Yes, they are here!

The Philippine Star
Yes, they are here!
Christian (right) duets with Delon, 2005 Indonesian Idol grand champion, on the inspirational song We Are Here

I am here for you/We are all in this together/Through broken roads/We will make this journey better/Let this song soothe your soul/Let it be a reminder/We are here/We are here/For each other


Flashback: Sixteen years ago, Christian Bautista managed to break into Indonesia’s music scene with his hit single The Way You Look at Me. It was an instant hit that made Christian an overnight star in that part of the world. The STAR witnessed how Indonesian fans cheered Christian during a promo tour in Jakarta including guesting in a radio program. It didn’t take long before Christian began appearing in shows around Asia and collaborating with artists from the region.


Christian has just done We Are Here (see excerpt at the start of this story) in collaboration with Indonesian Idol grand champion (simply known as) Delon. Christian’s previous collaboration in Indonesia was a rendition of Jose Mari Chan’s Please Be Careful with My Heart with singer Bunga Citra Lestari, which they performed in several TV shows and concerts.

Other international collaborations: Christian with American Idol alum Jessica Sanchez, Korean group One Way, Malaysian artist Noryn Azis, Singaporean singer Kewei Tay and Japanese artist Baby M.

Christian has also performed on stage with the likes of Josh Groban and Boyzone, and starred in the 2011 Singaporean TV musical The Kitchen Musical alongside Karylle and other Asian co-stars.

Delon won Season 1 of Indonesian Idol in 2005 (about the time Christian had his “debut” on that city’s music scene where Delon has since been active as well as acting in television and film). Like Christian, Delon has also celebrated multiple achievements and collaborations across Southeast Asia.

Released by Universal Records Philippines last Friday (July 3), We Are Here was written by Christian whose latest single, Bukas Wala Nang Ulan (with Janine Teñoso), is still streaming on all platforms worldwide.

How did this collaboration come about? Did you have prior interactions with each other in Indonesia after your duet on Indonesian Idol?

Delon: This idea came from Christian. We did a duet at an Indonesian Idol event in 2005. We met again at the backstage of Ronan Keating Concert in Jakarta last March. We got each other’s phone number.

Christian: This collaboration happened when I was in Jakarta for the concert of Ronan Keating and Bunga Citra Lestari, the Indonesian singer who I had the pleasure of having a duet on Please Be Careful with My Heart in Indonesian. I met Delon during one of the shows in Jakarta, and we decided to maybe try to work together someday. When the pandemic happened, we remembered that we wanted to work together and we decided to collaborate. So I wrote a song, music and lyrics, and passed it to him. His label passed it back to my label and we agreed to do it. So here we are now.

How was the collaborative process, given the current pandemic, and you were located in different countries?

Delon: Due to the constraints of the COVID-19 outbreak, Christian and I recorded our voices in our respective countries. I recorded mine in NAGASWARA (Indonesia), and Christian in the Philippines. I hope that through this song, Christian and I can inspire many people to remain patient in facing a pandemic that has taken many human lives.

Christian: The collaborative process given the current situation and being located in different countries was all digital. Of course, by messaging digitally, recording digitally at home or, when possible, going to a record label digitally and sending it to the producers, to the mixers and engineers, it has been a challenging learning experience.

What’s the inspiration behind the song? Are you hoping to write more songs?

Christian: The inspiration is definitely for us to be hopeful, to be strong even if we’re experiencing this pandemic, to come together, to tell each other that we are here for each other. And, yes, I’m really hoping to come out with more songs. That is one of my goals.

Christian and Delon fi rst did a duet in 2005 during an Indonesian Idol event. They met again last March during Ronan Keating’s concert in Jakarta and that’s where they agreed to record a song together. ‘Indonesia has always been in my heart,’ says Christian. ‘It has never left.’

How does it feel going back to the international scene; what makes Indonesia special to you (that you even spent your honeymoon in Bali)?

Christian: Indonesia has always been with me. It has never left. Before the lockdown, I was there almost every quarter and I’m so appreciative that Indonesia has welcomed me into their culture starting from The Way You Look at Me, followed by Hands to Heaven, Since I Found You, For Everything I Am, Tetaplah Di Hatiku (or Please Be Careful With My Heart) and Simfoni Luar Biasa. The movie that I did there has always been a big part of me and I’m happy to release a single there.

How was it working with Christian, with you guys sharing a similar background in your home turf?

Delon: I’m very happy to work with Christian. He is very smart, creative and professional. He also has a very helpful team. We continue to communicate through video call or chat apps with the entire Indonesian and Philippine teams.

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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