Madonna sings backup for Pacman
It’s first class all the way when you’re traveling with prizefighter Manny Pacquiao, says singer Madonna Decena.
“We get the VIP treatment everywhere, five-star hotels, first-class food,” Madonna says. “We are greeted by cheering fans at every stop. It feels good.” It’s a far cry from her old life as a struggling singer who worked in a fast-food joint in the United Kingdom to make ends meet.
For YouTube fanatics, she will forever be the single mother from the Philippines who was discovered in the reality show “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2008.
Well, Madonna has a new job now, fronting for Pacman’s MP band, alongside composer Lito Camo. “It’s an honor to work with a living legend [like Manny],” she says. “Lito and I travel with him when he has singing engagements and concerts here and abroad.”
Madonna adds that it’s a “thrill” to share the stage with Manny, but that it’s even more fascinating to watch him in action backstage. “I get to watch the champ… not in the boxing ring but in another arena,” she says. “He never gets nervous before a show.” Or if he gets a mild attack of cold feet, “he quickly gets over it because he knows that Lito and I are behind him.”
In a way, Madonna and Lito are Manny’s “security blankets” (think musical Freddie Roaches). No wonder they were also hired to back up Pacman on the new GMA 7 game show, “Manny, Many Prizes.” (Lito also composed the theme song.)
The boxer-politician has promised to uplift the lives of Filipinos with the prizes to be handed out on the show; one life he has definitely changed is Madonna’s. More than the perks of show biz, she considers her homecoming as the ultimate gift from the Pacman.
“I was able to come home to my [two] daughters,” she notes. “He put an end to my days as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). Now I’m based in the Philippines and can be a hands-on mom. Sometimes I even take my kids to work.”
Apart from being a YouTube sensation, she is now known as the champ’s back-up singer.
“I’m proud of that,” she says. “I’m happy to be part of his new game show. We will go on tour and hopefully the champ will be given the chance to change more lives all over the country and in other parts of the world.”
She’s raring to hit the road again with the Pacman.
“I’m also looking forward to the album we’re recording now,” she says. “It’s produced by the man himself. It’s a very special compilation and I hope it will open more doors for me.”
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