By Yugel Losorata
Respect is the operative word in bridging the gap between young singers and those who made it before them. For seasoned balladeer Martin Nievera, there’s somewhat a lack of it in the way the younger generation is valuing his era’s effort in carrying the torch of OPM.
Last Wednesday, I bumped with the Concert King at Solaire’s Eclipse bar and we quick-chatted about OPM pioneer tributes and how the local music landscape has changed. He related, “I still think the pioneers are the ones who will keep the music alive. They were the ones who paved the way for me.”
On cue and without pinpointing a particular culprit, he shared his thought about the glaring gap between the glorious past and the flourishing present, saying, “For me, I don’t think these young singers have the same feeling about what we have done in paving the way for them. For as long as they’re not willing to embrace such reality and if they think they have made it here by themselves, they’re not going to last in this business. They have to acknowledge the pioneers. That’s why we have tributes for Basil (Valdez), Rico J. Puno, and others.”
Martin is an endorser of Solaire Resort and Casino. He said he was brought in for his “opinion when it comes to the industry and music.”
He was checking on Davao-based Chad Borja crooning live when I saw him. He pushed for Chad’s three-set gig of standards at the high-end bar in line with his belief that “he should have a classy place with the way he has come back” and that “successful artists who have not been around long enough to get a tribute” deserve proper venues for them to still showcase what they got.
It’s really unfair for people to call someone a has-been especially when the latter clearly triumphed at some point and must have laid low by choice or circumstances. Going to a gig of someone with a classic hit or two is acknowledging that artist’s accomplishment and relevance.
He tackled, “Dapat buhayin natin ulit ang pwesto (regular three-set gigs). That’s how I learned to sing and interact with my audience, drunk or not drunk. It’s paying your dues. Yung ganung klaseng kayod hindi alam ng ilang bagong singers.”
He must be talking about some undeserving overnight sensations or overrated prima donnas.
Hoping to do a couple of more albums with Polyeast Records before his contract expires next year, Martin is likely to perform at Solaire’s Theater at the end of this year. He mused, “If I stop singing, I’ll die. No such thing as small or big show. Every show deserves the same passion from the artist featured.”