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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

OJ Mariano aims to do more

While other artists dare not tread other paths for their musicality to attain greater heights, OJ Mariano never ceases to break new grounds, displaying his vocal talent the best way he knows how.

After his stint on the now defunct Singing Bee on ABS-CBN, gigs here and abroad keep him from being idle. He has also released two albums in a span of short time: One Dream Come True and Ballads. Both albums proved him the right to be called Soulful Balladeer. OJ’s latest album OJ Mariano Ballads Premium Edition, released under Star Records, is still out in the market. His previous releases became part of Kapamilya soaps like Hanggang Dito Na Lang which was included in the Lobo original soundtrack while Sana’y Malaman Mo became the theme song of the Mexican TV soap El Cuerpo. He had also done concerts in the past.

But OJ seemingly wants to do more. This time, his feet have led him to the theater stage. He starred in such theatrical plays as Dulaang UP’s Isang Panaginip Na Fili and Rent, which had three successful runs. Currently, he is in the cast of Sweet Charity, staging at the Carlos P. Romulo auditorium in RCBC Plaza until Aug. 27.

According to OJ, he tried theater a year ago and, eventually, liked the idea of singing and acting on stage.

“I’m enjoying theater very much because of the kind of discipline you can get and the kind of training it has,” begins OJ. “It’s overwhelming as theater covers almost all aspects — singing, acting, dancing. Even the way you present yourself to people will improve and most especially you will know how to play your character well.”

He, too, has learned to value time. He comes to rehearsals on time or earlier so there will be no time wasted. “They (theater people) are very strict on time. If you arrive late, it is automatically deducted from your rehearsal fee. What’s good about it is you get to perfect your role when you have more time to practise.”

Asked where he prefers to be seen more — on TV or on stage, OJ replies, “Right now, I prefer doing theater due to the kind of satisfaction I get every after performance. You get immediate response from the audience. The advantage of appearing on TV is you get to be recognized by more people whether they are in the province or abroad.”

But OJ quickly adds he is eager to do a concert once again. His last show, In Love with the Balladeers, was in February of last year. Thus, tomorrow, Aug. 18, 8 p.m. at the Music Museum, OJ is set to mesmerize the audience with songs that are meaningful to him. Titled Playlist, the show will see him performing solo and on a duet with guests Sitti and Carla Guevarra. Novo Concertantes and Pole Cats will also take part in the show.

“Playlist is a combination of songs that I like but I haven’t performed yet. This is a mixture of songs I listen to now — Broadway, OPM, classic songs and new ones.”

OJ will also render a song dedicated to his friend who passed away recently. “I’ll be singing Circle of Life from The Lion King with Novo Concertantes because that was what my friend, who was also a member of the choir, often performed solo during our shows abroad. It’s like a tribute to him.”

Being a product of a talent search himself, having placed second runner-up in Star in a Million, what can OJ say about the new crop of singers flooding the music scene now?

“They are real talents and I think a talent contest is one good avenue for singers because in my case for example, nobody knew about me and Star in a Million became a good starting point.”

The only advice he could give is “for them (new singers) not to allow success go to their heads because if they do, it will be the start of their fall.

“Success is great. But for me, as long as people recognize my talent, okay na yun.”


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