They say a singer has made it in the music industry if he releases a Christmas album. But to say that Darren Espanto has “made it” because of his latest holiday recording is an understatement, because at age 16, he has two certified Double Platinum titles–“Darren” (2014) and “Be With Me” (2016) – by the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry (PARI).
Moreover, the artist released his sophomore album in Singapore, Malaysia and Korea and toured those countries for promotion.
So, even if Darren failed to win “The Voice Kids” first season in these shores, he is definitely the biggest winner of the show, amassing major achievements in so short a time.
Just weeks ago, he bagged six trophies at this year’s Awit Awards. He is seen weekly on ABS-CBN’s “ASAP” and remains to be in-demand for performances here and abroad, including the recent Asean Summit in Manila where wowed the world’s biggest leaders.
This Filipino-Canadian teen—who caught the attention of Nicki Minaj, Ashton Kutcher and Fantasia for his powerful voice on YouTube—also had another trending video this year for his version of “Despacito Remix featuring Justin Bieber” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.
It is not surprising then that the next gift for his fans called “Darrenatics” is a Christmas album simply titled “D’s Christmas” under MCA Music.
The album is bannered by “Pasko Na,” a sentimental ballad composed by Espanto himself. The single immediately went to No. 1 iTunes Philippines’ Singles Chart just an hour after its release in October. The song’s music video directed by Jiggy Gregorio is also at the top spot of Myx Music Channel.
Produced by Kiko Guevarra, D’s Christmas also features a track by veteran composer Jungee Marcelo titled “Pasko Bawat Sandali,” plus his versions of all-time-favorite Christmas songs like “My Grown Up Christmas List,” “The Christmas Song,” “Sana Ngayong Pasko,” “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “Only Thing I Ever Get For Christmas” and “O Holy Night.”
Besides the album, Espanto was also chosen to sing the theme song of the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival entry “All Of You,” starring Derek Ramsay and Jennylyn Mercado, “Dying Inside To Hold You.”
Music Geek had a chat with this talented teener with the Q&A below:
What was your inspiration when you wrote Pasko Na?
I wrote Pasko Na for those who are far from their loved ones during the holidays. I’m not really used to being away from my family during the holidays so they were my inspiration in writing this song and I’m sure other families could relate to this as well.
How does it feel singing your own composition?
It feels weird and cool at the same time. I find it very heartwarming to hear the people singing my song.
To whom do you dedicate the song?
I dedicate Pasko Na to everyone who wishes to be with their loved ones on Christmas.
How have you grown as a composer since writing “Be with Me” to this one?
I’ve learned more techniques in songwriting. I now explore more genres and kind of think out-of-the-box sometimes.
What can you say that you now have a Christmas album?
Having my very own album has always been a dream of mine. Now that it’s here, I’m very thankful and very happy because I’ve always loved singing along to Christmas songs. The songs on this album are a mix of emotional and jolly songs.
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Personal: Allow me to greet another December celebrator in our family. Advance Happy Birthday to my brother Antonio Bonifacio 3rd on December 16!