No! This is neither about the most influential celebrity talk show host Oprah Winfrey nor an analysis of the mystical princess Odette from the classical ballet Swan Lake and why it is considered as one of the greatest ballets of all time.
In today’s Arias, allow me to introduce to you millennials, the musical genius and legacy of the statuesque and almost like a supermodel for real, Ms. Odette Quesada.
During my wonder years, which was of course during the decadent era of the ‘80s, Quesada first gained prominence when she won second place at the 1982 Metro Manila Pop Music Festival with the song “Give Me A Chance” as interpreted by the hunk du jour of the time, Ric Segreto.
When you first hear Segreto croons the lines, “I need you, it’s all that I can say…” which had the requisite ache and longing, immediately, the Generation X demographics were hooked.
Add the fact that the late Segreto was handsome with smoldering sensuality, it was a no brainer that this song from Quesada became a national anthem instantaneously, with a lot of airplay in the top FM stations and the record, sold like the hot pan de sal.
Her artistic collaborations with Segreto then always made me wonder if there was more to their singer and songwriter professional relationship because two of her best songs, it was Segreto who gave life and meaning to them. If they did play beautiful music on a personal level, that I do not have the answer.
Quesada’s mushy songs are like the hugot songs of now only with upper middle class sensibilities. They were always written in the King’s language. It had rhyme and rhythm, easy listening and never failed to melt one’s heart like the M & M’s.
Her next big hit came a year after in 1983, she snagged her first place Metropop win with “Til I Met You,” which was performed by the Philippines’ Ice Queen and Pop Diva, Kuh Ledesma.
The rest of my generation’s wonder years were filled with her music. Most of her compositions, interpreted by the best years of our lives singing superstars.
Some fine samples, in the ultimate coming of age movie Bagets, which starred Herbert Bautista, JC Bonnin, Raymond Lauchencgo, William Martinez, and Aga Muhlach, some of its most iconic ditties such as “I Need You Back,” “Growing Up” and the graduation anthem “Farewell,” Quesada compositions.
Lauchengco was the voice for “I Need You Back” and “Farewell,” and Gary Valenciano did “Growing Up.”
Some songs from Hotshots, the first and only of director Jeric Soriano, the father of director Paul Soriano, specifically “Reaching Out” by Valenciano, as well as “Shadow of Time” by Lauchengco, are also being credited to her even if she did not write them.
One of the Megastar Sharon Cuneta’s biggest songs, which was also the title of her movie with the late Miguel Rodriguez, “To Love Again,” Quesada also composed it. And I am so freaking sure that the millennials nowadays, with YouTube readily available, have heard and are familiar with these songs made by Odette.
May some Gen Z members can relate to her other compositions and the songs she sang such as “Friend of Mine,” “You’re My Home,” “Dito Lang,” and “Wala Nang Nasa Isip.”
Majority of Quesada’s songs have been revived by so many Filipino top-selling singing artists.
Aside from being a songwriter, Odette can also sing. You have heard “Friend of Mine,” of course, it has become the official song of the friendzoned, right?
Quesada possesses a unique voice. When she sings, it has a purity to it, undoubtedly feminine, you immediately feel that this woman is in love and it does not matter whether that love was unrequited or consummated, she expresses her emotions through her songs with a lot of truthfulness.
Her songs, the lyrics, and their melodies can make you stop what you are doing. Every word and every line, allows the listener to recollect many firsts - look of love, kiss, tighter than tight embraces, the feel of his or her hand holding yours, kilig, fights, heartbreak and all the things we experience with a great romance that has become for keeps or is now a memory remembered with a smile and some welling of tears, perhaps?
To borrow the lines from a song that I wished Quesada also wrote, Janis Ian’s “At 17,” to those of us who knew the pain, and the Valentine’s that never came and to all the believers still of true love, Ms. O, after three decades of being in the US, is back in Manila to celebrate not only her birthday but also to give us, her adoring fans her timeless songs with Odette Quesada, Hopeless Romantic, which will happen at the BGC Arts Center.
On Jan. 17, the kick-off night’s special guest is Kuh Ledesma. Sharon Cuneta joins her on the finale shindig on Jan. 18.
Tickets for Odette Quesada, Hopeless Romantic are available online via Ticketworld or call 02-88919999.
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