Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Cebuano singer Shoti is ‘amazed’ at his rapid rise

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman
Cebuano singer Shoti is �amazed� at his rapid rise
Jared Lim Almendras

Jared Lim Almendras, a 17-year-old who was only striving to be a good student and become a football player, didn’t think he’d achieve fame at a young age.“I had no idea that I would become like this. It’s just shocking when I woke up, I had so many messages from people telling me that everyone is listening to my songs,” he told The FREEMAN.

You may recognize the Fil-Chinese Almendras by his stage name Shoti (which means little brother in Chinese), known for his hit “LDR” (an acronym for long distance relationship) which has so far garnered nearly 35 million streams. Its sped-up remix also got 81 million streams to date.

His ascent in the charts is one for the books. During the pandemic, Shoti was just creating beats in his bedroom that also served as his studio. He then ventured into video game livestreaming. His skill in producing music and his popularity as a game streamer led to his first few singles “In Love Kaayo”, “In Love Gihapon” and “LDR” – all released in 2022.

“It’s amazing that I have gotten this far at such a young age. For other artists, it takes a long time for them to be built up and be famous,” he continued. “For me, I only got it in less than a year.”

Pre-fame, Shoti and his family would often hold birthday dinners nearby the TOPS area in Busay, Cebu City. In February, he was back at the re-opened TOPS, but this time as a headliner of the establishment’s Leap Day celebration concert.

His neighbors in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City are awestruck that they live in the same village as the teen singer. “It makes me shy when my neighbors bring it up,” Shoti said. “It’s kinda awkward but it feels good because my hard work paid off.”

Shoti is a senior high student at the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, taking up a strand in accountancy, business, and management (ABM).

“When I walk around school, a lot of grade school students would greet me ‘Hi, Shoti!’ and ask for a picture. They would ask, ‘Shoti, are we best friends?’ and I would respond, ‘Of course, we are best friends!’”, he shared.

One of the reasons he’s garnered a lot of listeners are his lyrics that are a mix of English and Cebuano. “When singing in Bisaya, it comes from the heart. If my songs hit you, it hits you so hard,” he remarked.

“LDR” was inspired by a months-long long-distance relationship he had with someone from Manila. “Ngano layo kay ka? Wala ta’y mabuhat / kung diri ka sa akong tupad / adto ta’g cinema, human mangaon ta,” is Shoti’s favorite line from the song that he wrote and produced himself.

“Being in an LDR is tough because you have to update each other since you don’t see each other. You’re always overthinking what she’s doing,” he said. Had his ex been in the same city, Shoti said it would have been “totally different because when you see the person and you can touch them, it’s a different story.”

That’s not to say that Shoti disapproves of LDRs. He believes communication is key in keeping the spark alive.

“It depends on the person because at first, I thought it would work. But then, it didn’t,” he said. “It’s different for everybody. There are some couples who got married after years of LDR and lived happily as a couple.”

One of Shoti’s favorite subjects in school is accountancy, which will help him fulfill a dream unrelated to his singing career.

“I feel like accounting will be useful in the future if I am going to be a businessman. Everyone wants to have their own business one day,” he said.

“My dad has always wanted to open a resort because he thinks that it’s relaxing to work there, so I want to manage my resort while still doing music.”

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