Members of Molave 22 band. Jay Sy, Christian Lising, Merrick Sua, Sheila Ramos, Atticus King, Vince Fabella, Lisset and Mika Velasco and Martin Mañosa. Drummer Liam Ramos(far right).
How an odd mix of entrepreneurs ‘banded’ together
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2019 - 12:00am

A junior golfer, a car dealer, a hotel owner, college freshmen, a hardware supplier, a luggage distributor, a high school sophomore, an educator, and an odd mix of personalities whose day jobs belie the ties that bind them at night and on stage. These individuals form the band Molave 22. Recently, for over two hours, they owned the stage at Sheraton Macau, in front of an audience of 2,000 members of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), a global peer support group for entrepreneurs. EO members came to town to attend their annual Global Leadership Conference (GLC). 

The band had the audience at the first Jump (by Van Halen)!

Molave 22 band members are in themselves entrepreneurs and members of EO. Beyond business, they all share a love for music and a passion for perfecting a skill. Entrepreneurs, spouses and their children have been mainstays in the band and in its performances. Jamming with the three guitarists are two teens who can already hold their own on a big stage. While a mother sings, her son accompanies on the drums. And a powerful mother-daughter team on vocals takes family bonding to a different level. 

There is an innocence and eagerness when children perform. And it’s a true joy to watch them maneuver unfamiliar situations, wide-eyed and hungry.  They have been raised towards a culture of 10,000 hours of practice in their chosen skill. They come on stage knowing they have to deliver, without taking things for granted, and these Gen Z’ers seem to have no fear. Somehow, this experience that Molave 22 has given its younger members Liam Ramos, Mika Velasco, Christian Lising and Martin Mañosa is a blessing for them to think big, go out of their comfort zones and do the unexpected.

Liam may have developed grit through over a decade of golf but there is something to be said about walking 18 holes of greens in developing a rhythmic sense. Perhaps it’s all that introspection? He drives his golf club with precision, with two holes-in-one by age eight, while he drills his drumsticks with metronomic cadence to carry the band through pop or rock and roll. He is not your typical drummer, but he sure makes being an academic look cool.

Lead singer Mika has held that microphone since she was seven. Singing runs in her blood, inheriting her mother’s beauty and powerful voice. School has always been a venue for her to share her love for the arts — be it on the guitar or through dance — and hopefully that she will continue to have time for Molave 22 even as an Ateneo Management Engineer. Her sister Reese is her biggest fan, always front row and center when both mom and sister perform.

Mika and Lisset Velasco on vocals and lead guitarist Atticus King (center).

The prodigy on the guitar is Christian, who was invited at age 12 to perform with two professional bands. A high school sophomore with curly locks grown to his shoulders, this teen is every bit a rock star. He has more guitars than his years in age, and has learned stage-worthy tricks like playing with his teeth or with the guitar upside down behind his head. Clearly, he rules school band competitions, and most notably wins the Audience Choice award.

And, when it comes to a family of artists, Martin’s lineage is unbeatable. His grandfather is a National Artist for architecture and was likewise a member of a band of CEOs called “The Executives.” Martin is a self-taught musician on the bass and keyboards. He projects his role as bassist quite well, with his charm and calm demeanor, and is proud to carry on the family tradition of architecture, with music on the side, as a freshman at Benilde. 

Beyond being entrepreneurs by day, and music owls by night, Molave 22 comes together in nurturing talent, be it early and mid-life. Its adult band members Sheila Ramos, Merrick Sua, Atticus King, Vince Fabella, Mylene Lising, Jay Sy and Lisset Velasco have all found an avenue and an audience for their music. “In this day and age, we as parents try to find something to connect with our children and music has done that,” says Lisset.

“Nothing beats the high of doing something you love with people who share the passion, even if your core competence lies somewhere else,” jest Jay and Mylene. Molave 22’s performance at the EO GLC in Macau united members from Canada to Bangladesh. This audience of spirited and supportive entrepreneurs provided the perfect backdrop for the band’s first international gig.

One could feel the excitement in the ballroom as the audience was singing along and coming up to dance on stage. Atticus King summed it up quite well, “You could be generations apart, you could have grown up on different continents, and you might not even speak the same native language, but when your heads are bobbing to the same drum beat and you’re singing your songs together at the top of your lungs, you know you’ve found your tribe.”

(You may e-mail me at Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

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