Hosting online is the way to go during lockdown for singers Jaya, Markki and Mark
As they wait for the time they can finally return to the stage and perform for all their beloved fans, some singers have opted to explore or pursue another field in show biz to keep themselves busy and visible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Markki Stroem, Jaya and Mark Oblea, hosting is the way to go—at least for now.
Markki, a pop-jazz singer and theater artist, is currently a radio jock for Monster RX 93.1’s “The Morning Rush” and the host of the online workout show “Fitness Tips for Lazy Peeps.”
“I’m focusing now on hosting. I have been working throughout the quarantine, which is really good. I consider myself lucky. We, in our radio program, have been able to guest amazing folks such as Catriona Gray, Pia Wurtzbach and Hailee Steinfeld. That has been great,” he told the Inquirer in a recent video interview.
Aside from music, physical wellness is another passion of Markki’s. And he hopes to share with people some hacks and advice on how to stay healthy from the comforts of their own home, using makeshift or substitute equipment.
“Sometimes, your weight can go up without you noticing. But gyms are closed. And not everyone knows how to restart to get back into shape. I gained weight earlier this year and was at 88 kilograms last April. But through a training program, I’m now at 83 kilograms. I want to share what I have learned with people who are interested,” he related.
Alternative pop singer-songwriter Mark Oblea was scheduled to launch his latest EP, “Panimula,” in April with a bar gig. The pandemic derailed his plans.
And while he can hold online jamming sessions every so often, he still felt that there are a lot of other things he can still try and do. “I’m glad that I’m still able to play music; that my new singles have been doing well on Spotify. But the situation we’re in is really challenging. It does make me wonder, ‘What else can I offer aside from singing?’” he told the Inquirer.
Now, he cohosts comedian Empoy’s eponymous online game show “Dear Empoy.” It’s an uncharted territory for Mark, but one that he’s willing to explore nonetheless. “I’m thankful that I was given this opportunity to explore hosting. I hope to gain valuable experience from it,” said Mark, a finalist in the reality talent search “Pinoy Boyband Superstar” in 2016.
Meanwhile, seasoned soul-R&B singer Jaya has an online talk show called “Straight Talk with Jaya,” which she hopes can help boost her presence on the internet. “Online visibility is something lots of younger artists already have. But for someone like me, I still have to work on that,” she told the Inquirer.
“This is a new season in our lives. And definitely, we have this inner worry, especially when this all began. But with everything, you have to look for the positive and find out what we can do in order to strengthen our careers—with a new side or format,” she said of her foray into hosting.
All of Jaya’s shows, including several overseas, have been postponed. She can only hope that they push through next year. But for now, she said, she will have to “make do with what we have.”
“We just want to make sure that our audience can also find joy and get inspired by what we do. And I hope that, in turn, also inspires them to do something different,” pointed out the singer, who also serves as a judge for the singing contest “Tawag ng Tanghalan.”
But as fulfilling and instructive hosting can be, these singers agree that there’s still no replacing the thrill of singing live before a spirited audience. “I miss seeing the people react while I’m singing, especially when the message of the songs hits them—it’s priceless and I miss that,” said Mark, the voice behind the 2018 hit “Tabi.”
More than the concerts or corporate shows, Markki is particularly worried about the theater scene. He’s supposed to star in the Hotdog-inspired musical “Bongga Ka Day,” which was postponed to early next year.
“Music is going to be tough for a lot of us, but we can find ways or other outlets to release songs. We can also do online concerts. But theater is going to be a problem. It’s tough. But you know, we just have to keep being positive … Let’s keep thinking about good things,” he said.
“I miss the instant gratification—being able to go down and hug your fans … Everything that goes on in a show,” Jaya added. “But at the end of the day, we just have to be strong and think of the next step. Sometimes, you don’t feel like moving, but you have to.”
She also prays for “clarity” once everything settles down. “This, too, shall pass … Everything that was supposed to happen, will happen,” Jaya said.
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