Chito Miranda, Billy Crawford, Stell Ajero and Julie Anne San Jose bridge generation gap through music
If the press conference for the new reality singing competition “The Voice of Generations” was any indication, then viewers can expect lighthearted banter, quick quips and a lot of teasing among the coaches, Chito Miranda, Stell Ajero, Billy Crawford and Julie Anne San Jose.
As the title suggests, the show aims to showcase different generations of musical talent—not only through the contestants, but also through its resident mentors. Chito and Billy, of course, represent the 1990s and 2000s; Stell and Julie Anne the 2010s and the present.
The older—or rather, more experienced—music artists showered their younger counterparts with praises.
“Both Billy and I were surprised because, sometimes, we ask for advice from Stell and Jules. ‘OK ba ang ginawa nila?’ We would ask them. I’m amazed by their grasp of music. I know they’re talented performers, but I’m also in awe of their ability to dissect music and its technical aspects,” the Parokya ni Edgar frontman said.
And the young guns made sure to return the favor—but not without jokingly highlighting the generation gap between them.
“To be honest, I was really nervous. Because who am I to be part of this roster of seasoned artists? But once I got to know them, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m very lucky.’ The nerves went away… The support is there,” began Stell, who’s a member of the acclaimed P-pop group SB19.
“If they think they get wisdom from us, it’s also because of them … because they were the ones our parents grew up with,” Stell added, drawing laughter from the crowd, as well as Chito and Billy themselves.
‘The Voice PH’ spinoff
It was all good fun, though. If anything, such an exchange only showed that all four coaches have been getting along well, so much so that they have no qualms roasting and poking fun at one another in front of people. And this kind of dynamic will be crucial, as they and their respective teams battle it out for the top prize.
“The Voice Generations,” which airs Sundays beginning today, is a spinoff of the popular talent search “The Voice PH.” In this iteration, the competition will be among singing duos or groups whose members must be of different generations.
Hosted by Dingdong Dantes, the show kicks off with the Blind Auditions. Once the coaches’ respective teams are complete, the contest proceeds to the knockouts and sing-offs.
How does it feel to be part of a contest that showcases different generations of talents?
Billy: It’s a blessing to be part of something that involves different generations… But there’s one common ground: music. And that’s the beauty of it all. The older generation of artists can learn something from the younger generation and vice versa. It’s a give-and-take relationship.
Chito: I just wanted to be in a band; I didn’t want to do anything else. I didn’t see myself being part of a mainstream show. But about 10 years ago, I was invited to mentor budding artists in a weeklong songwriting camp. That opened me up to experiences I found enjoyable. I found myself teaching and learning at the same time.
That’s when I became more open to being part of shows like this… I also get annoyed when I see myself on television, because I’m talkative and annoying! But my wife (Neri Naig) convinced me, because we have to buy a house!
But seriously, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I thank her for urging me to do this. I was able to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. If you stay in your comfort zone, that’s the farthest you will ever get. So you have to step out and see a new world. It’s refreshing.
What do you think of your fellow coaches?
Chito: We already knew from the start that Julie is an honor student. She can sing without rehearsal. She comes to work with everything memorized. Grabe ‘tong babaeng ‘to. It’s like Billy and I are in row 4!
Stell was a revelation. We know he’s talented because we have seen him perform. But he’s also good at interacting with people… Kulang na lang siya mag-host. Buhat niya ang show.
Billy: I was really impressed with this kid… Here, you will see the real Stell—not as SB19, but as himself. You will see how generous he is as an artist. It’s a pleasure being with young artists like him and Julie… We have different genres, sounds and career plans, but we jibe because we admire each other.
Stell: I’m thankful and happy. I don’t know what to say. I draw strength from my fellow coaches. They’re my source of energy.
Julie: They’re (Chito and Billy) two of the most influential artists here in the country. We look up to them when it comes to songwriting … all the technical things. What we know now we learned from them.
Your past stints in talent shows have been related to hosting. What’s it like to be a coach?
Julie: It’s such an honor. Nakakapanibago and it’s very humbling. It was unexpected because I only saw myself as a host. But now, they got me as one of the coaches.
I’m a product of contests myself, so I know the feeling—what the contestants go through, the screenings, the auditions … all the ups and downs. It’s exciting. I also want to impart what I know from what I have experienced when I was a contestant myself.
You have always wanted to pay it forward.
Julie: It was my dream to become a teacher. My mom is one and I wanted to emulate her. If I weren’t an artist, I would have probably ended up teaching. But still, I wanted to teach, in any way. Then, I was given this opportunity to coach talents. So maybe this is an instrument for me to inspire and motivate people to reach for their dreams.
Who among you often fight over contestants?
Chito: Stell clashes with all the coaches … because all the contestants choose him! So it’s me against Stell; Stell and Julie; or Stell and Billy. So ang target namin talaga ay si Stell.
Stell: I have felt that from the start. Bakit lahat sila against sa ‘kin? Joke lang! I’m just waiting to duke it out with Sir Dong!
I’m not really sure what their reasons are. But what I think is that if we share the same goals, then we will have a smooth working relationship.
As an artist, I know the feeling of being with a person I know I’m going to be comfortable working with. If I’m looking for heartfelt singing and a talent said he can give that, then we can help each other.
What was your reaction when you learned you were going to be a coach?
Stell: To be honest, when this project was offered to me, it didn’t sink in right away. I was like, “Ah, OK.” And then they told me that this is the “The Voice”—you know, the one with the chairs that turn. I was like, “Weh? Is it for an audition” But they told me, ‘No, you’re going to be a coach.’” Tulala ako for two days. I couldn’t practice anything because of that.
What about your bandmates?
Stell: My bandmates told me, “Kunin mo na! ‘Di na namin alam sasabihin sa ‘yo kung hindi mo kinuha ‘yan.” I choose my projects carefully. People have been noticing that other SB19 members have been releasing solo songs or doing solo projects, but I haven’t done a lot.
But I would rather wait for the right project for me, something that I feel will showcase who I am. That’s why I’m happy I was chosen by “The Voice.” The people around me thought that I’m right for the project.
Tell us about the fans, the A’Tins, and how much support you have been getting from them.
Stell: The A’tins are one of the reasons I accepted the project. If there’s no one who believes me, then I wouldn’t be able to trust myself. I’m thankful that even if our group is still relatively new, we’re already getting a lot of love and support. I’m thankful to my new home, GMA 7. I promised myself that I will do my best and show everyone that I deserve my place here. I’m happy to be a Kapuso.
What advice would you like to impart to your teams?
Stell: I believe that once artists become too comfortable with their strengths, they will just stay there. They will be scared to try new things because they know there’s a possibility of failing. So what I will say to my team is that they shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes because that’s part of being an artist and human. It’s normal to make mistakes. You learn from them.
With the right guidance and coaching, the talent will get nurtured. And that’s what we’re willing to do for our teams. I want them to show who they really are. If they’re enjoying themselves, it will show … people will see that.
Billy: Be professional. You have to show up on time. Learning never stops, so you have to study your craft. Do your best and hone your skills.
You should also never forget where you came from. Stay humble. Humility, love and passion can go a long way, whatever career path you choose. All of us here were once dreamers. And we continue to dream.