2 international Filipino pop stars go head to head Tuesday night
Two of the biggest Filipino international pop stars find themselves going head to head when they perform in two separate concerts tonight—apl.de.ap at SM Mall of Asia open grounds in Pasay and Charice at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Apl, born Allan Pineda Lindo in Pampanga, will be onstage with his Grammy-winning hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas (BEP). Charice is part of a touring ensemble dubbed Foster & Friends, led by another Grammy-winning artist, David Foster, and composed this year of singers Ashanti, Philip Bailey, Michael Bolton and Russell Watson.
Tickets to both concerts are pricey: P15,000 apiece for the special VIP section; the cheapest is at P1,000 for BEP, and P850 for Foster & Friends.
Both acts attracted near-capacity crowds the last time they performed in the Philippines—BEP in 2006 and Foster last year, both at the Big Dome.
Advertising support is quite heavy for BEP, with a telecom outfit offering free tickets for the purchase of mobile phones.
The promoter of BEP’s Manila concert, actor-restaurateur Marvin Agustin’s Futuretainment Inc., is hyping on the fact that this will be the hip-hop group’s last few shows before it goes on an indefinite hiatus.
“This concert is part of our graduation before we take a break,” BEP’s lone female singer Fergie said in a press conference Monday at the Edsa Shangri-La hotel in Mandaluyong City.
“I’m really excited to perform with my best friends—and for them to taste my mom’s chicken adobo, tortang talong, and I’ll make sure they also taste balut,” said apl.
“I remember every time apl would feel sad and tell me about going to see the Philippines … I never thought it would be like this,” said will.i.am, BEP’s main songwriter and leader. “Music symbolizes a bond among people from different walks of life.”
“Apl introduced me to all the Pinays he knew, and so I married one,” said Taboo, BEP’s Mexican member. His wife, Jaymie Dizon Gomez, is from Cavite.
The break, however, doesn’t mean BEP is splitting up for good. The group is known for taking its time in between recording albums and going on tour.
New set of ‘Friends’
It took two years before BEP followed up its first successful album, 2003’s “Elephunk,” with 2005’s “Monkey Business.” Four years passed before it released 2009’s “The E.N.D.”, although another album came out last year, “The Beginning.”
The Foster & Friends lineup for the Smart Araneta show is different from last year’s, with the exception of Charice. Joining her and Foster are artists with eclectic backgrounds.
American R&B singer Ashanti is best known for her 2002 self-titled album which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. She became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Foolish” and “What’s Luv?” (with Fat Joe).
Ashanti broke records again by having three Top 10 songs, “Foolish,” “What’s Luv?” and “Always on Time,” on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the same week, being the first woman to accomplish this feat and being second only to the Beatles.
In 2003, her self-titled debut record won Ashanti her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B album. She has sold more than 30 million albums.
Bailey, another American R&B singer, is most famous for being a key member of Earth, Wind & Fire and the falsetto voice behind the group’s songs such as “Devotion,” “Keep Your Head to the Sky,” “That’s the Way of the World,” “Reasons,” “Fantasy,” “After the Love is Gone” and “I’ve Had Enough.”
Bolton’s roots in rock
Curiously, Bolton, the third American artist in the lineup, was a former hard rock singer. His old band, Blackjack, once toured with heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne.
Bolton first gained notice as a songwriter, collaborating with Laura Branigan on “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” The two teamed up again when Bolton cowrote “I Found Someone” for Branigan in 1985.
But his crack at worldwide fame came in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a singer on the adult contemporary/easy listening charts. One of his first major hits was his 1987 interpretation of the Otis Redding classic, “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay.”
Apparently inclined to explore R&B and soul classics, Bolton went on to cover Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell’s 1930s hit “Georgia On My Mind,” also famously covered by Ray Charles.
In 1991, Bolton released the album “Time, Love & Tenderness” which featured his Grammy-winning cover of the 1967 Percy Sledge hit “When a Man Loves a Woman.”
Tenor had tumor
The British tenor Watson released his debut album, “The Voice,” in 2001. A mixture of operatic arias and covers of pop songs, it topped the UK Classical Chart and eventually reached No. 5 in the UK albums chart.
It shot to No. 1 upon its release in the United States. The album contained Watson’s collaboration with former Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder, who lent his vocals to the Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé song “Barcelona.”
In 2007, Watson was diagnosed with brain tumor. He underwent emergency surgery and was discharged shortly after the operation. He underwent an extensive rehabilitation program, including radiotherapy.
In 2010, he released “La Voce,” his first album since overcoming brain cancer.
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