Darren feels ‘nerve-wracking pressure’ in sing-off with Lani

By: - Reporter
/ 12:03 AM March 27, 2019

Darren Espanto

Darren Espanto used to worry about how puberty—and the deepening of the voice that comes with it—would affect his vocal range. Now that he’s almost 18, he has found out that, with proper technique, hitting the high notes he became known for as a kid isn’t impossible—even with his thicker tone.

“I undergo vocal coaching … My voice was lighter then, but I strained a lot; that made me lose my voice easily. But now, I know how to use different vocal placements and registers, which allows me to reach high notes and belt in a way that’s healthier,” he told reporters at a press conference for “The Aces,” a concert he will topbill with Lani Misalucha and Jona on March 30 at Araneta Coliseum. Call 911-5555.


And what better way to put these newly acquired skills to the test than doing a medley of operatic Broadway songs with Lani and Jona, who are, needless to say, no slouches when it comes to vocal acrobatics.

“There’s pressure. It’s nerve-wracking. These two singers are so good, and I wasn’t sure if I could do the number. I was having second thoughts, even during practice. But in the second round of rehearsals, I realized that I can still do it,” recalled Darren, who placed second in the first season of “The Voice Kids.”


He also had to remind himself that he didn’t need to match Lani and Jona note for note—that’s out of the question by virtue of anatomy. “I just have to give my all. I want to challenge myself and focus on what I have to do. Thinking about going toe-to-toe with other singers isn’t a good way to approach things,” he said.

Darren simply hopes to enjoy the experience. Sharing the stage with Jona and especially Lani, he said, is already a big honor. “They’re two of the most respected artists in the country. And I’m happy to be in the company of an icon like Lani,” he said. “I have learned a lot from her, in terms of professionalism and humility.”

“The Aces,” directed by Marvin Caldito and Jimmy Antiporda, will also have the trio performing hits that defined each singer’s generation.

Looking at how his career is turning out so far, Darren considers himself extremely lucky, because despite failing to win “The Voice,” career opportunities abound. “But in this industry, you can lose everything in an instant, so you have to stay humble and be nice to everyone,” he said.

Asked how he deals with the unavoidable negativity, particularly in social media, Darren said: “Naysayers will always naysay, bashers will always bash, haters will always hate until they get what they want; till you say what they want to hear from you. I try not to let them bother me.”

“It also helps to surround yourself with positive people who will remind you why you’re here, and helps you do what you love,” he added.

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