38 years of Vehnee Saturno

Vehnee is not an ordinary songwriter but the kind most prized by the music industry. He is a hitmaker.

38 years of Vehnee Saturno

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2018 - 12:00am

I have been asked before: What do I think of Vehnee Saturno? If I were to be asked that question now, I have this ready answer. I would say, I hear Ed Sheeran’s Perfect and I think, Vehnee could have done this. That is true. 

Nobody else has shown as confident a way around hit songs as this guy has, these past, would you believe, 38 years. And all it took for him to get there were some music lessons growing up and later a pop arranging class with Ryan Cayabyab.   

The only explanation I can think of regarding Vehnee’s success is that he was born a songwriter. His family was not at all supportive and did not think he would be able to earn his keep writing songs. And he is not an ordinary songwriter but the kind most prized by the music industry. He is a hitmaker. 

Vehnee can take a few notes, throw in some words, arrange the accompaniment and then give it to some unknown singer to sing. Almost always, a moment later, he has created a hit and in some cases, along with it, a star. 

Martin Nievera knows what I am talking about. Martin went through this process himself. That was back in 1983. He was the new kid at Vicor Music, very talented and raring to get to the top. Vicor head honcho Vic del Rosario heard one of Vehnee’s compositions and he knew it was the right song for Martin. He got the two young talents together in the studio and the result was pure magic. The song was Be My Lady and soon Martin was on his way to stardom. So was Vehnee.

From that time on, it did look like Vehnee was indeed born with an excess of hitmaking fairy dust that wonderfully infected others. After Martin, Vehnee also provided original works that became career-making hits for Donna Cruz, Only Me And You; Jessa Zaragoza, Bakit Pa?; Jaya, Dahil Tanging Ikaw; Louie Heredia, Nag-iisang Ikaw.

He also helped launch Randy Santiago, Para Sa ‘Yo; Rachelle Alejandro, Mr. Kupido; Ariel Rivera, Sana Kahit Minsan; Sarah Geronimo, Forever’s Not Enough; Ella Mae Saison, Till My Heartaches End; Jay-R, Bakit Pa Ba?; Darren Espanto, In Love Ako Sa ‘yo; Jude Michael, Mula Sa Puso, and many more. 

 Vehnee also became very active as a record producer working with big name stars in the country, almost all of whom have recorded his songs. He has at one time or another coached the likes of Nora Aunor, Basil Valdez, Sharon Cuneta, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Lani Misalucha, Willie Revillame and many more through a recording of his songs.

Vehnee was the man behind Regine Velasquez’s very first movie theme song, Isang Lahi for the award-winning Gabi Na Kumander. Ivy Violan, Kung Akin Ka Lang and Rachelle Ann Go, I Can, were among those who won prizes in competition with Vehnee songs.

No surprise then that the former Xerox machine operator was soon building his own recording studio, which also serves him well for motion picture scores and commercial jingles. He also became in great demand as a talent scout or judge in the talent search circuit around the world.

The latter brought about the Vehnee Saturno Music Training Center, where aspiring performers come to hone their talents and receive advice from experts. Hopefully, they might get a crack at singing a Vehnee song and a talent showcase abroad.  

One of Vehnee’s trainees is Esang de Torres. A finalist in The Voice Kids, Esang is now making a name for herself in the theater.  She played the girl Cosette in the Manila and Singapore company of the musical Les Miserables. She recently played the title role in the Atlantis production of Matilda. A song that Vehnee composed and that she recorded, Awit Sa Marawi, has become the official theme song of the Task Force Bangon Marawi charged with rebuilding the recently liberated Jolo city.

Take note, too, of the name Beverly Caimen. Vehnee not only produced her first album, he also introduced her to Avex, a Japanese recording company known for exciting sounds and artists. Beverly is doing very well with songs in the charts and the prospect of big time stardom.

Expect more names to be added to Vehnee’s list. Also more titles to his hundreds of compositions. He is happy that he has reached his 38th year and excited about more anniversaries to come.

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