Martin Nievera: The past, the present and accompanying lessons

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‘I learned that the most important thing to do is to listen; stop talking, stop dictating. My new motto in life is, listen to the people around you because they know a lot more than you do’

‘I learned that the most important thing to do is to listen; stop talking, stop dictating. My new motto in life is, listen to the people around you because they know a lot more than you do’

Concert slated at Kia Theater August 26
While other artists would rather sweep their past under the rug, Martin Nievera is not shy to talk about his. In fact, “The Big Mouth”—a moniker he has earned for doing a lot of singing and hosting—can be quite talkative about it.

Answering questions from the press for the promotion of his new album Kahapon… Ngayon and an upcoming concert titled The Best of Martin Nievera: Kahapon… Ngayon, Nievera gamely responded when asked of his past that keeps recurring.

“Probably bad habits, things that I can’t seem to outgrow like watching too much TV when I have free time, not sleeping enough, or not watching my health the way I should,” the 54-year-old initially confessed.

Turning more somber, Nievera continued, “I guess, some of the wrong decisions you make in life. You seem to think that you’ve corrected them but you didn’t and they come back over and over again.”


When probed to be more specific, the “Concert King,” caved in.

“Not spending enough time with my children; I have one in Las Vegas and I’ve got two here. That haunts me, that’s the past that haunts me. I should have corrected it back then by being more of a hands-on father, by being a better husband before. These things still come back and bite me in the butt,” Nievera shared.

But he was quick to point out that despite his shortcomings, he still maintains a good relationship with his former partners, most especially with former wife, Pops Fernandez.

“I’m good with my exes most especially with Pops. We support each other. Whenever she needs me, I’m there maybe not physically but I’m still the first or second guy or person that she calls and she’s usually the first girl that I run to for advice or help. So we’re all good,” Nievera related.

54 albums and more
Career-wise, recording an album is one recurrence in Nievera’s life that he is more than willing to do over and over again.

For the past 34 years in the business, the Concert King has already released 54 albums under PolyEast Records. But irony of ironies, the latest collection has been conceived with never-done-before melodies.

“‘Saan Ka Man Naroroon’ is one of my favorites because of its sentiments. And I realized, I had never sang that song in my entire career. It’s a must. Every Filipino should know that song and I’ve never sang it!”

In the middle of this realization, Nievera and PolyEast decided not just to have the song in an album but dedicate the whole album with songs from that same era, same genre and same field. Nievera explained that he wanted to bring back the beauty of harana or traditional serenading.

Aside from the Levi Celerio-penned OPM, Nievera had also been brave enough to request the inclusion of the widely popular Visayan song “Usahay.”

“While all the songs are coming in, I asked, ‘Can I have ‘Usahay?’’ Every time I go to Cebu I’ve always wanted to sing that song,” the Concert King said.

As it turned out, Nievera has deeper affinity with the song, “My grandparents, when they married, they lived in Cebu. So I was thinking that I should have one Cebuano song.”

But because Bisaya, the dialect used in “Usahay,” is not his native tongue, Nievera naturally had a hard time perfecting his language.

“It was challenging, really, as it doesn’t float like some of the Tagalog songs. The first time I did it, they said, it was wrong. My ‘angs’ and ‘ngs’ do not sound the way they should be,” Nievera recalled.

Thankfully, he has what he calls “more talented and more natural people” to guide him in the process of learning “Usahay.”

The same experience has taught Nievera a new lesson.

“At this stage of my career, I learned that the most important thing to do is to listen; stop talking, stop dictating. My new motto in life is, ‘Listen to the people around you because they know a lot more than you do’,” Nievera proudly imparted.

Overall, Nievera is proud to have recorded an album consisting of vintage OPM. He also noted that it is his way of honoring his roots.

“My grandmother was an opera singer and she also sang a couple of these songs so I’m also honoring my grandmother which I’ve never done before,” Nievera shared.

The grandmother he’s referring to was Lourdes Corrales, a Cebuana mezzo-soprano.

“That’s the reason why I’m a singer today. A lot of people think it was because of the father side but mostly it’s because of the mother side,” Nievera concluded with pride.

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Nievera’s new 12-track album is now available at record bars nationwide while his concert The Best of Martin Nievera: Kahapon… Ngayon is slated on August 26, 7:30 p.m. at the Kia Theater.

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