Raphiel Shannon; YouTube sensation is living the dream

Raphiel Shannon; YouTube sensation is living the dream

Karla Rule (The Freeman) - June 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines - Unlike most 17-year-olds, Raphiel Shannon isn’t racing her way to growing up.

But that doesn’t mean she’s willing to chew on anyone’s dust.

Signing with Viva Entertainment Inc. early this year, the Cebuana has dreams bigger than herself. Now that she’s a star in the Viva South multiverse, Raphiel is determined to shine in her own light.

Under the leadership of Verb del Rosario, Viva is picking talent like cherries around Visayas and Mindanao in the hopes of creating an entertainment hub in the region.

Raphiel first gained popularity in 2015. Quiet and unassuming, the young lady enamored viewers with covers of popular songs. Soon enough, she was an internet sensation. Who would have thought that a simple YouTube account with no more than 10 subscribers would amount to the flourishing performer that she is today.

“It’s fulfilling for me, and the support is also overwhelming,” Raphiel begins, her hesitation apparent as she anxiously answers the questions one after the other. “I’m filled with pressure to be honest, because I have to study and then I have to work but it’s great to know that I am being appreciated despite doing covers.”

Now that school’s begun, Raphiel isn’t worried and is certain that she can manage juggling her time between school and her career. Admittedly, Raphiel says that it feels nice to be able to experience the grind of both studies and work.

“The plan is to focus on my career, to focus on my Viva family but I think I can manage doing both [school and music],” Raphiel reveals, and says that for now fans can look forward to more covers and performances from her. Lucky enough, her parents are nothing short of supportive.

It would be safe to say that Raphiel is a homebody. She plays videogames and spends most of her time at home practicing her singing, and playing instruments. But despite being neck-deep in music, Raphiel never thought she’d be a performer.

“I never planned on making a career out of music, I just knew that I could sing and that it was my hobby,” she says.

Indeed, Raphiel is a neophyte in the vast world of the entertainment industry. The word “artist” is new to her, rolling off her tongue with uncertainty. She admits that she doesn’t have the currency to write her own music. At least not yet, as she finds it awkward. But all in good time.

However, despite the looming competition, Raphiel takes comfort in the people who support her.

“My worst fear is losing my family, I mean who doesn’t?” she says when talk came to fear and insecurities.

“But I’d hate to die with regrets, to die without making something out of myself and to be forgotten. My family is so supportive and they inspire me. The people who support me inspire me the most,” shares Raphiel, admitting how her mother is one of her personal heroes.

Early on in her career, Raphiel already has her own fans (a few of whom rushed to the airport to look for a ukulele that Raphiel lost on the way home)—and their support means a lot to her, even more so the support she gets from Viva to which she is grateful for.

“As an artist, I want to be known as someone who was true. I want to be known as a girl who expressed herself through music and who was able to inspire and make others happy,” Raphiel quips, saying that she loves the feeling of knowing that she has made people happy with her work.

Raphiel says that in the future, she sees herself as a person who has gone through a lot of good and bad things. She likes to think that she is proud of herself, and that her family is too. Raphiel wants to provide for her family someday, but for now, she is set on living in the moment.

“I’m enjoying everything that is happening now, because we’ll never know the future. My policy is to do what is now and what is present. To learn from it and be productive so I can be successful in the future,” Raphiel explains.

Right now, all she knows is that she loves to perform and express her true unadulterated self through music and is thankful for the support of her fans, and the guidance of Viva who helped her see the bigger picture and focus on what’s positive and important.

Naming international acts like Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, and Adele as her musical heroes, Raphiel describes her music as chill—RnB, and maybe a little bossa sounding like that of Sitti Navarro. She looks up to fellow Viva artists, Juanita Romualdez of Cebu, and the band The Juans.

Despite being a young millennial in a slowly converging world, Raphiel still has hopes for Bisaya artistry.

“My dream is for Bisaya music and OPM to be embraced by more Filipinos. I also want foreigners to appreciate our culture so they can use it and learn from its uniqueness,” she says.

Viva being multi-faceted and creating content of all sorts from music to film to literature, Raphiel says she would like to set her efforts in music for now but is not opposed to doing more.

“My dream project would be to collaborate with more local artists, because it helps all of us to grow as musicians,” Raphiel shares, saying that it would help to be more exposed to all sorts of people, experiences, and ideas.

“I don’t see myself as an actress but if the opportunity came, I wouldn’t say no. I’d accept the challenge presented by what’s new because, you’ll never know,” she shrugs.

Raphiel is young, and she has her whole life ahead of her. The entertainment industry, although adventurous and exciting, can get pretty difficult at times. There is a whole world of competition out there, and Raphiel has a lot of catching up to do.

“My mom always said to keep on doing what you love and eventually, people are going to find you, look for you, ask for you, and appreciate you,” says Raphiel, echoing her mother’s words with fervor. “And that’s exactly what I did, and here I am now. I never knew I’d be here.”

Verb, Vice President for Viva South operations, says that artists need not do anything flamboyant to get noticed. So long as you have the talent and passion for the industry, then you’re good to go.

“We’re not limited to a specific sound. As long as they play good music and are passionate about their craft then we’ll do our best to make them flourish. Rough demos and videos are welcome, better yet—come by our office!” the fifth generation del Rosario, grandson of Viva’s Boss Vic del Rosario, says.

True enough, Raphiel is among those who dared and simply showed their talent. The singer has a few words for kids like her who feel like their dreams are too big. She says that it’s okay to not be okay, to start from scratch because that’s a platform to do greater things.

“Just do it. Nothing is ever going to happen if you hesitate too much. Don’t think about what other people might say or how they react. If you feel like it’s something that makes you happy, and allows you to grow—then do it.” (FREEMAN)

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