New from James Wright & others

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

The half-Australian and half-Filipino balladeer James Wright loves Filipino songs. In fact, his early recordings like Sana’y Ikaw and Kung Hindi Ikaw have won praise because of his expressive delivery. The songs have even garnered nominations at the Awit Awards and at the Star Awards for Music. And these happened although the very attractive singer and model did not know what he was singing about most of the time. Now, James still has to master the Tagalog language but it will surely happen soon as he is working very hard to learn it.

Despite that though, Sana’y Ikaw, a composition by hitmaker Vehnee Saturno, was tapped to be the theme of the teleserye Carmela that starred Marian Rivera and Alden Richards. Public reaction to the song was very positive and this led to James being asked to sing other teleserye themes. Kung Hindi Ikaw was in turn used in My Destiny that starred Tom Rodriguez and Carla Abellana.

Next came the really big one. This was Iniibig Kita from the new edition of the Mexican TV series Marimar, which also starred Marian. It was an important break for the young man who was discovered in the reality talent contest for parents and children Anak Ko ‘Yan, that he joined with his cancer survivor mom.

Although James early on liked singing jazz and R&B, he has grown to love Filipino love songs and is glad that he gets to do a lot of them for GMA 7. His latest is no less emotion-filled but it was easier to record than the others. This one is in English and is coincidentally titled My Destiny. It is the local version of the theme from the Korean teleserye My Love From The Star with lyrics by Kedy Sanchez based on the original words by Jean Chang Yeop and melody by Jin Myoung Yong. The series is a hit and James’ voice is heard every day singing My Destiny.

My Destiny is part of James’ new album release titled Just Wright, which has an all-Filipino line-up. It also includes Mahal Na Nga Kita by Vehnee Saturno; Please Come Back by Edmund Perlas; Open Up by Edmund Perlas, Jason Aguha and Van Geronilla; Ibig Bang Sabihin by Dodgie Simon; and Lahat Ng Aking Pag-ibig also by Saturno.

Speaking of new releases, here are some that I am sure music lovers will really enjoy. 

Well, here is great news. Umaaraw, Umuulan marks the return to the music scene of the badly missed Zia Quizon. Remember her? Dolphy and Zsa Zsa Padilla’s talented daughter, who was soaring to the top when she decided to take a career break. It seems like she is back and with a very special recording of a song that she composed and produced with Robin Nievera. You all know him, too. He is the son of Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez. There is incredible music pedigree in this song. Umaaraw, Umuulan is the theme of the movie forthcoming movie Luck At First Sight, which stars Bela Padilla and Jericho Rosales.

Pinoy rock icon Cooky Chua also has something new. It is a song for the broken-hearted. The former Color It Red vocalist sings Daraan Lamang, a soulful ballad about a perfect love that turned out to be not so perfect after all. It was based on a poem written by Tina Balajadia with a melody composed by Agat. This one will surely surprise Cooky fans from the old days but not her faithful followers who surely know that she has added jazz and soul to her usual rock repertoire. Those are what she sings for those days when she goes solo. When together with friends Lolita Carbon and Bayang Barrios as the Tres Marias, it is Filipino folk rock all the way.

From the band scene: Northdrive, a fast-rising band from the province of Tarlac has a new single out. This is the soft-rock ballad titled Pangako that debuted on No. 8 in iTunes Top 200 Tracks of the Philippines Alternative Chart. The song will be part of the group’s debut album, which is set for release this year. Northdrive is led by chef and musician Ponky Lao on guitars. Also in the band are Allan Puno on bass, Leo Manalo on guitars and Jun Salonga on drums.

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