When all you know is poverty and the only skill you have is your voice it’s quite natural to wonder “how do you become famous for singing“. No matter what country you live in people find themselves in poverty looking for a way out and some countries may have it tougher than others.
One single mother is looking for her way out through singing. Omglobe.com reports that Phillipines’ musicians are singing their way out of poverty.
On a mock-up stage in a Philippine music studio, single-mum Joanna Talibong is singing for her life.
The former church-choir girl is nervous and struggling to stay in key as she battles through more than a dozen takes of the syrupy Olivia Newton-John ballad “Suddenly”.
If she and keyboard-playing friend Jason Panggoy can get their video-demo right, they stand a chance of securing a series of gigs in South Korea that would enable them to start a long journey out of crushing poverty.
“I did not finish college, so I don’t have many job options… overseas I can earn a lot more,” the carpenter’s daughter tells AFP during a break from singing at the studio in a rundown quarter of Manila, the country’s capital.
Roughly nine million Filipinos, or 10 percent of the population, work overseas because there are so few job opportunities in their largely impoverished homeland.
While many toil as largely anonymous maids, sailors, construction workers and labourers in foreign countries, tens of thousands also stand under spotlights entertaining crowds as singers and musicians.
Joanna earns $3.50 a night working in a bar in the Phillipines but:
Her manager has lined up a six-month booking for Talibong and Panggoy at bars in South Korea that would pay them each $800 a month, and she knows exactly where her first pay cheques would be be spent.
“My priority is an operation for my son’s clubbed foot. That’s really my goal. That’s what’s pushing me to work really hard,” says Talibong, who is just 21 years old.
But first the duo’s demo tape — which also includes a Taylor Swift and Matchbox 20 numbers — must pass muster with the artist review board in Seoul, a review process that takes about a month.
Their manager, Wilma Ipil, who has been sending an average of two bands to South Korea every month since 2008, concedes the duo may not get the gig, amid growing competition from other Filipino talents trying to make it overseas.
How do you become a famous singer – your motivation
So not everyone has the same driving factor for becoming a singer. One is the love for the craft, andother can be that this is your god given talent and with Joanna it’s her love for her sons well-being.
Things are in varying degrees of ‘tough’ for each and everyone of us in one way or another, but when you hear stories such as Joanna’s you can’t help but hope that someone will give her a break soon.
Nevertheless, the demand for Filipino performers overseas is enormous, according to Jackson Gan, the head of the music studio where Talibong is recording her demo.
“Our only competition is ourselves. The whole world knows that if you have a low budget but need quality, you get Filipino talent,” says Gan, who also acts as an agent for other export acts.
Gan estimates between 25,000 and 30,000 Filipino musicians and singers play in 3,000 clubs, hotels, cruise ships and restaurants around the world at any one time. The pay generally ranges from $800-1,500 a month, according to Gan.
He says even Malaysian, Indonesian, Australian, and Chinese bands tend to recruit Filipina lead singers.
Gan attributes the success of Filipino performers overseas to the deep roles music and dance have in local culture.
Singing contests are often the highlights of village fairs and beauty contests, while song and dance are a staple of the most popular national television game shows.
I guess singing at your local bar is an almost obvious choice, where as singing in a foreign land can be an adventure. You may ask have any of these guys got a recording contract following this path?
The most famous is Arnel Pineda, who for many years fronted Filipino bands in Manila bars and in Hong Kong.
His big break came in 2007 when members of US rock group Journey were looking for a new lead singer and saw clips of him singing the band’s songs on YouTube.
Pineda was hired soon after an audition in the United States, and his first album fronting the band debuted in the top 10 of the American Billboard Charts. Pineda and Journey continue to perform at sold-out concerts around the world.
So how far would you step outside of your comfort zone in the pursuit of a singing career? The question ‘How do you become famous for singing‘ doesn’t seem to have a single straightforward single answer. It seems it can be achieved by numerous pathways, so it may be better to see it as more of a journey rather than just a destination.
Here’s a way you can help.
Please click the like and share buttons below or to the left of this post if you think it’s about time someone close to you deserved a break too.