Sunday, April 24, 2011

Behind-The-Scenes with Yeng Constantino

(Posted March 26, 2011)

To be honest after Yeng Constantino recently won a whopping 5 MYX
Awards I was tempted to write something to celebrate her artistry. The
outcome of the said awards (which were based on text and online votes
plus votes by music industry peers) further solidified her title as
the country's reigning rock princess. True enough she is an artist to
reckon with: An amazing composer who has a penchant for bringing to
life catchy songs. An emerging fashion icon who is becoming known for
her fresh, edgy looks. A powerful songstress whose voice echoes
youthful fierceness minus the negativity.

Yet I'm drawn to write about the girl behind the rockstar.
So far I've only worked with Yeng for I think less than a year but I
would have to say I loved every moment of it.

I would like to share with you some of my personal behind-the-scenes
moments with Yeng:

*After a show I remember Yeng luring us to join her in the room to
have chitchat only to find out we're going to watch "Ang Dating Daan".
I suspect she was sneakily trying to convert us so I foiled her
plan. She became the butt of our jokes that night yet ironically we
still ended up watching almost a full episode of the said show. Hahaha

* At a bus before a concert, we played tic-tac-toe in her iPad. I
remember being good at this game when I was in grade school so I know
I have a good chance of beating her. But of course to test the
competition I showed false humility... "Yeng Hindi ako Magaling dito
ha" to which she replied "ako din kuya". Game after game she kept on
winning and her usual script was "Hindi kuya chamba Lang". Lo and
behold, After probably ten games... She won Nine. Behind the humble
front was a deceiving tic-tac-toe expert.

* Yeng had a gig at Sta.Rosa, Laguna that would start at 10am. Coming from a live shoot of ABSCBN's Music Uplate she won't have time to sleep in
between gigs (by the way, lack of sleep before a performance to some
singers can be synonymous to "vocal suicide". For some, It can also be
used as a valid excuse to pull out the infamous "Diva" card). Yet she
did not put up an attitude. On the contrary, by the time the she got
on stage she turned the crowd upside down. She went to the far end of
the street even climbed on top of an Innova just to connect with her
audience. The mayor and all the organizers were surprised at her raw
energy and sheer vocal strength. Honest to goodness, it was one of the
best live performances I've ever seen in my life. Yet surprisingly after the show she was positively concerned about how coarse her voice sounded like. I was like "huh? we didn't even noticed". Interestingly, the sound of
the roaring and approving crowd didn't even register in her head.

Afterwards, we impulsively decided to visit a nearby park where she
rode the bicycle, fed the fishes and enjoyed a boat ride. The smile on
her face that day was priceless. It's amazing to see this woman- who just hours ago held the multitudes at the palm of her hand- find greater joy in the simplest of things. Beneath the rockstar was a kid.

* We were at our Cornerstone Party. It was a fun night. Yet deep
inside I was in a difficult place. I was questioning the faith that I
grew up in. My view of life at that time wasn't particularly rosy.
I was only watching all the others enjoy the night until Yeng came to
my side. We started talking which eventually lasted for hours. She didn't give any prolific advice . There were no deep insights. We just shared our
questions and frustrations. She just stayed with me and we vented
together- and vented we did. It was fun and very much comforting but most importantly it was liberating.

I guess this is where her magic lies- be it in life or with her music.
Her songs (Jeepney Lovestory, Salamat, Hawak Kamay, among many others) talk about people's heartaches and aspirations captured in
lyrics and images taken from a uniquely Filipino point of view. As such (in much the same way as how she affected me at the party) Her music allows its listeners to be true to who they are, where they are... and at the same time inspires them to be more.

To be honest, dealing with high profile artists can be a tricky thing.
Because of the nature of their work, sometimes it's hard to
differentiate what's real and what's just PR. With Yeng, it was never
an issue. Her honesty- which appears to be the core value affecting
her every work of art- is simply a breath of fresh air.

It is indeed a pleasure being part of Yeng's management team but more
so to be her fan. And in the sea of rising and falling stars, for me- and I say this with all bias possible- Siya Ang mananatiling "Reyna ng Gabi".

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