CHICAGO – On the heels of her three-month world tour, Lea Salonga feels confident that she can breeze through it.
Salonga, the Philippines’ contribution to international entertainment as Manny Pacquiao is to sports, will be criss-crossing Asia and North America in the next three months.
She will kick off her musical concert tour this year dubbed “Inspired Tour" on Sept. 12 at the Bangkok Symphony in Bangkok, Thailand. She will then move to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada at River Rock Casino on Sept. 18.
On September 20, the world renowned Tony Award winning Broadway star is due at Snoqualme, Washington state’s Snoqualmie Casino.
Four days later on Sept. 25, she will be at Elizabeth, Indiana’s Horseshoe Casino. The following day, Sept. 26, Saturday, she will be in Hammond, Indiana’s Horseshoe Casino, whose public relations agency, Chicago-based XA, The Experiential Agency’s Leah Eisenstein, arranged
for this reporter’s interview with Salonga.
Talking by phone from Manila, the 38-year old musical prodigy told this reporter, “hindi ko alam kong saan ako kumukuha ng aking lakas. (I don’t know where I get my stamina.)
“But I make sure I have lots of sleep. Pero mahilig akong kumain (I am fond of eating) and I always do every day a 20- to 30 minute tread mill workout in any hotel where I am billeted," said Salonga, who was in Manila during
Fresh from her six-month Asian tour of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella as the lead, Salonga said for this year, the balance of her schedules will be devoted to musical concerts.
She will be performing at the following:
- Sept. 29, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada’s McPhillips St. Station;
- Oct. 2, Temecula, California’s Pechanga Resort & Casino;
- Oct. 9, Tarrytown, New York’s The Music Hall Theater;
- Oct. 10, Buffalo, New York’s Center for the Arts;
- Oct. 16 to 17, Brooks, California’s Cache Creek Casino;
- Oct. 18, Cerritos, California’s CCPA;
- Oct. 20, Medford, Oregon’s Craterian Center;
- Oct. 31, Richardson, Texas’ Eisemann Center;
- Nov. 1, Cabazon, California’s Morongo Casino;
- Nov. 6, Houston, Texas’ Arena Theatre;
- Nov. 7, Austin, Texas’ Paramount Theatre;
- Nov. 10, Honolulu, Hawaii’s Blaisdell Concert Hall; and
- Nov. 14, Maui, Hawaii’s MACC Castle Theater.
Just like any other artist, like Whitney Houston, whose voice “cracked" in her recent comeback tour in New York, the Philippine treasure confessed that she also has her share of losing track of some lyrics of her songs.
“Sometimes, I ad lib or invent words when I forget a lyric of a song. But such mistake comes with the territory and is few and far between. And I try to recover fast."
No stage fright
Salonga recalled that when she was small, she had no stage fright. “Wala naman takot ang mga bata. Pagmalaki na may takot na dahil puede nang magkamali (I have no fear when I was a small kid. I only had this fright when I grew up because mistakes are magnified), said Salonga, who became a singing star at nine.
In a couple of times in Hongkong and Seoul, South Korea, she said, “Naubusan ako ng kakantahin. (I ran out of musical numbers.) I have to reprise a song or two for encores."
“Tinitingnan ko na lang ang aking (I just stare at my) younger brother (Gerard), who is accompanying her interpretation and, voila, we will do a repeat and the crowd would still appreciate it."
Gerard Salonga is a musical director or creative director in her concerts and recordings. The native of Angeles City, Pampanga said she hopes to stick by her pace in her singing career in the next 10 years when she turns 48. She hopes she stays unretired after that. Her
annual scheduled is usually booked a year in advance.
A word for Charice
As to the rising international phenom Charice Pempengco, she said, “Charice is fantastic, wonderful, nice, nice, singer. I worked with her and she is very talented."
When asked what piece of advice she would give Pempengco, Salonga said she should remain humble. "Even if a lot of people will tell her, you are the best, you are the best, and even if true, she should stay humble and not let these compliments sink into her head. And she
should not forget, where she comes from."
As to aspiring singers, Salonga’s advice is for them to love what they want to do before they become professionals. This business is fickle minded. The challenge in the profession is so great that singing career is not for the faint of heart.
When asked if she has any regrets in life, Salonga, the Tony award winning star, said, “it’s hard to tell. But I will not be doing things differently. If I did, I may not be where I am now."
Salonga said the most challenging performance in her career was her debut in Miss Saigon in London, England. She was 19 and was so young then and not yet possessed of a vocal technician, solid voice lesson and training.
But when she descended to New York Broadway at 27, she was much older and found things much easier and she started having more fun. GMANews.TV