The Rivermaya band is now complete as they welcome their newestvocalist, Jayson Fernandez. The 18-year-old Bicolano won over fellow finalist Hans Dimayuga duringthe grand finals of the search for the band's new member called BagongLiwanag. The competition was held last October 24 at the Music Museum in San JuanCity.
The finals night looked like a showdown between the tworemaining finalists, Jayson and Hans. The former did a very good rendition of the Rivermaya classic "Himala" whilethe latter showed off his own composition, which garnered the most number oftext votes and got the judges' approval for best original song.
However, it was Jayson who really got the nod of the panel of judges—composed of The Dawn's guitarist and NU 107 In the Raw host Francis Reyes,Razorback's bassist Louie Talan, and Rivermaya's co-manager, Lizza Nakpil. "Itwas as if he was asking the whole world for a miracle to make his dream cometrue," commented Francis after Jayson sang "Himala."
When it was already time to give the final decision, Jaysondropped to the floor as Lizza announced, "I'm going for a leap of faith so,Jayson, we love you! Welcome to Rivermaya!" Jayson later on explained that he wanted to jump for joy, "pero nanginigang tuhod ko at napaupo na lang ako."
Rivermaya's drummer Mark Escueta, guitarist Mike Elgar, and bassist Japs Sergio rushed on stage to help him to his feet and welcome him as thenewest member of the so-called "Banda ng Bayan."
The new Rivermaya vocalist gave his advice to otheraspiring musicians. "Ang gustoko lang paratingin sa lahat ay huwag mag-give-up sa iyong dream," Jaysonsaid. "May nag-text sa akin na kaibiganna naniniwala siya na kaya kong maging part ng Rivermaya, so naglakas-loobakong sumali. Ang sinabi ko sa sariliko, walang mawawala naman sa akin at kung matalo, at least may picture ako nakasama sila."
Jayson then had his first performance with his new bandmates when he sang another Rivermaya classic titled "Awit ng Kabataan." While singing, the audience greeted him withwild cheers and a standing ovation. In the middle of the song, Jayson excitedly told the crowd, "Salamat sa inyonglahat. Dati pinapanuod ko lang sila,tinitignan sila sa litrato, ngayon kasama ko na sila!"The native of Bicol beat 13 finalists who werechosen among the 500 aspirants who came during the two-day auditions at theUniversity of the Philippines-Diliman campus two months ago. Jayson also revealed that his mother, who is a fan of the Juan dela Cruz band,taught his first song performance "Balong Malalim."