Four years since leaving local show business, actress-singer and former Star Magic Batch 10 member Michelle Ayalde is back in the limelight with an international album in tow – HiPNOTIC, produced by Malaysian label Worldwide Platinum Records and released by Warner Music Malaysia.
Best known for singing the original themes songs of Wansapanataym and the Tagalog version of F4’s Meteor Garden, Ni Yao De Ai, titled Ang Hanap Ko, Ayalde was nominated in the Best Performance by a New Female Recording Artist category in the prestigious Awit Awards in 2004.
Her new album contains seven songs, all brandishing her signature husky voice which, according to her, Malaysian fans came to love and enjoy.
She shared that she used to have a shrilly voice but has since become deeper.
“My voice really matured but that’s what they loved about it. It’s different. Whenever I sing they immediately know that it’s me,” Ayalde told the media during her album launch at 12 Monkeys in Makati on Thursday.
However, prior to that vocal maturity, Ayalde had a problem—the reason she had to lessen her high pitch when singing.
“When I was nine years old, during my Ang TV days, I had a very high pitch, but of course, when you overuse your voice you’ll get vocal cord nodules. I had that in 2010, and then after that I was so heartbroken because I lost my voice after a few months,” she shared.
“But then I recovered by taking medicine, specifically steroids. That’s why at that instance I decided not to overuse it anymore. I don’t belt out that much now because what I learned is that when you’re young, you have to do everything, you have to belt out in all of your performances, you want to show off, but it’s not like that. It’s how you feel and deliver the songs,” she added.
The lovely singer notes that she has evolved into a different type of performer after four years of entertaining a diverse crowd in Malaysia.
Speaking of evolution, the now-30-year-old Ayalde takes pride of having been able to adapt to the times and cater to what the audience expect of her.
“Here in the Philippines, whenever I have a show, I get the attention of the audience by telling jokes in Tagalog. In Malaysia, you need to speak in English and what tickles them is far different from us. But I learned and got used to it. I also studied a little bit of their language,” she related.
“There was a big adjustment for me because of the differences in culture. But it’s a good thing that the people who I’m working with are very cooperative, they’re kind, and I was able to adjust easily. The first few days were a little bit hard for me because it entailed working with international artists and different nationalities,” she continued.
How did she get into Malaysian recording?
“I was in a Malaysian club, singing and dancing, at my performance level, of course. The producers said they liked my voice and they told me they heard my previous album. Right after that, they offered me to have a record for them, and everything started from there.”
Then another window of opportunity opened.
“My bosses saw how Filipinos are very talented and hardworking, that was also the time I grabbed the opportunity to bring Filipino dancers and bands with me so that I can prove to them that we are really a talented people, and not just another [Asian] race. And I think they loved it.”
Asked how hands-on she is in making the songs and music videos, which are a bit more of pop-rock-ballad compared to her previous songs in the local scene, she said, “Actually I am not that hands-on because I trust my producers so much that when they say ‘You sing this song,’ I happily do it immediately. When I first heard the songs, I was stunned, never did I imagine that I will be able to sing those kind of songs,” Ayalde said.
“I was like ‘Do I really deserve this?’ My songs are very international in tone and scope. It’s definitely on a different level,” she added.
The singer said she is really proud to bring her international album here in the country because Filipinos are getting noticed all over the world at this time, especially musicians like her.
Finally, Ayalde noted that she remains a Filipino at heart and she continues to treasure all her supporters who have been there since the beginning. She also hopes to work with Filipino music icons like Regine Velasquez and Gary Valenciano.