Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Jessica Sanchez shares spotlight with young Cebuana singers

Karla Rule - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — At the mention of Jessica Sanchez, memories of a teenager bravely taking on the “American Idol” stage, and the sound of her powerful voice comes to mind. But facing the Cebu media recently was a Jessica who has changed a lot since her competing days – and all for the better.

The 24-year-old singing sensation is even braver and bolder, but most importantly, eager to be back in Cebu. Jessica shared that she has prepared a lot for the second leg of “In the Spotlight: Jessica Sanchez,” happening tomorrow at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

“I feel like the last time was a little bit more kind of unplanned. But I got to see what it’s like here. I’m glad that happened because it made me come back,” the American singer-songwriter says in a press conference at The Pyramid. So much was her excitement that she arrived in the Queen City of the South two weeks before her show.

Jessica, who has been performing in Philippine television shows in the past month, revealed her plans of staying a bit longer in the country to explore more. Born in California to a Mexican-American father and a Filipina mother with roots in Bataan, you can expect the sort of support a Pinay excelling in the world stage would muster, and Jessica witnessed and received that love firsthand.

“My first time in the Philippines was after ‘Idol.’ I didn’t realize how much of a support system I got from here. I’m thinking of getting a condo and definitely show that love and support back. Because I do appreciate the love they give me – being here for my journey, from being a 16-year-old to how old I am now. It’s been years and I just want to show that love back.”

Jessica has a lot of things up her sleeve for “In the Spotlight,” such as ballads, dance performances, some throwback “American Idol” highlights and new songs for fans. She said that in essence, “In the Spotlight” is not just all about her. Young Cebuana singers Jolianne Salvado and Yessha dela Calzada will be opening for her, while “Idol Philippines” alumni Lance Busa and Lucas Garcia will be sharing the stage with her too.

“‘In the Spotlight’ is not just about me being in the spotlight. It’s about sharing the spotlight with other artists, with these young ladies. And with Lance and Lucas being runners-up, and me being a runner-up on ‘Idol’, we kind of share the same experience,” Jessica said of her first major concert in Cebu.

With Salvado and dela Calzada flanking Jessica throughout the press conference, she couldn’t help but also give them guidance, since she too started out as a young performer.

“I feel like here in the Philippines, it’s insane. There’s so much talent out here. There are kids at the age of seven just belting their lungs out, singing songs I can’t even sing. There’s a lot of potential and there’s a lot of talent,” said Jessica, glancing at the young singers beside her.

The belter, recalling how she was rejected from “The X Factor” before auditioning for “American Idol” where she finished second to grand winner Phillip Phillips in 2012, continued, “All I can say is keep pushing, keep staying motivated and dedicated to your dreams, no matter how many people tell you ‘no.’ I’ve been told ‘no’ many times before ‘Idol’. But keep pushing through, because you’ll never know when that door, that opportunity will come and be there for you.”

“I was like, ‘You know what? Whatever. I am worth it. I do deserve this. I am gonna go out there and try it’. And the rest was history. Literally. It’s insane how far I made it. I can never imagine that I made it that far. It’s all about God’s timing, staying humble, and working hard.”

Jessica also gave the girls a heads-up on what it’s like not only to be young, but to also be a woman in the industry.

“It’s so, so crazy. It can be so stressful. You feel like these expectations have to be met as a woman – dress a certain way, be a certain way, being a good role model. I guess it’s just like what I’ve been saying in the past: just learning to love yourself and being yourself. Love your body, love who you are and try to put that through your music, on stage. And encourage other people that aren’t in your shoes, show young girls that are insecure to be themselves and love themselves.”

“Keep growing. It’s okay to make mistakes,” she pointed out. “It’s okay when people say no. It’s okay to be rejected. There are always more opportunities in the future. Keep learning, keep growing. Keep being yourself, keep loving who you are. Stay humble and work hard.”

Despite sounding like a pro, Jessica admitted that many of these lessons still very much apply to her. As an introvert, she gets panic attacks backstage from time to time, and needs to be by herself at least 30 minutes before a show to get in the zone and overcome the weight of everyone’s attention.

“I am very ‘to myself.’ I’m a quiet person and so the adrenaline really gets to me. Back on ‘Idol’ I was a really quiet person,” she shared. “I still am very quiet. So getting into songwriting was kind of a challenge for me. But it was a really good experience.”

Even though she does have her moments of fear, Jessica said it’s all about finding the courage to not only rise above fear, but also gathering up the guts to be real. She was 16 years old when she rose to prominence through the American singing competition and has grown a lot since then. Until now, she is still in the process of growing.

“I do want to let everybody in. I want you guys into my life as much as I can. Be vulnerable, and share the stories that I’ve gone through. There are a lot of stories. I know I am a simple person, but I’ve learned that I am also very dramatic and passionate. I’m learning more things about myself. It’s like that for everybody. You kind of go through different challenges and find out new things.”

“I want to relay that to the people who listen to my music and tell them it’s okay not to be okay. You don’t have to be this perfect person. I’m really excited to share this new Jessica Sanchez with you all. It’s just me. Just Jess.”

From performing and having her voice heard, Jessica’s purpose has evolved into something more profound.

“At this point, I have goals. But I think that my vision and definition of success is to just touch one person with my music,” she said. “To at least be able to inspire one person. If I can do that then I’m happy. I love what I do – to help people with my voice, inspire young people to do what they want to do and live out their passions and dreams.”










  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with