Easy does it for ‘AGT’ singing sensation
While achieving commercial success is something Gwyneth Dorado hopes for as a recording artist, it’s not the be-all and end-all of why she creates music.
So, when asked if, at any point, she thought her career isn’t growing as quickly as people expect it to be, the 18-year-old singer didn’t seem too worried. “Music isn’t just work for me; it’s my respite. Whenever I need to rest or take a breather, it’s music I turn to,” she said in a recent Zoom conference arranged by her management company Virtual Playground.
“I don’t get impatient. Sometimes, I may feel tired about schoolwork and having to juggle it with my career. But it’s all worth it,” added Gwyneth, who burst onto the scene as a precocious 10-year-old hopeful in the first season of the reality talent search “Asia’s Got Talent” (AGT) in 2015.
After her stint in “AGT”—where she finished as a finalist after impressing judges Vanness Wu, Anggun and Melanie C— Gwyneth joined local productions of the musicals “Annie” and “The Sound of Music.” Her compositions “Shooting Stars” and “Laro-Laro” were used for the films “Happy Times” and “Pansamantagal,” respectively.
Last year, she released her debut single, the gentle, acoustic ballad “Tulala,” which she hopes to follow up with more original singles.
For Gwyneth, forging a career isn’t a race. “‘Di naman ako nababagalan … I may have been off the radar, but I have been busy with work. I did two years of theater. I wrote material that became movie themes during the pandemic. I focused on writing songs, some of which I plan to release soon. And now, gigs are starting to come in,” she related.
Good kind of pressure
And Gwyneth couldn’t be more excited that the live music scene is back. She currently headlines a monthly show at Dusit Thani Manila, where she performs varied and themed setlists.
“It was my first big show after I was launched last year. It was quite overwhelming because there were lots of people and you could see them all from the stage. And I really enjoyed it because I felt like we were all just jamming,” she said, adding that opportunities like this allow her to show how much she has matured since “AGT.”
“There were some people who recognized me and were like, ‘Ayan na pala si Gwyneth … malaki na, matanda na.’ And I take that as a compliment because I have seen myself grow as an artist and individual … It’s a good kind of pressure when they realize that I was the one they used to see on ‘AGT.’ They have expectations, and they make me want to surpass those.”
Her first show had her performing classic Filipino songs, like Cinderella’s “Bato sa Buhangin” and Leah Navarro’s “Buhay ng Buhay Ko.”
Learning such songs, Gwyneth was as instructive as it was challenging. “I’m not very knowledgeable about older songs, so it was a challenge for me. I just hear them from time to time. But upon closer listening, I realized how passionately written the lyrics were. It was a learning experience. You have to express the emotions through the notes and words,” she said.
“I would love to revive or reimagine classic songs. It’s amazing how songwriters and producers crafted their music back then,” she added. “Maybe we can change the style a little while retaining the songs’ essence and objective.”
Aside from music, Gwyneth hopes to do more theater work and dabble in mainstream acting.
“I have been undergoing exercises and acting workshops, which changed my perspective on the craft. I’m enjoying it,” she said. “And I know that theater isn’t very popular, especially with young viewers. But I hope people develop greater appreciation for it.”