New Zealand-based social media sensation Kimpoy Feliciano’s online fame is a curious case, one for the books.
He’s not incredibly good-looking, and nor does he sing exceptionally well, but somehow, with all the cutesy stuff he posts online—pick-up lines, love advice, daily musings, photos and videos—Kimpoy has charmed hundreds of thousands of followers in cyberspace, most of them starry-eyed prepubescent Filipino girls living thousands of miles away.
His popularity on the Internet is something that Kimpoy himself can’t explain. He was doing it for fun; amassing throngs of fans didn’t cross his mind.
“I connect with all my followers. I’m just a normal person following my dreams. Perhaps they admire that and see me as a role model,” Kimpoy told the Inquirer. “My fans told me that the things I post are nakakakilig. Maybe it’s also the way I talk or tweet my thoughts.”
Even Malacañang took notice, tapping him as a peace ambassador for social media in the “I Am for Peace” campaign last year.
Currently, Kimpoy has more than 450,000 followers on Twitter, 100,000 on Tumblr, 96,000 on Facebook and 47,000 on Instagram—very impressive for someone who’s not a celebrity or in mainstream media. Well, not for long.
The 19-year-old Internet personality utilized the social media as a bridge to cross over to the mainstream market. Kimpoy has been doing the rounds and making appearances on local TV shows, capitalizing on his huge online presence by releasing “Kimpoy Feliciano,” his self-titled debut album on Universal Records.
The record has six tracks: “Right Next to Me,” “I’ll Be Your Hero,” “Ngiti,” “Ikaw Lang,” “Una at Huling Mamahalin” and “Alipin.” Included in the package is a DVD of music videos of all six songs.
“It just happened. There was an opportunity, so why not take it? This is a gift to my fans,” he said.
He’s not a trained singer by any means, but Kimpoy does have a pretty decent singing voice and can definitely carry a tune. And while the record isn’t going to break into Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Album of All Time list any time soon, it perfectly serves its purpose, which is to delight giddy tween fans.
Kimpoy doesn’t see the album as a stepping stone to an acting career or anything bigger. He just wants to make his fans
happy, he said. “I want to reciprocate their love.”
Is he ready to face the bile of detractors scoffing at the idea of another non-singer releasing an album?
“Bashers have been a part of my online life. I can’t blame them since I’m really not the best singer out there. But like I’ve said earlier, I’m just following my dreams,” he said.
He continued: “What’s important is that the positive comments outweigh the negative ones. Also, criticisms keep me grounded.”
Is Kimpoy fearful that he will lose his Internet fame once he grows old, and doing the things he does now are no longer cute? “They’ll grow old with me; I hope they stick with me,” he said. “I hope they won’t leave me.”