Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Sheena Belarmino shines as a New Gen Diva

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  “I miss going home, going to the province,” began New Gen Diva Sheena Belarmino, who has not been home since the start of the pandemic in the Philippines. “I miss my family. Everything in Cebu, I miss.”

In an interview with The FREEMAN Conversations – this publication’s flagship digital show – Sheena was thrilled to share her recent career break as member of ASAP Natin ‘To’s New Gen Divas. Formerly a vocal trio with two separate versions, the New Gen Divas is now made up of Sheena, her fellow Bisdak Janine Berdin, Elha Nympha, and Zephanie.

“It started when I got to perform in ASAP again on stage mismo, not virtually,” Sheena said. “ASAP gave me a production with Janine and Ate Elha. Nagustuhan sa audience ang among performance so mao na permi na kami makit-an. Until na nakabalik na sad si Zephanie [from TV5] sa ASAP. We got to perform together, and ASAP decided that we’re just going to make this into a group. That’s how New Gen Divas was formed.”

Viewers gushed about their launching performance on the ABS-CBN Sunday noontime show last April, and they have been consistently trending on Twitter Philippines every week. “Magaling daw kaming apat, we had that connection while singing as a group, walang nagsasapawan,” she shared.

Asked how they avoid overshadowing one another on stage, the singer said she is used to performing with a group even before she made it to television. “I performed with my singing mates in school. Naandan na sad nako nga always compose yourself while naa kay mga kauban kay we don’t want nga i-overshadow nato. I lower my range when singing together, and I always listen to them while singing para nindot ang kalabasan sa pagkanta.”

The youngest in the group, Sheena has a great relationship with her the other New Gen Divas. They are like sisters who understand and respect each other’s spaces. No competition, no bad vibes.

Sheena hopes they can perform an Ariana Grande medley since the pop star’s songs are not only challenging but also convey interesting messages – not to mention the group is a huge Ariana fan. Upbeat songs like “Problem,” “Focus,” “Break Free,” and “7 Rings” will be perfect for a New Gen Divas number, Sheena thinks.

Pointing out the strengths and uniqueness of each, Sheena noted how “Elha has a very Whitney Houston style of voice, very raw, strong, powerful and controlled. When she sings, it gives me that Whitney vibe. Zephanie has a very angelic voice, I love her voice so much. Even how strong the song is, she keeps that very angelic mood to it and I like that about her. Ate Janine, I idolize her since her TNT days. She has a very unique voice that you cannot hear from other artists, and she gives spice to every song. She gives us that attitude.”

As for herself, she’d like to think she offers vocal power and versatility. “I can differentiate my voice [depending on] what kind of genre I’m singing,” she said.

No doubt, Sheena – who got her showbiz start as a “Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids” and “Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids” runner-up – has a commanding stage presence and powerful pipes. Her fans are glad how she’s now finally getting her deserved spotlight, saying her talent was then overshadowed by the TNT Boys, whose impressive pipes got them global attention. But Sheena disagrees.

“Me and the TNT boys have that sibling relationship. We don’t compete against each other because we treat ourselves equally. If they need help from me, I will them help. The same goes for them. They’re talented, they deserve the spot in the industry. I won’t complain,” Sheena said.

Currently a junior high school student at the University of Cebu, Sheena is still not getting the hang of the online set-up, and longs for the day that face-to-face classes will return. She said being in school physically is more challenging and poses lesser distractions.

In a 2018 interview with The FREEMAN, the Badian native had said she planned to pursue a career in Engineering just like her parents. Each year since, her dreams have changed. At 15, she’s allowed to change her mind and time is on her side to determine what she really wants.

“In 2018, I wanted to be an engineer like my parents. Then 2019, I wanted to be a teacher. In 2020, I got into financials, kung magkano yung sweldo…But now, I’ll just wait and figure it out. I want to be open-minded with things para dili ko naka-focus sa isa ka bagay. I’ll just be myself.” - Niel Anthony Lajot, Silliman Intern

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