Julie Anne ‘bares heart and soul’ in music trilogy Limitless

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Julie Anne âbares heart and soulâ in music trilogy Limitless
Julie Anne San Jose showcases her music as she takes on a one-of-a-kind journey in Limitless, A Musical Trilogy, produced by GMA Synergy. Part 1 premieres tomorrow, Sept. 17, and features Mindanao, where the Kapuso artist meets locals and learns about their culture.
STAR / File

Julie Anne San Jose couldn’t help but turn emotional when she was filming Limitless, A Musical Trilogy, the first part of which premieres tomorrow, Sept. 17.

For the first time in her showbiz career, she allowed herself to be vulnerable and was willing for people to see it. “I’m not really the kind of person who shares emotions and feelings, but it’s the first time for me to be vulnerable and open,” the 27-year-old Kapuso artist told The STAR.

“Usually, whenever I’m being interviewed or talking to someone, I’m always smiling, laughing (that you wouldn’t know I could be) hurting inside, stuff like that. So, this is the first-time ever for me to be this open in a project and I could say that it’s very personal to me.”

She recalled being brought to tears while visiting one of the “unexpected” Mindanao locations in Limitless. “I was in this whole different place, this one spot that had such a breathtaking view. Nakaka-overwhelm yung feeling na first time mo sa isang lugar and dun mo lang na-experience, wow ang ganda-ganda ng Pilipinas, ang galing-galing ni Lord!”

Limitless is a first-of-its-kind concert produced by GMA Synergy, which was also behind the “country’s first virtual reality concert,” Alden’s Reality, headlined by Alden Richards last December 2020.

“Last year, we started conceiving this idea of a show for Julie. Times were and are still uncertain, we were not sure yet of how to go about it and what it should be. There are existing genres and formats but we felt none of these truly captures the essence of what we wanted to achieve,” said GMA Regional TV and Synergy first VP and head Oliver Amoroso.

The success of the first GMA Synergy project, Alden’s Reality, which became a finalist at the New York Festivals Awards, emboldened them to proceed with Limitless, Oliver said.

“To be honest, it brought a new level of pressure for us,” he said, adding how they nevertheless felt it was a bold move worth taking. “Of course, the real gem here is Julie Anne. She really is a talented artist — she’s a singer, dancer, actress, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter… and she was very hands-on.”

“I can say she really bared her heart and soul in this project,” said Oliver. “Limitless will be a revelation because we really made this music trilogy for her.”

The title came about as they tried to encapsulate how Julie is as an artist.

Director Paolo Valenciano said, “We were really thinking about what would be the perfect description for Julie. I’ve worked with a lot of artists in the industry, and my standard has always been Gary V, that he should be a goal, that’s why I give these artists a hard time when I conceptualize things for them,” referring to his father, OPM icon Gary Valenciano.

“I’ve been working with Julie for two years now and when I really researched her history, I was just like wow, this girl can actually do more than my dad! That’s what I thought, she really has no limitations, she can do anything,” he added.

Oliver, on the other hand, disclosed that Limitless has an Eat, Pray, Love feel to it as they hope it brings the audience on a soulful journey, just as it did for Julie. The “journey” begins in Mindanao and on to Visayas and Luzon, with instalments titled as Breathe (Sept. 17), Heal (Nov. 20) and Rise (Feb. 19, 2022).

He further told The STAR that it will reflect “what we are undergoing now as Filipinos… highlighting love for self, family and our country.”

Its relevance in the context of everything that’s been happening was very important, direk Paolo said.

“There was a discussion that maybe we should think outside the box, think of something else instead of a regular concert. One thing that a lot of us in the industry are struggling with right now is the fact that when we do these shows, when these singers perform, they’re singing to a camera, their laptops and their phones, and it’s nice. A lot of these online concerts, I’ve done a lot of them, are great and effective, but we wanted something that could have a real connection with people.”

Direk Paolo added, “When you miss seeing faces, hearing voices, I feel like that’s something that people need more than ever right now, we’re not allowed to do it, we’re not allowed to hold hands, we’re not allowed to hang out with our families or friends. And we felt, in terms of the relevance of this with what’s going on right now, we just wanted to create something that would speak to everyone, whether you are a Julie Anne fan or not.”

He noted one scene in the musical trilogy where a crowd of around 10 people from an indigenous people’s community in Mindanao erupted in cheers upon seeing special guest Christian Bautista. “It was something we haven’t heard in over a year, and part of the magic of a concert is hearing everyone aligned and just having that same energy and we wanted to sort of capture that, even if they were just 10 people. We felt that it could inspire our audience,” he said.

“We don’t want to focus on the pandemic, the sadness everyone is experiencing now, but we felt it’s very important we not lose that human connection. That’s the backbone of the intent of this project.”

As for Julie, it’s also very much aligned with what she wants to happen in her career at this time. “I feel I already found my purpose in life. It is to inspire more people and share my experiences through my craft and through my music. It feels fulfilling to see people enjoying or appreciating your work.”

She continued, “(Limitless) is something personal to me. I want to make myself relatable to people who are going through a pandemic. Each one of us have different experiences during this pandemic. We have our fair share of struggles. So, through this project, you’ll see the struggles I’ve been through, how I deal with this and that.

“I also want to showcase my music. It’s really about reconnecting with people, which is one of the things I missed doing. And it felt different when we traveled and we traveled far. It’s such a real experience, it’s not like any other… I can keep talking about it but I can’t spoil anything, you really have to watch it.”

In the Sept. 17 leg, Julie is joined by The Clash alumnus Jong Madaliday, who is from Mindanao himself. She’s also working with Huling El Bimbo and Rak of Aegis musical director Myke Salomon, with JC Gellidon as director of photography.

Purchase tickets via www.GMANetwork.com/synergy. Buyers can buy one ticket for each leg or avail of the ticket bundle. Tickets are priced at P599 (General Admission); P1,499 (Synergy Pass GA); P1,199 (VIP); and P3,299 (Synergy Pass VIP). A special merchandise awaits ticket buyers who will purchase the VIP and Synergy Pass VIP.


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