‘I’m not just a balladeer’By Pocholo Concepcion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Singer Jed Madela is one of a kind.
Viewers of all ages have surely been impressed with his talent as a regular performer on “ASAP,” ABS-CBN’s Sunday variety show. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; Jed can sing the lousiest song and make it sound great.
He blew our mind when he jammed at the recent “Elements” National Singing and Songwriting Music Camp in Dumaguete. The folk and rock artists played live but Madela sang minus-one—and yet he never came off as inferior. He performed a medley of OPM ballads with such grace and power, it didn’t matter that the songs wallowed in sentimentality.
Madela is best watched live, and he’s featured in a concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines tomorrow. He chatted with the Inquirer via e-mail a few days ago.
Have you always wanted to be a singer?
I’m from a clan whose every member is into music. Growing up, I was aware that there was always music in our home—someone was playing either the piano or the guitar, or belting out on the karaoke.
But it was only a hobby for me until my aunt, who is my manager now, got me into the scene. From Iloilo, I came to Manila to apply as a flight attendant, but I was not 100 percent happy with the prospect. Good thing my aunt sat me down and asked, “What do you really want to do?” I answered, “I want to sing.” I auditioned for a band and that’s how it started.
You’re blessed with a distinctly powerful voice that scales the high notes with ease. Do you have a special technique?
I never had formal vocal training and had to learn through experience. When I was younger, my dad would teach me certain techniques—but all in passing. I think I learned all my techniques from my mistakes while singing in a band. I went through a lot with my voice—lost it, got it back and strengthened it. As for hitting the high notes, it’s all about placement and proper breathing. And lots of practice!
How do you take care of your voice?
The vocal chords are muscles; when muscles get tired, they need to rest. I try to get enough sleep and drink lots of water. I keep my throat hydrated so it won’t get dry.
You’re a pop singer but you can also sing like Freddie Mercury. Who’s your greatest idol and why?
My band stints exposed me to a lot of genres; I had to learn how to interpret all kinds of songs—there are different approaches to pop, rock, Broadway, R&B…
My ultimate idol is Luther Vandross. He sings with so much passion. He does not hold back. Music comes before image.
Tell us about your concert tomorrow and why people should watch it.
This concert should be different from past shows I’ve done. People tend to brand me a balladeer and I don’t blame them because that’s how they see me on mainstream TV and hear me on radio. I want to show the audience that I’m more than that—not just a balladeer but a total performer. I’ll make sure everyone will enjoy the show.
(The concert “Beyond Expectations,” goes onstage tomorrow, 8 p.m., at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Guests include Ogie Alcasid, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, The Philippine Madrigal Singers, mezzo-soprano Clarissa Ocampo and the ADDLIB Dance Crew. Musical director is Ryan Cayabyab.
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