Christian Bautista recently added a feather to his cap: he was one of the adjudicators who trimmed down Philippine Popular Music Festival 2013 entries from 33 to 12 during the final rounds of deliberation.
The 31-year-old singer admits, "I feel like I'm contributing, like I'm contributing to the future of the race, to music."
The new GMA-7 talent reveals: "There were lots of great new songs for all ages, all types, sana yung iba nga ako yung kumanta, honestly ah."
This marks the first time that the singer was tapped to adjudicate at the PhilPop. "Yeah, I feel so old, but I feel it's time to give back," continues Christian, who marks ten years in the showbiz/music industry this 2013.
Even though he started adjudicating when the entries were only a handful, he can't help but show his appreciation for the adjudicators who went before him. "Yung sa mga 3,000 plus, I give them praises for what they did. They really selected really, really good songs and it was easier for us..."
Philpop 2013 ended up receiving a total of 3,383 songwriting entries and it took 140 adjudicators four stages of deliberation to choose the Top 12 finalists.
The 12 finalists are: “Askal” (Gani Brown), “Segundo” (Paul Armesin), “Sana Pinatay Mo Na Lang Ako” (Myrus Apacible), “Sometimes That Happens” (Adrienne Sarmiento-Buenaventura), “Space” (Raffy Calicdan of boy group Take Off), “Araw, Ulap, Langit” (Marlon Barnuevo), “Sa’yo Nalang Ako” (Lara Maigue of the Opera Belles), “Dati” (Thyro Alfaro – who also competed last year with his entry “Himig Ng Panahon” – and Yumi Lacsamana), “Do, Do, Do” (Marion Aunor), “Kung ‘Di Man” (Johnoy Danao), and from the veterans, “Pansamantagal” (Jungee Marcelo) and “Papel” (Joey Ayala).
How did Christian select his Top 12? The adjudicators were given guidelines and they were assisted by Mr. Ryan Cayabyab during the entire adjudication process.
Christian reveals that for him, "genre, lahat gusto ko, wala ako naging personal bias."
He does admit that he did favor another aspect when he came up with his top 12 choices, "pero siyempre ang bias ko ay dahil sa singing voice ko, kapag may ballad at medyo rock ng konti."
As an adjudicator, he cannot reveal his own personal favorites, of which he has several, but what guaranteed a finalist spot for him was, "Siyempre kung ano mang genre yan, kung na-hook mo ako either sa mix ng melody, ng lyrics at pag tumama sa puso ko hanggang chorus, okay ka na sa akin."
He appreciates the variety of the entries this year. "May new songs, new blood, different genres: there's rap, there's rock, there's ballad, there's for country, for dogs, iba-iba talaga eh, it's gonna be an exciting album this year."
Philpop 2013 will be releasing an album featuring the Top 12 finalists under Universal Records, the same record label as Christian. This means that possibly, Christian could end up singing or interpreting one of the finalist's songs, which is something he wants to do in the future.
Does he have any tips for hopeful and aspiring songwriters? Christian flashes a big smile and says, "Magsimula na kayo ngayon, para next year mafifilter n'yo na at masusubmit niyo na."
Given a chance to collaborate with any of the top 12 finalists who were recently revealed on April 30, Christian would jump at the chance as he says, "I'm gonna take down their names, and I'm gonna hunt them down, and I'm gonna tell them, you gotta write me songs," the good-natured crooner confesses.
BALANCING ACT. Christian, who gained fame ten years ago ironically as a non-winner on Star in a Million, has entered the fields of theater, recording studio, TV, commercials, radio, and now Philpop.
Does he ever slow down and find time to relax? "It's hard, parang ngayon nga I have to really give time to myself, to my family, to my friends, to work."
Knowing how he functions helps him set realistic objectives for himself, "Sometimes I get workaholic and the other parts of my life, naiiwan ko, so like right now I'm trying to balance it, that's my goal now, na mas wholistic."
That is easier said than done in an industry that has crazy schedules from early morning call-times to late night wrap-ups, but Christian is firm, sharing that he plans to achieve a wholistic lifestyle by, "simply giving time for myself, like can you give me a day a week, where maybe I can go to church or play with my brothers or maybe I can go hang out with my friends."
Ever since, this UP Diliman Landscape Architecture graduate has kept his feet firmly on the ground, and the way he chooses to relax shows it, as Christian continues, "We need that, e, I mean career is excellent and all, pero pag naiwan natin yun people we love the most, di na maganda."
What keeps him going, day by day and continually inspiring him are, as he says, "my fans of course, life, the Lord, my friends, my family and this gift, this blessing, this career na binigay sa akin na parang I don't deserve but yet I'm still here."
NEW ALBUM. While he is busy preparing to headline his first teleserye with GMA7 and his role as Prince Charming in Resorts World's Cinderella in the last quarter of 2013, Christian is also going back to the recording studio.
He shares something about this album, "it is going to be under Universal Records, a new album by the end of the year and recording will start in the next few months." His sixth studio album and eighth full-length album called X-Plus was released last October 2012.
For his upcoming album, Christian has a wishlist, as he says what he wants the sound of the new album to be. "I want it to be Tagalog, personally, ah, I don't know what's gonna happen, gusto ko OPM, gusto ko halo ng cover saka original, sana matupad talaga."
He started becoming more hands-on, creative-wise with his First Class (Outbound Expanded Edition) album that was released during the first quarter of 2012.
For his new album, he envisions: "This time gusto ko mas marami, in producing, in meeting with different arrangers, kasi di ba, 'di ako musician, I just gotta have it in me, in my head and let the music speak." As he has already expressed wanting to work with Philpop 2013 finalists, it would be exciting and interesting to see if those collaborations pan out.
In preparation, Christian is very disciplined in what he allows himself to listen to, admitting he doesn't listen to anyone on his music devices at the moment because for him, "right now, baligtad, wala akong pinakikinggan na music ngayon kasi gusto ko clean slate ako para iprepare ang sarili ko sa next album."
He explains what that entails, "na kapag clean slate ako ngayon, tapos sinabi ko sa sarili kasi busy, e, at sabihing ko ready na ako, ready, ano na ang available ngayon...electronic dance music na all over so parang, sa Pilipino di pa nila kinakagat yun, e, kasi tayo, romantic gusto natin yung ballad, pero mamimix ba natin yun, pagdating sa puntong yun, kahit anong music ang pwede lumabas."
SUPPORTING PINOY ARTISTS. The music scene is growing and vibrant, and Christian points out, "that's good, for the past few years people keep saying OPM is dead, walang nangyayari, pero you know, with this Philpop, tapos last year naman ABS-CBN with Himig Handog, it's good...we are producing new original stuff, cycle lang naman yan, e, it's gonna roll and then everything is gonna be great again for the local scene."
He says that Filipinos everywhere can do their part and his message is clear, "support Philpop, support OPM, support the local artist, kasi this is the voice of our generation: what we're feeling now about the government, about ourselves, love, TV, media, eto yung mga nararamdaman natin, dapat marinig ng bayan."