in high school (at Philippine Women’s University) when I realized I wanted to become a songwriter.”

Among the many artists she wrote songs for, Odette particularly singled out pop diva Kuh, for whom she wrote the stirring ballad, A Long, Long Time Ago. “She was my only choice to sing that song, as much as Don’t Know What To Do was for Ric Segreto,” Odette discloses.

“I do have favorites among the songs I’ve written,” Odette maintains. “Several, in fact. But the songs are not the obvious ones that people will easily remember.”

Odette moved out of the country in 2001 and settled in Los Angeles with her husband, singer-songwriter Bodjie Dasig, and their son, Darian. “We just wanted to get away for a bit and give our son some reprieve from the smog and pollution in Metro Manila,” Odette reasons. “He was always getting sick and even had to use a nebulizer constantly to decongest. We noticed that when we were out of the country, he would always start breathing better.”

Darian, who will turn 22 in March, is undoubtedly a looker. Born in the Philippines, he did not take after Odette or Bodjie as far as musicality is concerned, but he is an artist and a writer.

“He spent three years taking up bio-chemistry in college,” Odette shares. “But he recently shifted to screenwriting, so go figure.”

22-year-old Darian, son of Odette and Bodjie

Last December, Odette was in Manila when she was given a tribute on the ABS-CBN Sunday noontime show, ASAP. On the piano, she beautifully rendered her songs with artists led by Kuh, Martin Nievera, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Rachel Alejandro, Dingdong Avanzado, Aiza Seguerra, Richard Yap, Kyla and the love team of James Reid and Nadine Lustre.

“ASAP was a side trip,” Odette shares. “They have been asking me to guest since September (last year), but I could not find time to do it. I really came home to take care of some unresolved paper work for my late husband.”

She also graced a luncheon get-together given by her high school classmates from the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) at Bistro Manuel, the restaurant owned by couple Chef Ariel and wife Mia Ayuyao-Manuel in Poblacion, Makati.

Although Odette returned to the US for the Christmas holidays, she announces there is “a concert brewing sometime in May,” to celebrate her 35th year as a professional songwriter. Hence, she is expected to be in Manila again by that time.

Odette still dabbles in writing songs even if she’s away from the local music scene. “It’s flattering to know that I’ve been missed,” she says. “When I wrote those songs as a teenager, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that they will still be around, 35 years later.”

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