A1’s Ben Adams thinks Morissette has ‘one of the best voices in the world’
Ben Adams, who has been in the Philippines several times with the boy band A1, said he would often feel bad whenever he heard people call him pogi. It was only two years ago when the British singer-songwriter discovered that the word was actually a compliment.
“It’s an interesting word. In English, the word ‘pudgy,’ which sounds similar to ‘pogi,’ means you’re fat. For many years, I thought Filipinos have been calling me fat when they say, ‘Ben, why are you so pogi?’ That didn’t make me feel so great,” Ben told the Inquirer during a media gathering organized by Sony Music Philippines to promote his latest single, “This Is Christmas.”
“It was only two years ago … [when I found] out that pogi meant ‘handsome’ and that people were actually complimenting me. The comment used to make me feel terrible,” he declared.
To his credit, Ben now knows a couple of Tagalog phrases like “salamat po” and “mahal ko kayo.” He has tried, and liked, the Filipino dish adobo, but found kare-kare to be “a bit strange.” He also liked the Christmas kakanin puto bumbong, but not champorado with daing.
Ben added that he found Boracay island, which he visited six years ago, to be “so amazing,” and hoped to see El Nido in Palawan during his next trip to the Philippines. He has also gone to Cebu and Davao to perform with A1 there.
For his most recent trip, aside from doing another concert with A1, Ben also shot a music video with Filipino power belter Morissette Amon. The two recorded a duet of “This Is Christmas,” and have promoted the song in ABS-CBN programs like “It’s Showtime!” and “ASAP.”
Ben said “This is Christmas,” released by Sony Music, was originally meant for a Dutch artist. “Sometimes, when you write songs for other people, it’s quite tough to give the songs away. This one in particular, it felt too special to give away, so I took the song back from the artist and decided to record it myself. She was very upset with me. She wasn’t happy at all,” he recalled.
Ben added that he was just supposed to do a solo track, “but I felt that there was more magic to squeeze out of it. It’s great hearing a soloist song, but once you start adding flavor to it, like a female vocalist, or someone who is as accomplished as Morissette, the song will be more interesting.”
After Ben’s version of the song was released, he posted a tweet asking his followers to suggest a Southeast Asian artist whom he could duet with. “It was Roslyn (Pineda, Sony Music GM for Philippines and VP for Development Asia) who suggested Morissette to me. I looked for her clips on YouTube and listened to her on Spotify and thought that she had the most incredible voice. I asked if she would like to do it, she said ‘yes’ and that’s how it became a thing,” explained Ben.
Morissette was supposed to attend the interview with the print media along with Ben, but was a no-show. Her management offered no explanation for the singer’s absence. Morissette has been in the news of late after she walked out of a concert, although she posted an apology on her Facebook account, which she took out days later.
Ben told reporters: “I really think Morissette has one of the best voices, not just in the Philippines or Southeast Asia, but across the world. You can put her in any situation and she would be fantastic. She sounds the same onstage, live, as she does on the record. A lot of the times, I had to produce for people and do a hundred takes with them, as well as apply auto tune and all kinds of stuff [on their recording]. With Morissette, I didn’t have to do any of that.”
As to how talented he thought Morissette is, Ben pointed out: “You only have to listen to the song. Her rifts and her voice are amazing! She can sing the worst song in the world and make it absolutely brilliant. I enjoyed spending the last few days with her for promo.
“I was just at the A1 concert the other day. We did the meet and greet till 1 a.m. I had to leave my hotel at 7 a.m. for ‘ASAP.’ I was jet-lagged and tired. I went to ‘ASAP,’ where they have a million people running up and down. It was crazy! But Morissette was so calm and composed. Looking at her calmed me down. I said, ‘OK, I’m in safe hands. She must know what she’s doing.’”
“This is Christmas” is one of the songs in Ben’s Christmas album that will be released at the end of November. “I hope to do some performances with Morissette. Because of the internet, our performance in ‘ASAP’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ have already gotten a crazy amount of views. I’m happy with the fact that I can have Morissette better known in all the territories in my side of the world,” he said, adding that if schedule would permit, he would also like to collaborate with other Filipino artists.
“Sarah Geronimo is fantastic! Collaborating with Lea Salonga, while she is currently doing lots of musicals, is more possible because she’s often in the UK,” he said. “I got some great songs, which I’d love to record with someone. Anything can happen, though. It’s great to see how supportive Filipinos are of their own artists.”