Pops and The Hitmakers won’t retire if people still want to hear them sing | Inquirer Entertainment
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Pops and The Hitmakers won’t retire if people still want to hear them sing

By: - Reporter
12:15 AM May 31, 2022
Pops Fernandez, Rey Valera, Hajji Alejandro, Marco Sison and Nonoy Zuñiga

Pops Fernandez, Rey Valera, Hajji Alejandro, Marco Sison and Nonoy Zuñiga

As much as Pops Fernandez loves singing and performing, there were times in her career, she admitted, when the word “retirement” crossed her mind.

“Sometimes, you will get tired or feel like you have already done everything you can do. I have already had my fill of concerts, traveling or working with different people,” Pops told the Inquirer at a recent press conference for “Four Kings and a Queen,” her upcoming concert tour in the United States.

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People’s expectations can also be difficult to navigate. “It’s not easy. You can’t just be pa-cute. If you succeed one time, you have to replicate that a second… a third time. There’s pressure and expectations. And sometimes, you think, ‘Magpahinga kaya muna ako?’” she related.

And Pops did—for a while, a couple of years back—go into “semiretirement.” But it didn’t take long for her to realize that once “you have been bitten by the show biz bug, it stays with you.”

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“After a while, when you’re no longer doing anything, you will miss performing,” said Pops, who had ventured into producing events and movies during her hiatus. “That’s why every so often, I still perform because I miss it. And it’s especially true during the pandemic when we had nothing to do at home,” she said.

“I found myself wishing for the return of the live music scene, concerts, television shows,” added the 55-year-old singer, dubbed the “Concert Queen.”

More things to experience

And just when she thought she had done it all came an opportunity to share the stage with The Hitmakers (Marco Sison, Rey Valera, Hajji Alejandro and Nonoy Zuñiga—something she has yet to experience. “You will eventually realize that, ‘Gosh, marami pala akong pwedeng gawin,” Pops said.

“I do a lot of other things behind the camera. I love producing. But I’m very thankful I still have the chance to work with wonderful talents. The things I wasn’t able to do back then, I get to do now,” she said.

Like Pops, Rey has also considered retirement. “I used to think about that often. Every year, I wondered, ‘Last ko na kaya ito?’” he related.

There was a time when he tried to pursue farming and other business ventures. And while he did enjoy doing those, destiny, he felt, always found ways to lead him back to music.

Going with the flow

“Then, I realized that I don’t really get to decide where I’m headed. I thought I had control, but that was just an illusion,” Rey said. “I tried farming because it was something I have always wanted to do. I enjoyed it. I also tried businesses… But I can’t say that it was destiny’s plan for me.”

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“‘Lagi akong binabalik sa show biz,’” he added. “Now I just go with the flow and see where it takes me.”

Marco, Nonoy and Hajji, meanwhile, vowed that they will continue performing as long as there are people who appreciate their music. “I will be singing as long as my voice doesn’t retire,” Nonoy said.

“As long as there are people willing to listen, we won’t entertain the idea [of retiring]. This is how I was designed. I don’t know anything else. I have been singing since I was a kid,” Hajji said. “I used to have a lot of things on my bucket list, but as you grow older, you start enjoying your life one day at a time.”

“When I don’t have shows, I find myself humming or singing to myself subconsciously,” he added. “I will probably be singing for as long as someone wants to listen.”

Marco is convinced that he’s destined to live the rest of his life performing. “I didn’t experience office work. I applied for work as a waiter and a doorman, but I didn’t make it. But on my first try competing in ‘Student Canteen’ (1978), I won. And since I’m already here, I vowed to take good care of my voice and myself,” he said.

“Only death can retire me from singing,” Marco stressed. “Until there are people who want to hear me sing, I will be honored to do it for them.”

Mounted by Amore Entertainment, “Four Kings and a Queen” will have stops at the Graton Casino in California (June 25); Beverly Hills, California (June 26); Sahara Event Center, Las Vegas (July 1); Bally’s Casino, Lake Tahoe (July 3); Bally’s Casino, Atlantic City (July 9); Copernicus Theater, Chicago (July 10); Doubletree Hotel, Portland (July 15); and Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu (July 17).

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