Daniel Padilla grows up, musically and otherwise
Vanessa Balbuena (The Freeman) - October 11, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  One of our early encounters with Daniel Padilla didn’t leave us with a good impression of the young man.

Years ago he and screen tandem Kathryn Bernardo were in town to promote a movie. After waiting at least three hours or more for a scheduled interview with Cebu’s entertainment group, we were squeezed inside a van in a mall parking lot and given five minutes to chat up the pair. Kathryn was game to field questions. Daniel, beside her, was in sunglasses and inclined on his seat. Kathryn did her best to fill in for her partner who was obviously not in the mood to engage.

When asked about who’s pleasant and who’s not, we would often cite that brief meeting as a stark contrast to that of Daniel’s uncle, Robin Padilla, who would ignore a road manager pulling him away from interviewers because he wanted to talk more.

It is such a pleasure then these days to listen to Daniel, 25, now media-savvy, respectful, gracious, confident yet not cocksure, spewing out sense in media interviews, the most recent in a digital conference for his virtual concert, “Apollo: A Daniel Padilla Digital Experience.” The actor chalks up the maturity to “proper guidance of the people around me.”

Produced by ABS-CBN’s Star Events and Daniel’s own production house, Johnny Moonlight, “Apollo” is exclusively happening on ktx.ph tonight.

Tickets are sold for P499 via ktx.ph.

Joined by Jose Carlito led by band frontman and Daniel’s brother JC Padilla, it is Daniel’s first digital show featuring his musical journey from his first solo concert “Daniel: Live!” in 2013 to his last major gig “D4” in 2018.

Daniel prepared a repertoire of local and international hits from the ‘50s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, new wave, and alternative rock, plus songs with messages of hope for these uncertain times.

Excerpts from Daniel’s Zoom interview, edited for clarity and brevity:

What made you agree to hold a concert at this time?

The truth is, I really didn’t want to when it was offered. Parang tingin ko nauubusan na ako ng kakantahin, and I don’t have the energy now. Sa dami ng nangyayari, kaya ko pa ba mag-focus sa ganyan? Kinagabihan nag-iisip ako, bakit ayoko? Bakit iniisip ko ang sarili ko sa panahon ngayon? I realized that this is for the people who will be working for the concert. Alam niyo naman sa estado ng ABS-CBN, maraming nawalan.

What fascinates you about the moon that it became the digital concept for the concert and your production outfit is named Johnny Moonlight?

Bata pa lang ako fascinated na ako sa buwan, lalo na ngayon dahil kapag nagtatrabaho kami, tuwing gabi nalang kami nakakauwi. Tuwing gabi at kapag pauwi ako lagi kong tinitignan ang buwan. I think for me, I get energy from the moon. It’s hard to explain. When I see the moon, there’s always hope. May bukas pa ulit. It’s just really beautiful. The concept of the concert, parang rehearsal lang sa bahay, hindi engrande. Very laidback, relaxing set-up.

How was it preparing a concert under the new normal?

Very different, firstly, wala yung fans na tumatangkilik tuwing my concert tayo. Hindi naman talaga ako singer kaya kumukuha lang ako ng energy sa audience. Dati, lamang ang sigawan sa kantahan. It is weird, but it’s still positive. The point is, andiyan ka pa rin, kumakanta ka para sa kanila. And for me, okay na yun. Di bale na walang pumalakpak pagkatapos. Yung staff din, limited. This time, it’s more intimate. Mas nakikita mo pa yung pwede mong gawin, unlike before, kung anong nadun, yun na yun, because while I’m rehearsing, I also have tapings. Now, we have time na bantayan yung stage, yung bagsak ng musika, etc.

Artists you dream of inviting in future concerts?

Nag-guest na before sila Sir Arnel Pineda, Rico Blanco in my previous concerts, and my palms would not stop sweating. I would be really stars-truck. I don’t want to invite now kasi mahiyain talaga ako, at ayoko na sila idamay sa hassle ko.

Dream collaborations?

Moira dela Torre was a dream collaboration. To be able to jam with my brother, I may be biased, but I see him as the best musician now. It’s an honor to play with them and I learn a lot from them.

Is there a song that makes you cry?

“Smile” by Nat King Cole. It’s sentimental for me because it’s my grandmother’s song for me when I was a kid. Before I sleep, or whatever she’s doing, that’s what she sings. Lola’s boy ako eh.

Do you plan to compose songs?

I tried but it’s hard. It’s not for everyone. Napunta yung talent na yan sa kapatid ko, kay Carlito.  I’m more of making the melody, mas doon ako naglalaro. Well, I’ll try again. Maybe I need to experience more pain to write a song.

Do you agree with Noel Gallagher’s statement that the popular music now is style over substance?

May tama rin siya dahil may mga kanta tayo ngayon na, ‘What?!’ Iba kasi ang hinahanap ko sa music. Naghahanap ako ng may puso at tinatamaan ako emotionally. But you also can’t blame others, yung ayaw ko, baka ang lakas ng tama sa iba. We just have to respect those who are making real music now. Of course there are artists who may not be singers but sometimes they are given songs that they can’t refuse. Kahit hindi mo ano yung kanta, you have to do it. People should be open-minded to such things. You can’t just bash when you think the song is trash. I used to be such a basher. But I since learned na iba lang din yung trip nila, iba yung trip ko. So huwag tayo magbangayan.

What is your current fight song?

“One” by U2. If you listen to the song, sakto siya sa nangyayari ngayon. We have to be one. The problem now, we are so divided in our opinions na hindi na natin nakikita kung ano ba talaga ang dapat bigyan pansin. That goes out not only for the Philippines but for the whole world. We are working against nature. Why not work in one with nature? I look up to Bono and his advocacies. We should use our fame to inspire people. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to do the same.

Despite many concerts under your name, why do you still hesitate labelling yourself a singer?

I consider myself a performer or an artist. Iba ang training and dedication ng isang singer. When you’re in ‘ASAP’ at nakita mo anong tinatrabaho ng mga singer, mahihiya ka. But yes, I have more confidence now because I know myself better in terms of music – ano yung dapat kinakanta ko, ano yung para sa akin. So I’m more comfortable now when singing. But the nervousness is still there.

Do you and Kathryn share the same taste in music?

I’m into rock and roll and Kathryn is more into ballads. Bata pa lang, fan na ako ni Sinatra. When I introduced her to the songs of Sinatra, Nat King Cole, doon na kami nagkapareho ng taste. Mas gusto ko yung luma, mas iba ang puso na binibigay nila. May poetry, binigyan talaga ng oras, at iba rin yung recording dati.

Any discoveries about Kathryn during the past months?

Napansin ko na ramdam na ramdam na namin yung adulting stage, lalo na nung lockdown. Lahat na bayarin, ngayon sa amin na pinapahawak at pinaaasikaso. Doon ko nakikita kay Kathryn na handa na siya…handa na siya maging asawa ko. Beach wedding, sana before 30 years old. Ayoko rin masyado patagalin.

While other talents asked permission from ABS-CBN bosses to work somewhere else, is it true you and Kath approached them to ask what you can do to help?

Yes that’s true. First, we have a huge debt of gratitude to ABS-CBN. I’m not just saying that. Malaki talaga. Nagbago ang buhay ko, nakakatulog ng maigi ang pamilya ko dahil sa mga proyekto na binigay ng ABS-CBN. Syempre trinabaho ko rin. So it’s a give and take. I can wait hanggang makabangon ang ABS-CBN. Kaya ko maghintay. It’s the least we can do. At naniniwala ako na makakabangon.

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