As one of the most prolific songwriters and record producers in the country, Jonathan Manalo marks his 20th year in the business with an all-star compilation album, a reimagination of his hits that have become part of every Filipino’s OPM playlist.
Speaking to Manila Standard Entertainment, Manalo shared the process of selecting the songs that will be included in the upcoming double-album entitled Lyric & Beat.
“It’s a tedious process. We have selected 20 familiar songs that I’m very proud that they’ve become part of my body of work. Ito yung mga songs na sibayan ako ng tao na kumanta. There are songs like ‘Patuloy Ang Pangarap’ of Angeline Quinto na naging contest piece,”Manalo, known for his moniker Mr. Music, started.
“The titles we selected were either signature songs or songs that will complement the voice of participating artists. It’s a celebration of music. That’s the umbrella theme of the album,” ABS-CBN Music’s Creative Director went on.
To date, Manalo has released more than 300 recordings of his compositions, some of his notable Pop hits are, Pinoy Big Brother’s theme “Pinoy Ako”, Gary Valenciano’s “Ililigtas Ka Niya,” Ice Seguerra’s “Para Lang Sa’ Yo”, Itchyworms’s “Kabataang Pinoy”, and Piolo Pascual and Sarah Geronimo’s “Paano Ba Ang Magmahal.”
He has produced and released more than 200 albums for various artists with 75 Multi-platinum and 100 Gold PARI Certifications. He is the creative mind behind key albums and full discographies of artists like Erik Santos, Kyla, Charice, Piolo Pascual, Juris, Toni Gonzaga, Jed Madela, KZ Tandingan, Inigo Pascual, Yeng Constantino, and Moira De La Torre.
He has also produced more than 100 soundtracks and theme songs for TV and movie, most recently of which is the theme song for the breakout series He’s Into Her interpreted by BGYO. the single was awarded the Best National Song by Asian Academy Creative Awards.
Last year, Manalo was awarded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as one of the Ten Outstanding Music Artists of the last decade.
Despite being a multi-awarded songwriter (he’s a recipient of more than 200 awards and nominations from Awit Awards, Katha Music Awards, Star Awards For Music, Metro Manila Film Festival, Catholic Mass Media Awards, New York Festivals, Walk On Water Awards, and many more), Manalo had encountered many rejections before getting his first “Yes” that paved the way to his success.
“I had received so many ‘Nos’ in my life. I still get a few rejections until now. But the first ‘Yes’ that I got that changed my life was Himig Handog Song Fest,” he stated.
He was the grand prize winner of the 2001 Himig Handog Song Fest for the song “Tara Tena” and also a winner of the 2003 Metropop Song Festival by GMA 7.
Manalo’s message to those who aspire to be like him: “Don’t lose the fire. It’s your passion that’s going to keep you consistently fired up to become the best that you can be. Equip yourself, learn everything that you can to hone your craft.”
He also said that success is attributed to this equation—50 percent talent and 50 percent character. Manalo rose from the ranks and started from the bottom like everyone else. He remained consistent and his staying power can be attributed he said to one’s strength of character.
When asked what is up next for him, Manalo was so excited to announce his co-ownership of the Academy Of Rock Philippines franchise in the country together with its founder, Singaporean businesswoman Priscila Teo-Lim, visual artist Kristine Lim, Record Producer Rox Santos, businessman Junior Gan and actors Enchong Dee and Joshua Garcia.
Lastly, he is currently planning for his anniversary concert this October and a special collaboration project with Kristine Lim, first-of-its-kind music and art fusion project.