Troy Laureta shows Filipino music fans who he really is

Leah Salterio - The Philippine Star
Troy Laureta shows Filipino music fans who he really is
In East Meets West concert at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Fil-Am musical director and performer Troy Laureta works with both local talents (Ogie Alcasid, Jed Madela, Jona and Regine Velasquez-Alcasid with the special participation of Adah and Tanya Manalang) and international artists (Loren Allred, Matt Bloyd as well as his sister Cheesa).
STAR / File

Filipino-American musical director, songwriter and performer Troy Laureta has worked with the likes of international artists David Foster, Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli, Steven Tyler, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Rita Ora and Nicole Scherzinger, to name a few.

For a decade, Troy has made his mark initially in the international scene. It has taken him quite a while to make a name for himself in the local music arena. But when he did, Troy certainly impressed not just his fellow artists. Even the local audience, as well.

“I’m Troy Laureta,” he humbly introduced himself to his audience at the start of East Meets West concert at the Newport Performing Arts Theater of Newport World Resorts.

Starting from the international stage, where he worked as musical director for a number of big-named artists, Troy performed in a major concert for the first time on the local stage and displayed the talents he has been blessed with.

As familiar strains of Kapantay ay Langit played on the background, Troy lost no time in playing the keyboards with admirable high energy. In a fire-truck red cape that made him stand out onstage with his five-member band, he excitedly urged the crowd, “Make some noise, Manila.”

Regine Velasquez and Jed Madela readily emerged onstage and did a duet of Magkasuyo Buong Gabi, a much-covered Original Pilipino Music (OPM) tune, originally recorded by Rico J. Puno and Elisa Chan. Regine also did her reimagined version with Janno Gibbs.

Last year, Troy played the keyboards when American Idol second season champion Ruben Studdard recorded the OPM hit with Canadian singer-songwriter Deborah Cox.

In the East Meets West concert, Troy worked not just with local talents but international artists, as well. He showed Filipino fans how he wowed foreign audiences in the past that made him a name to reckon with in the music scene.

“This is a surreal, dream-come-true for me,” Troy earlier said of his first live performance in Manila. He previously merely mentored Star Magic artists.

Making local artists share the stage with international performers was a brilliant take for the rare concert. The audience had the chance to enjoy the performances of the artists.

Jona ignited the stage and sang Bang Bang. Then, she returned to render Troy’s haunting composition, Someone To Love Me.

Jed, meanwhile, had his spot numbers — You Are My Song and Earth, Wind and Fire’s After the Love Has Gone — where he admitted he felt the jitters onstage. “It’s a little intimidating to be in front of you tonight,” Jed said. “You must understand, we didn’t perform onstage live before an audience for a long time.”

Loren Allred, the voice of Never Enough in The Greatest Showman, delivered a heart-rending take of Ryan Cayabyab’s Araw Gabi, that made the audience applaud and others even gave her a standing ovation.

Similarly, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Matt Bloyd crooned his version of JR’s Bakit Pa Ba, the first Tagalog song he learned that certainly delighted the crowd. Surely, even JR would be definitely proud.

Miss Saigon artist Tanya Manalang (who played Kim in the UK) joined Troy and dished out I Wanna Dance With Somebody, as well as her version of Martin Nievera’s popular ballad, Kahit Isang Saglit.

Troy’s younger sister, Cheesa, shared the limelight that night with him. They rendered Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Proud mom, who flew in from the US West Coast, was in the audience that night.

“Our dad wanted us to become a nurse or a doctor,” shared Troy. “But we left (Oahu) Hawaii where we were born, went to LA (Los Angeles) and both pursued music.”

Apparently, the siblings never looked back since then. Cheesa, who made it to The Voice US quarter-finals in 2012, impressed the audience with her stratospheric range as she belted out Chaka Khan’s Through the Fire and Jessa Zaragoza’s Bakit Pa.

At one point in the concert, Troy paid homage to David Foster, whom he worked with for a decade touring the international scene. With Adah Leosala, she belted out Whitney Houston’s biggest hits, I Have Nothing and I Will Always Love You, both written by Foster.

Guest Ogie Alcasid emerged onstage and amused the audience when he hardly sang Nandito Ako, because the crowd sang it for him.

Ogie proudly crooned Huwag Mo Kong Iwanan, his first collaboration with Troy. Admittedly, Ogie didn’t like the song he wrote. Yet, he got the biggest surprise when Troy returned the melody to him and he heard it.

Troy served as the musical director for the show, with Paolo Valenciano at the helm of the two-night concert. The five-member band onstage included veteran musician Adonis Tabanda.

To close the concert, Troy proudly called onstage Regine anew, who sang Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw and ended with Pangako. “She inspires singers and musicians from all around the world, including me,” Troy said of Regine.

“The way this woman tells a story, from the smallest whispers to her biggest belts, she has wrecked my soul, lifted my spirits and wrecked it all over again with her soulfulness, her spirit and her gift. Sharing the stage with Regine is like full circle to me. I only sang her songs inside my room before.”

Troy’s two-night Manila concert allowed Filipino fans to embrace his music. He generously performed for them. His talent should not go unnoticed locally.

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