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Mr. Jose Mari Chan has a wish for young singers: “I’m really hoping that they can revive and cover my songs to give them a new lease in life.”

By Allan Diones / Published on Monday, 22 Jan 2018 15:09 PM / No Comments / 1218 views

CHRISTMAS ICON kung ituring ang hitmaker and singer-songwriter na si Mr. Jose Mari Chan dahil sa kanyang wildly phenomenal hit na Christmas in Our Hearts.

Tuwing sumasapit ang buwan ng Setyembre sa Pilipinas, isa ang Christmas in Our Hearts sa pinakaunang tinutugtog sa radyo, sa mga mall at kung saan-saan pa, na naghuhudyat na simula na ng BER months at malapit na ang Pasko.

Aware si Mr. Chan sa bagay na ‘yon at alam din niyang may mga naglabasang memes sa internet tungkol sa kanya at sa kanta niya na may konek sa Pasko. Tawa niya, meron pa na ginawa siyang isang karakter sa Game of Thrones.

Anong pakiramdam niya na isa na siyang Christmas icon at ang taguri sa kanya ay Father of Philippine Christmas Music?

“It’s a wonderful blessing. But I would like to share that with others. I will not live forever. I would like OPM to get stronger and to live forever. Sincerely, sincerely,” sambit ni Sir Joe.

Dugtong niya pa, “I’m complimented. I’m flattered. But I don’t want them to call me Mr. Christmas, because there’s only one King of Christmas. That’s Baby Jesus. So, let me be called The Little Drummer Boy That Heralds the Season. Christmas is coming!”

Sa labis na kasikatan ng Christmas duet na ‘yon ni Mr. Joe with his daughter Liza Chan-Parpan, kapag nagsu-show siya sa Europe o sa US, kahit Abril o Nobyembre ay lagi siyang hinihilingang kantahin ang Christmas in Our Hearts, pati na ang isa pa niyang song na A Perfect Christmas.

Sa tuwing inaawit niya ito ay nakikita niya sa mukha ng mga kababayan natin na nami-miss ng mga ito ang kanilang pamilya sa ‘Pinas. Kaya ang sumunod niyang Christmas album na Going Home to Christmas ay tribute niya sa lahat ng mga OFW.

Interesting kuwento pa ni Mr. Chan, nang minsang mag-show siya sa Tubod, Lanao del Norte na puro Muslim ang nasa audience, maging ang mga ito ay ni-request na kantahin niya ang Christmas in Our Hearts.

“And the whole gym was singing along. It was so touching. It showed me that the song has transcended religion,” medyo emosyonal na bulalas ni Sir Jomari doon sa ipinatawag niyang Italian lunch nu’ng Sabado para bigyan ng Double Platinum awards ang lahat ng nakatrabaho niya sa album na Going Home to Christmas.

Mr. Jose Mari Chan is considered a Christmas Icon because of the phenomenal success of his song, 'Christmas in Our Hearts'
One of the internet memes featuring Mr. Jomari Chan, whose hit song 'Christmas in Our Hearts' seems to officially herald the Christmas season in the Philippines each year
Mr. Chan as the Night King in 'Game of Thrones'

An all-Pinoy Christmas album?

Aminado si Mr. Chan na nabubuhay ang singing career niya tuwing Christmas season dahil sa kanyang walang kamatayang Christmas hit na taong 1990 pa niya ni-release.

Aniya, every Christmas, his songs come alive again at napagtanto niya na ang genre ng Christmas music ay universal and generic. It doesn’t change. That’s why he decided to have a sequel to Christmas in Our Hearts—ito ngang Going Home to Christmas released in 2012.

Natatawang kuwento ni Mr. Joe, last Christmas ay kinuha siyang endorser ng Uniqlo, Shakey’s at Samsung. Nu’ng sinabi niya ito sa kanyang mga apo ay tiningnan daw siya ng mga ito na parang ayaw maniwala sa kanya.

Totoo bang hindi na siya gagawa ng pop album at puro Christmas songs na lang ang ire-record niya?

“You know, there are not too much things you can say about Christmas,” sey ng 72-anyos na Chinese-Filipino singer.

Aniya, kulang na lang ay he talks about Santa Claus. In his original Christmas songs ay walang mention ng Santa. Tempted din siya to write about snow, pero ang sinulat niya sa kantang Christmas Past ay ‘cotton snow’ dahil du’n siya pamilyar—sa snow na gawa sa bulak na nasa Christmas tree nila nu’ng paslit pa siya.

Ayon kay Sir Jomari, Going Home to Christmas is probably his second and last Christmas album because he’s said it all and it will just be repetitive and redundant.

2008 pa pala ang kanyang last all-original album na Heart’s Journey, which radio did not support kaya ang songs daw dito did not become hits.

Meron siyang Tagalog song na Pinoy Na Krismas sa GHTC na sinulat ni Ogie Alcasid ang vocals by Moy Ortiz and The CompanY.

Open si Mr. Chan sa suggestion na gumawa siya ng all-Tagalog Christmas album. If ever ay gusto niya raw maglagay dito ng original Ilonggo Christmas song that he grew up with.

The album cover of Mr. Jomari Chan's Double Diamond Record Awardee, 'Christmas in Our Hearts' released in 1990
The cover of Mr. Chan's 'sequel' to 'Christmas in Our Hearts' -- 'Going Home to Christmas' released in 2012, and is now Double Platinum/ ©allandiones.com

Fifty years of music

Last year ay 50 years na si Mr. Jomari Chan sa recording business.

“It has been a wonderful, exciting, very challenging, but fun journey for me,” sabi ng legendary singer.

“I’m happy for myself. But for the general OPM and the community of songwriters, I feel very bad for them na there’s not much support.”

Sa panahong ito na sobrang nag-iba na ang music industry landscape dala na rin ng modern technology, nabanggit ni Mr. Chan na, “Perhaps one way to perpetuate my songs is to have them covered and revived by the young artists.”

Aniya, last month ay nag-produce ang ABS-CBN ng show sa Solaire na tribute to his music and they had young singers like Jona, Juris, Acapellago, etc.

“So, I’m really hoping that this young artists can revive and cover my songs to give them a new lease in life. Just like when ABS-CBN used A Love to Last a Lifetime for their teleserye and Please Be Careful with My Heart with Jodi Sta. Maria.

“So, I’m in touch with ABS-CBN and I’m hoping that there are other Tagalog songs that I have that they can use.”

Sir Joe at the Italian lunch he hosted in Caruso resto in Makati, where he gave Double Platinum Awards to everyone involved in the production of the album, 'Going Home to Christmas'/ ©allandiones.com

Biggest-selling Filipino album of all-time

Ang Constant Change album ni Sir Joe nu’ng 1989 ang pinakaunang local album na ginawaran ng Diamond Record Award. Umabot sa 400,000+ copies nito ang nabenta. Kasama sa nasabing album ang hit songs niyang Beautiful Girl, Please Be Careful with My Heart, atbp..

Ang Christmas in Our Hearts nu’ng 1990 ang first-ever local album na umabot sa Double Diamond status with more than 850,000 copies sold, making it the all-time biggest-selling album in the Philippine recording industry.

Because of the dramatic drop in record sales, the industry has lowered the Gold and Platinum standards here in the PH.

Before the year 2000, Gold was 20K copies and Platinum was 40K copies. Kaya nu’ng maka-10X Platinum ang Constant Change, it was the first to be given the Diamond Record Award.

Sa panahon ngayon, ang Gold ay 7,500 copies na lang, ang Platinum ay 15K copies.

Digital na ang labanan ngayon. Mr. Chan’s albums are also available now on iTunes, Spotify and CD Baby and he says he regular gets cheques from these digital stores every 6 months for royalties.

Ayaw niyang ipalagay ang songs niya sa YouTube dahil hindi na raw bibilhin ang CD’s niya kung nasa YouTube na ito, eh hindi naman daw siya binabayaran ng YouTube.

“A few recording companies have actually shut down. And sadly, a few of the record outlets have also closed down. So, it’s a very sad state. And many times, I worry about the future of OPM because this situation is not encouraging young songwriters to continue writing,” sambit ni Mr. Chan.

“The technology itself has overtaken all us. You know, 40 years ago, there’s no such thing as music sharing. You have to go and buy your own record in Raon (sa Maynila), to buy your own cassette, you have to buy your own CD.

“Nowadays, ‘May kopya ka ba nu’ng kanta? Pakopya nga, pakopya nga!’ In 5 minutes, she can make me a copy of the CD. You can download from YouTube without having to pay,” sentimyento pa ng batikang mang-aawit.

Mr. Jomari Chan's three sons are all singer-songwriters like him: (L-R) Michael Philip, Jose Antonio & Francisco Rafael

Like father like sons

Ang tatlong anak na lalaki ni Sir Joe na sina Michael Philip, Jose Antonio at Francisco Rafael ay pawang singer-songwriters din.

Si Michael ay may album na Five Corners which won Best Jazz Recording. Si Joe composes his own songs at may band na Generation kasama ang mga anak nina Celeste Legaspi at Sampaguita. Si Franco ay may nasulat na ring mga kanta.

Himutok ni Mr. Chan, foreign hits like Despacito ang madalas i-play sa mga radyo sa bansa, bihira ang mga kanta ng Pinoy artists. Kaya wish niyang suportahan at itaguyod ng gobyerno ang OPM.

Kasama sina Mike, Joe at Franco sa Going Home to Christmas CD, so ka-join sila sa mga binigyan ng award sa Caruso Italian resto.

As a producer and artist, in-acknowledge ni Mr. Jomari Chan ang collective creative work ng arrangers, musicians, co-writers and fellow artists and singers that put together the album, kaya lahat sila ay binigyan niya ng kanya-kanyang Double Platinum Award.

Hindi nakarating sina Ogie Alcasid, Gerard Salonga, atbp., kaya ipapadala na lang ni Mr. Chan ang respective awards nila via courier.

Mr. Chan with the singers, writers, arrangers and artists involved in 'Going Home to Christmas' with their Double Platinum Awards/ ©allandiones.com

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