Jay-R's new album, Jay R Sings OPM Love Classics, features a collection of enduring local love songs as popularized by some of the most admired names in OPM. Photo: Courtesy of Universal Records

Jay-R's latest album departs from his comfort zone of doing straight R&B infused with foreign flavor.

In what can be considered as a brave step forward, Jay-R embraces his OPM roots and meticulously picked 13 of the most enduring local tunes as popularized by some of the most admired names in the industry.

Trading beats for straight out pop tunes, the singer-host's new album titled, Jay R Sings OPM Love Classics, contains the following songs: "Himala" (Rivermaya); "Ako'y Sa 'Yo, Ika'y Akin" (I-Axe); "Ikaw Lamang" (Zsa Zsa Padilla); "Paalam Na" (Rachel Alejandro); "Muli" (Gary Valenciano and Regine Velasquez); "Kahit Kailan" (South Border); "Huwag Na Lang Kaya" (True Faith); "Sa Isip Ko" (Agot Isidro); "Sa Kanya" (Ogie Alcasid); "Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin" (Martin Nievera); "Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga" (Basil Valdez); "Wala Na Bang Pag-Ibig" (Jaya); and "Hagkan" (Sharon Cuneta).

Jay-R personally loves the selection himself. But recording his own version for commercial release presented daunting challenges given the classic status of the materials and their respective places in OPM history.

The fact that all of the songs recorded are delivered in Filipino is commendable enough considering Jay-R's difficulty in mastering the vernacular. Upon listening to the entire disc, we find an artist baring his own soul to borrowed material while successfully putting his own mark without diminishing the heart and quality of the tune.

"Kung magme-melody change sobrang konti na lang kasi classic na 'yan, e. Kumbaga mahirap ng i-alter kasi parang naka-imprint na 'yan sa utak ng mga tao. So ginawa ko simpleng changes lang. Gusto ko 'yong essence ng kanta nandun pa rin," explains the singer who is a mainstay of GMA-7's variety show Party Pilipinas.

Jay-R considers his new album as a gift to the fans, who want to hear their idol sing in the native language again reminiscent of his first big hit, "Bakit Pa Ba?" (2003).

Jay R Sings OPM Love Classics also features the Soul Siren, Nina. The two recorded "Muli" aided by modern studio technology. "May magic na nangyari sa kanta na 'yon. Kasi dahil sa hectic ng schedule namin hindi kami makapag-record sa isang studio. So ginawa ko muna 'yong part ko tapos gumawa ako ng guide for Nina para naman sa part niya tapos pinadala ko sa kanya.

"Nung nag-recording 'yong dalawang vocals ang ganda pakinggan and parang nandun kaming dalawa. Ang ganda nung chemistry na nangyari."

Jay R Sings OPM Love Classics (with free minus one CD) is now available exclusively in all Odyssey and O record outlets.

TRACK LISTING.

  1. Himala
  2. Ako'y Sa 'Yo, Ika'y Akin
  3. Ikaw Lamang
  4. Paalam Na
  5. Muli
  6. Kahit Kailan
  7. Huwag Na Lang Kaya
  8. Sa Isip Ko
  9. Sa Kanya
  10. Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin
  11. Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga
  12. Wala Na Bang Pag-Ibig
  13. Hagkan