When blind amateur singer Carl Malone Montecido sang at an appliance center in a mall in Bacolod, he did it just to give in to the request of a friend working in the store. But never did he think his rendition if Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” would go viral that even the singer would be so impressed.
When Smith saw Carl’s viral video, he went to Twitter and posted, “Who is this kid!!!!!? You are out of this universe…” Even Kelly Clarkson picked up video and tweeted, “This video has been going around my team as well! This kid is insane!!”
Naturally overwhelmed over what happened, Carl still can’t believe he’s suddenly in demand to guest on TV shows. Over the weekend, he was on “All-Out Sunday” and the following day, he was singing on “Unang Hirit” again.
“I’m so happy,” he exclaimed when Showbuzz talk to him after his UH. “I’m so thankful for this second chance again to have a singing career. Of course, I would like to thank GMA for giving me opportunity to prove that despite my condition, I can still showcase my talent.”
Carl credits his stint with “The Clash Season 2” for his training in singing. “I was at the Top 64 of The Clash. As potential Clashers, we were given workshops on how to sing properly, how to take care of our voice and I learned a lot of useful things then, like ‘yung proper vocalization na ginagawa ko na palagi. I hardly knew any of that before.
At 21, Carl, more than ever, is determined to pursue his dream of becoming a professional singer and it looks like he’s at the crossroads of doing so. TV shows in the US have also been knocking on his door.
In a phone interview in GMA News, Carl confirmed that he has been invited by the staff of award-winning American TV host Ellen DeGeneres.
“Ang tumawag sa ‘kin personally is the staff of Ellen. Tinawagan nila ako probably mga February 8 pa,” recalled Carl.
“No’ng simula pa lang mag-viral, may mga PM [private message] na sila sa akin.Actually, no’ng una, hindi nga ako naniniwala baka kasi ano, e, manloloko, alam mo naman dito sa Philippines, maraming gano’n. We already checked the profile naman,” he continued.
Carl cannot believe that he will be noticed by Ellen’s show. It will be remembered that several Filipino artists were also featured also because of viral videos including a Jake Zyrus then Charice Pempengco, Marcelito Pomoy, Rhap Salazar, Aldrich Lloyd Talonding, Zendee Rose Tenerefe, Balang, and Arnel Pineda.
He mentioned, “Sa totoo lang no’ng kausap ko yung staff ni Ellen DeGeneres, do’n nila na-confirm na okay kasi may iba pa kong kinanta bukod sa viral video na yun. So, pinag-sample pa nila ko, kinuhanan nila ‘ko ng video, papakita raw sa boss nila.”
“And then, nagustuhan daw ni Ellen, so mararamdaman ko do’n masaya ako kasi of all the people here in the Philippines, hindi gano’n kadali makapasok sa industry na ganyan, lalo na at international. Siguro nilu-look forward ko since andito na ko sa platform na ‘to, matuloy yung music career ko kasi ang daming ko nang malalaking shows na nasalihan pero hindi natutuloy,” he continued.
“Pero sa bagong pintong bumukas, ito na yun. Sana magtuluy-tuloy na siya hindi lang dito, kundi sa ibang lugar.”
In the future, Carl hopes to have an album while still perform in his home country.
“Yung international career, masarap pangarapin pero gusto ko pa rin ‘yung singing career sa bansa natin. I want to have my own album. I want to sing in shows. I want to inspire people specially those who have physical challenges. Like me, I may have been born blind but God gave me this talent so I will not let blindness hinder my dreams. I will go on striving until I reach my goal.”
* * *
After finishing “The Gift,” Alden Richards was on the lookout for something that would challenge him anew. He wanted to be excited again, ready and raring to explore new directions in his career.
He wondered whether he’d find it in a new series or a movie of a completely different genre. He couldn’t put a finger on what he felt he has yet to do in the biz until GMA Network offered him to host “Centerstage” — Philippine television’s newest singing competition for children.
“Sobrang na-excite po ako dito kasi I’m really fond of kids. Add it is the offer to host, which is one job that I’m really comfortable doing,” Alden related to Showbuzz this week. “I admit there was a little pressure when this came along because it would be the first time I’d be the main host of a show. But I told myself, this is where the excitement lies — somewhere that I’d have growth in my profession and this is my chance to explore [hosting solo] so I accepted the offer.”
To be sure, “Centerstage” is unlike any other show Alden has done. And the Asian Multi-Media star admits that it’s not easy to do.
“The No. 1 reason because I’m dealing with children and the kids today are different. I mean they’re not the usual kids and they have different takes on everything. Hindi na sila ‘yung nakagisnan natin na way of behavior ng mga bata. There’s that struggle kung paano magtimpla sa kanila.
“That’s why I’m so grateful that I got very good training in ‘Eat Bulaga.’ It really gave me a holistic training in hosting so I can do impromptu bantering with the kids here.”
Another challenge Alden admits he faces in Centerstage is the elimination of contestants. He can’t help but feel really sorry for every child whose dream seems to be crushed.
“A way of talking to these kids for them to be more inspired is I share my own story,” said Alden. “I share my life story with them, like I tell them how I was able to reach my goals in my career especially the struggles and failures na dinaanan ko. I tell also them that they’re so fortunate kasi bata pa sila and they still have many opportunities that will come their way.”
Indeed, each contestant has a story to tell and Alden is very much aware of it. And he believes that they should all be heard.
“Their stories really contribute to the performance,” Alden expresses. “‘Yung malaman mo ‘yung back story ng bawat contestant, parang kumakapal ‘yung experience. Aside from just seeing the talent, ‘yung pagkanta, parang mas naiintindihan mo yung performer at kung saan siya nanggagaling. Why did he or she chose that song as their contest piece? Why is he or she that passionate in performing. It’s all there on Centerstage. It’s reality.”
The contestants’ ages range from seven to 12 years old, and so far, with the episodes they’ve taped, Alden has nothing but praises for the kids.
“They are so young and yet they already have that kind of singing prowess,” the host said in awe. “I am really amazed at their vocal range at this age, so how much more when they get older di’ba? Nakakabilib, nakaka-proud talaga that I am a witness to that kind of talent and how it will all unfold on TV.”
With Alden in the show the judges whom he speaks so highly of, namely Pops Fernandez, Aicelle Santos and veteran musical director Mel Villena. Comedian Bentong Sumaya is also on hand for parts of the hosting and with whom Alden gets along very well.
Meanwhile, though I the thick of work for “Centerstage,” Alden is also preparing for another big movie project this year as well as a primetime series whose details are still top secret. On top of these, his fans can see him Monday to Sunday on “Eat Bulaga” and “All Out Sundays,” plus he also has a solo concert on the drawing board.
With his schedule so full, how then can he find the love he says he’s ready to have this new decade?
“Makakahanap din tayo niyan,” he assured with a laugh. “Basta hindi ko hahanapin. Malalaman naman natin pag nandiyan na. Love will come naturally.”
* * *
After his long absence from movie making, Jinggoy Estrada is back, and he’s just finished shooting “Coming Home” with topnotch actress Sylvia Sanchez. The film besides Jinggoy and Sylvia, has an all-star cast with Martin Del Rosario, Allan Guzman, Shaira Diaz, Ariela Arida, Jake Ejercito and Jinggoy’s son Julian Estrada.
It’s been four years since the last time Jinggoy acted before the cameras. He swears he felt quite nervous during his first few takes.
“Siyempre ilang taon akong nakakulong at wala talagang practice sa acting. Gagaling pa ng mga kasama kong artista kaya talagang ninerbiyos ako. But after naman ng ilang takes, OK na. It’s good that the highly dramatic scenes were not shot on the first day,” he said.
Indeed, “Coming Home” is Jinggoy’s most dramatic film to date. When the project was presented to him, he knew that it would be a far cry from his past films.
“My movies are either action or comedy-drama. So this one is really different — may dramatic scenes ako with my wife played by Sylvia. I also have scenes na tension-filled with my children. I have a crying scene here and it’s good that Direk Adolf (Alix) prepared me emotionally before it was taken. So far, OK naman daw, sabi ni Direk,” he chuckled.
As Jinggoy has been used to doing, he spoils his co-stars on the set with food — lots of it to the point that his co-stars are already complaining about ruined diets.
“Sirang-sira ang diet ko,” wailed Sylvia. “Pag dumating ang pagkain, talagang pipilitin ka niyang kumain. Ang sasarap pa naman ng food na pinapabili niya.”
Even the men like Martin and EA are saying they’ve gained several pounds because of Jinggoy’s caring ways.
“Ganu’n pala si Sen. Jinggoy, very generoys sa pagkain,” said EA. “Kami ni Martin and the other cast, actually all the members of the cast, napapakain. Feeling ko nga overweight na ko. Pero sobrang sarap sa set pag si Sen ang kasama.”
Jinggoy just smiles whenever he hears his co-stars complaining about the over-flowing food. “Ganyan talaga ko. Gusto ko lahat masaya sa set. Hindi naman maganda if it’s only me who’s eating. Saka nakasanayan ko na that during shooting, I buy extra food for everyone. Pampaalis pagod din ang food and it’s also a way of bonding for us. We become closer when we eat together.”