Rico Blanco is back in the music scene after parting ways with his band Rivermaya in May 2007.
The former frontman of the 15-year-old Pinoy rock band Rivermaya presented his new solo album Your Universe to fans and media through a "mini" concert, which was held last Friday, September 3, at the Cinema 5 of Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City.
Since he's now a solo artist, after leaving his band last year, Rico collaborated with different musicians to complete the album, which was something he wanted to do for years.
At the start of the program, the singer-songwriter greeted the audience with "Lahat ng hassle mawawala," line of his song titled "Ayuz." For this song, Rico played with bassist Rommel dela Cruz and Mojofly's drummer Jun Regalado.
After this, a mixture of techno and rock music introduced the second song called "Say Forever." Buddy Zabala of Eraserheads and The Dawn helped Rico Blanco in the album's first track by playing bass guitars.
The next three songs—"Helpless," "Para Hindi Ka Mawala," and "Antukin"—showed the sentimental side of the former Rivermaya's main composer. While the song "Helpless" was written in straight English, the second and third song were creatively written in Taglish. Also in these songs, Rico showed his versatility as a musician by playing various instruments such as the bass guitar, the drums, and even the synths.
Other songs he performed were "Outta This," "Your Universe," Metropolis," "Start Again," and his carrier single "Yugto." Rico collaborated with Louie Talan of Razorback, Otep Concepcion, Wowie Ansano and Fards Tupas of Radio Active Sago Project, and former Rivermaya bandmate Nathan Azarcon for these songs.
In the middle of the program, Rico took the opportunity to talk about his vacation and the reason for his comeback.
"Let's talk about the vacation, 'yon ang tinatanong ng iba," he started. "I was working 14 years straight with the Riverymaya, something I'm really proud of. [It's] a band that I'm really proud of, a band that I really love with all my heart."
Rico continued by recognizing his former bandmates in Rivermaya. He said, "A lot of good memories, a lot of fantastic memories with Rivermaya. And feel really humbled and honored to be able to work with some of the best musicians that the Philippines has ever known in Rivermaya—si Perf [de Castro, guitars], si Bamboo [Mañalac, vocals], si Nathan [Azarcon, bass]... si Kakoi [Legaspi, guitars], si Mike [Elgar, guitars], si Japs [Sergio, bass], si Mark [Escueta, drums]. I'm very proud of all our genius."
Then, he talked about his exit from Rivermaya last year. Rico explained, "Last year was the time for me to take a break so I went to take a vacation. There was a point na medyo nag-iisip ako na baka okay din itong bakasyon, huwag nang bumalik.
"But it was also my friends and loved ones who helped me find once again my joy in playing music. So, you know, I'm very thankful to my friend and loved ones and especially to the fans who don't even know... You know, when I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, they were just there. You know, they were there, they don't really care if I was gonna make music for them and I was touched by that, so thank you."
While on vacation, Rico still continued to show his passion for music by writing meaningful lyrics and infusing them with his own
brand of music. All these compositions
can be heard in his new solo album Your Universe, which is now available in
record stores nationwide.
1. Say Forever
2. Your Universe
6. Start Again
7. Outta This
8. Para Hindi Ka Mawala