- Do you have Filipino blood?
Not that I know of, but I'm a mix of a lot of things. My last name is Italian, and I'm of Italian descent on my father's side. My mother is Jewish/German, but I was born and raised in the USA.
- Where did you grow up?
Charlotte, North Carolina ("Tar Heels" represent!) ;) haha
- Why did you decide to visit the Philippines and what do you like the most about the Philippines?
My best friend in the US is Pinoy. Growing up around his wonderful family including his adorable karaoke loving grandfather was my first introduction to Filipinos. When I started performing on cruise ships after high school there were a lot of Pinoys working on board and a lot of them became my good friends. It was some of these friends that first invited me to visit the Philippines. My first trip to the Philippines was two of the best weeks of my life, and I immediately decided I had to come back.
- Are you living in the Philippines for good?
I love the Philippines, but I also love my home country and all of my family is there including my four brothers and one sister so at this time I'm just country hopping back and forth doing shows, collaborating with artists, and hanging out with friends.
- Have you met Sarah Geronimo?
Hindi pa, but I'm really looking forward to meeting her one day.
- How did you start writing songs with Filipino artists like Mark Bautista?
My first introduction to the Philippines music business was when Nyoy Volante recorded one of my original songs for his latest album on MCA/Universal, and through that we became good friends. Once Nyoy recorded my song other artists became interested in writing songs with me for their albums as well. I'm really proud of the song Mark Bautista and I wrote together. It hasn't been released yet, but I'm sure it will be before long.
- What inspires your art and what are the main challenges of being an artist?
There are four things that inspire my art: Girls, Opposition, Friendship, and the chance to make someone laugh :)
- How are you related to "Mian Dimacali" the girl in your music video for your "Naiisip Mo Ba"?
I saw her perform in the musical RENT in Manila. The cast was amazing, but she was the standout performer in show, and as soon as I saw her I knew I wanted to work with her in some regard. When I was casting my music video I thought she would be perfect to play "my girlfriend". The girl I wrote the song for is also the same Filipina "morena" type and she thought Mian would be perfect as well. Mian and I are just friends :)
- What is it about Yeng Constantino that makes you like her?
I love the passion and effort that she puts into everything she does. I love her sincerity. I love the way she dresses. I love the sound of her voice both when she sings or speaks in both English and Tagalog. I think Yeng is a great role model for girls. She's really herself and she doesn't hide who she is, and I think that's sexy, haha. Ok, so …everything. ;)
- What inspired you to start learning Tagalog?
The first OPM performer I saw in concert was Rico Blanco and he instantly became my favorite Filipino songwriter and artist. I started learning his song "Antukin" because I just thought it sounded super cool. Of course I wanted to know what the lyrics meant so that's how I started learning Tagalog. Every new Tagalog song teaches me more as I learn what the words I'm singing mean. Because of this I'm much better at reading, writing, and singing Tagalog than I am at speaking it or understanding when it's spoken to me. "nose bleed", haha.
- What made you want to write "Taglish" songs?
Part of my inspiration was Rico because I like the way he uses English phrases in his Tagalog songs. The main reason though was that I thought it would be chance for me to help bring OPM, the Philippines, and the Tagalog language to a larger audience …sort of the way that K-pop has brought Korean to a larger audience by also mixing in a lot of English. I think multi-lingual music is the wave of the future.
- Who are you going to collaborate with next?
Not sure yet, but I really want to collaborate with Yeng on an English or "Taglish" song.
- Are you courting Yeng Constantino?
Yeng and I are already married …she just doesn't know it yet ;)
- What is your favorite Tagalog song?
- What was your most unforgettable childhood experience?
My dad singing me lullabies as I fell asleep.
- Do you have "regular gigs" …where and when?
I want every gig to be a new, exciting, challenging experience ...so for that reason I don't play shows at one particular venue or kind of venue on a regular basis. Instead I choose to constantly move from one type of venue to another which I think is more fun. My first major concert in the Philippines will be my album launch show in about 4-5 weeks. Setting up a date and time now.
- What's your birthday?
Feb 9, 1985
- Who is your crush?
- What's your beauty secret?
Hmmm, I'm beautiful? Nice. Well, then I just hope that my music lasts much longer than my looks, haha ;)
- What's your motto or advice.
Life is too short to not enjoy your "work". Start pursuing your passion as early in life as you possibly can and mainly just work harder at it than everyone else. If you do you'll probably be successful :)
- Is there a chance that you're going to visit and perform in Cebu?
Sure hope so! I haven't been to Cebu yet, but I can't wait to visit!
- Are you single?
- What makes Filipino songs different from other songs you've heard?
I think every word of every language has a melody of it's own. A natural way of being spoken that leads to the way it is sung. The Tagalog language has a melody all it's own, and I enjoy being part of that melody.
- Is it possible that you could fall in love with someone who's not related to the entertainment industry?
oo naman. (of course)
- Where are you learning Tagalog?
No formal study at this point, just friends, necessity, and songs.
- Who are you musical inspirations?
Too many to list but a couple of the top inspirations are Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Billy Joel, Elton John, Savage Garden, Def Leppard, and Rico Blanco.
- Have you signed with any Philippines network (ie. ABS-CBN/GMA/TV 5)
Hindi pa (not yet)
- If you could be one Filipino dish what would it be and why?
Buko juice …because it's so healthy, hydrating, and refreshing! :)
- Are you planning on performing anymore in the US?
Yes, I'm going to be back in the US for a couple of shows in the fall. This year I'm mostly concentrated on my shows in South East Asia though. Next year I plan on setting up a longer tour of the US.
- Have you ever eaten "Balot"?
Nope, and it's not on my "bucket list", haha.
- Things on your "Bucket List"?
Marry Yeng Constantino …perform on ASAP & Party Pilipinas …be able to walk on stage and have thousands of fans singing along with a couple hours worth of my original songs.
- Naiintindihan mo po ba pag kinausap ka in Tagalog?
oo, naintindihan ko.
- What was the sweetest thing you did for love?
I've literally flown all the way around the world just to spend a couple days with the person I love.
- Have you done guestings on TV shows in the Philippines?
Yes, "MU Live" on MYX, "Hompage" morning show on NET 25, and "Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho" on GMA.
- Can you write a song for your fans?
Every song I write is for my fans, so in a way they're all "about" my fans as well :)
- How long did it take you to be that good?
I practice guitar, do vocal exercises, and write songs every single day. I think to be successful you can never really believe you're "good enough". I've been playing guitar for 10 years, writings songs for 16 years, and singing for 5 years.
- What/who inspired you to sing in the, Philippines? Will this be just in passing?
So many things inspired me to share my music in the Philippines, but mainly it's just my love of being "in" the Philippines. I'm not sure where my art will take me. Being an artist means changing. I'm a perfectionist though, so I will never release any material that I don't think is great, and I will only write songs that come from my heart and that have a message I believe in.
- When will you sing a Filipino song your own composition, or did you just make one?
I've already written three original "Taglish" songs and one original "Tagalog" song. Two of the "Taglish" songs I've written are included on my upcoming album. They are titled "Naiisip Mo Ba" & "(I'll Do Anything) Para Sa 'Yo"
- What places in the Philippines do you recommend a tourist should visit?
I think a tourist should visit as many of the islands as possible. Every one that I've been to so far is magnificent in it's own unique way.
- What is the meaning of life?