Gabrielle in dad Chadâs footsteps

Gabrielle, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter with a caressing voice, is surely an act to watch. Right: Dad Chad Borja. — Photo by WIZBREN ANG

Gabrielle in dad Chad’s footsteps

Yugel Losorata (The Philippine Star) - July 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - Listening to her recorded songs is like going through the tracks of a lady foreign singer. She sounds mature and classy. And the way she looks suggests she’s some mestiza probably just vacationing in Manila.

But wait, all of the above descriptions appear even more interesting considering she’s really no foreigner and that she hails from a city down South with a very distinct reputation nowadays: Davao.

Gabrielle, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter with a caressing voice, is surely an act to watch. She regularly plays around Davao which is now best known as a place nurtured by President Rody Duterte. Well, like the popular leader who sealed a landslide victory in last year’s elections, she’s also bringing her skill and talent to Metro Manila for the whole country to savor.

“I’m a proud Davaoeño who grew up listening to jazz and classical music as introduced to me by my dad,” expressed the promising, young performer whose father she’s referring to is actually balladeer Chad Borja.

One thing is for sure, she’d rather not be known primarily as the daughter of a famous singer. Besides, she has developed her own sound and songs. By far, she has written two laid-back tracks called A Song Inspired by You and Ain’t Bothering You. Powered by ukulele, an instrument she ably plays herself, the songs have almost nothing to suggest she’s just following the lead of her dad.

She continued, “It’s a bonus being the daughter of someone known as Chad Borja. But I want to be known for the things I do and for who I am.”

Gabrielle, born in the US and then raised in Mindanao, is soon coming out with her debut digital single Secret, written by established tunesmith Jimmy Borja. The track, according to her, is about voicing out being yourself while everybody’s trying to fit in.

On the covers trail, she does long-familiar melodies like Danielle (Elton John), If (Bread) and Do You Know Where You’re Going To (Diana Ross). By correlation, she specially immerses herself into the music of the late Michael Jackson just before the King of Pop passed away; among her first cover songs were Ben and Smile.

An 11th grade molded by progressive school and who started playing guitar just this year, Gabrielle related, “I want to give every song I cover my spin to it. I want to sound like me.”

Her art inclinations stretch way beyond singing as she also draws, paints, sketches and does calligraphy.

Asked to share more about her relationship with her father behind the now-classic Ikaw Lang, she said, “My dad really opened my mind to music. He’s the one who let me listen to MJ. And because of his varied influences, some people are surprised that I even like the distinctive voices of singers like Johnny Mathis.”

Oh, looks like we really have a pretty, old soul here ready to make a name for herself. For all that it means, it’s amusing she’s not even 17.

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