Concert King Martin Nievera looked very well in his first interview for 2016 on Wednesday, several pounds lighter, not only in physical weight, but based on his very excited recollection of Christmas, in emotional baggage too.
The OPM icon started 2016 on a high note after his long time Christmas wish had been granted. That is, to spend the holidays with all his children—sons Robin and Ram by ex-wife and Concert Queen Pops Fernandez, and his nine-year-old boy Santino by former girlfriend Katrina Ojeda.
“All I wanted for Christmas was to have all my children together, and it finally happened, not exactly on Christmas day, but a couple of days before, in the States. Pops and the boys were spending the holidays there, and Pops finally got to meet Santino when we all got together for dinner,” he beamed.
Describing Pops and Santino’s meeting as “magical,” Martin was grateful to get over the inevitable yet overdue moment, and see for himself that the most important people in his life were at peace with their family’s reality.
“Pops has always wanted to meet Santino, and when the meeting happened, you can tell that she’s beyond all of it, and that she’s more mature than most women in her position,” he explained. “Although I had Santino after Pops and I were already separated, I’m sure not many women would be willing to meet their ex’s child from someone else. But that’s Pops and we’re in a very good place now.”
According to Martin, his son, who first met Pops via Face Time, was just as excited to see her.
“We were in Disneyland for five days and it’s usually very difficult to get Santino to leave [the theme park]. But I told him, ‘We’re going to meet Tita Pops,’ and when he did, he grabbed her and hugged her.
“He knows her already. I already prepared him for meeting her someday and told him, ‘This is the mommy of Kuya Robin and Kuya Ram.’
“It was great. We all had dinner together and when it was time to say goodbye, Pops saw Santino holding his brothers’ hands and she began to cry.”
With his Christmas wish granted—and the huge bonus of finally bringing Pops and his youngest together, even for just a short time—Martin is more than revved up to go into the New Year in high spirits.
He starts off his 34th Valentine concert to date, this time with Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez, Philippine Prince of Pop Erik Santos, and Queen of Teleserye Theme Songs, Angeline Quinto, aptly titled Royals. The show will be staged on February 13 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and on February 14 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Cebu City.
Produced by the same team of Anna Puno and Cacai Mitra’s Starmedia Entertainment and I-Music Entertainment, which staged 2015’s biggest Valentine’s hit Ultimate with Martin, Regine, Gary Valenciano and Lani Misalucha, Royals promises an entirely different concept by putting together the reigning concert king and queen with their successors.
“This concert is Martin times two, and Regine times two with Erik and Angeline,” Martin related. “So expect it to be very loud!”
With the top-notch artists coming from two different generations, audiences can expect an impressive showcase of vocal excellence in songs of old and new, as well as fusions of classic and current chart-toppers in the repertoire.
“What Ultimate did to the concert scene is to introduce a whole new concept of having four voices all together on stage, in harmony, and in a tag-team sort of way,” continued the Concert King.
“With Erik and Angeline, who though touted to be the ‘next Martin’ and the ‘next Regine,’ we have to up our game in the same way they have to keep up with us.”
Asked whether he approves of Erik as his successor, Martin said, “The title ‘Concert King’ was just given to me in the industry, and it’s not my goal in life to prove I’m the Concert King, but it pushes me to give a performance that is fit for a king. I think it will be the same way for Erik. He won’t necessarily be the next Martin Nievera or the next Concert King because I know that even if he is often compared to me, he will continue to make his own mark in this industry and will be known as Erik Santos.”
To conclude, “his majesty” added, “I don’t consider myself royalty in this business. It’s the audience who are royalties, and that’s why we all have to give them the kind of performance they deserve—a performance that’s fit for royalty.”