Even if one didn’t know the affluent roots of singer, songwriter and businessman Jose Mari Chan, he always comes across as a class act. For among showbiz celebrities, he epitomizes the word “genteel,” which is defined in many ways as polite, refined, and respectable.
Not to be mistaken, however, Chan, as dignified and reserved as he is, is also very warm and friendly to everyone he meets, regardless of status. An achiever both in the sugar and music industries—juggling them seamlessly through the years despite their incongruence—the 70-year-old think tank of A. Chan Sugar Corporation and the famous voice behind “Beautiful Girl” and “Christmas in Our Hearts” remains humble to this very day.
A total of 38 musical artists, lyricists, composers, and musical and vocal arrangers will in fact attest to all these praises as they have each received a first of its kind recognition in their careers and the music industry as a whole courtesy of Jose Mari Chan.
On August 11, these musical talents and recording experts were given Platinum Awards for the work they did on Chan’s Going Home to Christmas album, produced under the singer’s own record label Signature Music Inc. Whereas Platinum, Gold and Silver awards are only given to an album’s producer and recording artist, the ever generous and appreciative gentleman felt it was appropriate to share the honor with everyone who contributed to his success.
“There aren’t too many artists who reach Platinum these days,” explained the ever smiling Chan in his signature taupe blazer over lunch. The recording award is given to albums which have sold 15,000 units from the date of release.
He sadly pointed out that with piracy and free music downloads, record sales are on a downward spiral, which is the very reason why he strongly felt the need to share the success of Going Home to Christmas with every single person who worked on the CD with him.
“I’m just happy to share the recognition of the album with everyone who worked hard to create such an excellent product that will hopefully will stand the test of time,” he added humbly.
Among the more recognizable names in Chan’s honor roll Ramona Isabel Buñag Chan (Joe Mari and Mary Ann’s granddaughter), vocalist, Song of The Firefly; Trina Belamide, co-writer, “Christmas Air and Starlight;” Ogie Alcasid, co-writer, “Pinoy Na Krismas;” Fr. Johnny Go, SJ, co-writer, “Come Let Us Adore Him; Freddie Santos,” co-writer, Let Love Be The Gift; arrangers Homer Flores, Louie Ocampo and Gerard Salonga; The CompanY, vocalists, “Pinoy Na Krismas”; and Cris Villonco, vocalist “December 25.”
Mostly present to accept their individual Platinum Awards, Chan’s children Liza Chan-Parpan, Joe Jr., Michael and Franco (youngest daughter Angelica, a marine biologist was unable to attend because of her work at the Department of Science and Technology), who each had a guesting in the album helped their father hand out the recognition, while their very low key and gracious mother Mary Ann proudly looked on.
“We all sit as board of directors in Signature Music, as we do in Dad’s other businesses,” Joe Jr. told The Manila Times in a brief one-on-one chat. “And yes, we all sing as you have heard in the album. So I guess you can say he was really able to pass on his passion for music in all of us, and we’re all so happy to be able to do this with him.”
Meeting each of Chan’s brood that afternoon, The Manila Times discovered that it isn’t just the passion for music that their father had passed on to this second generation. He also passed on them his genteel and generous ways.