Maestro Ryan Cayabyab has recently introduced his new singing groupcalled RCS (Ryan Cayabyab Singers).
It will be recalled that the world-renowned Filipino composer formed successful vocal groups such as the Smokey Mountain, 14K, and The San MiguelMaster Chorale (SMMC). Smokey Mountain trained the likes of Geneva Cruz and Jeffrey Hidalgo while 14K paved the way for the showbiz career of JolinaMagdangal. The SMMC, on the other hand,was considered as one of the premier choral groups in the country during itstime.
"I woke up one morning and said I want a new group,"narrated the Maestro during the November 26 media launch at the Holiday Inn, Ortigas Center.
Mr. C, as he is more popularly called, explained his reasons for forming the RCS. "Naghahananap ako ng outlet for my new songsand I said, ‘It's been a long time since I had my own group, a Ryan Cayabyabtype of group.' So I said, I think in just two or three weeks, I announced this[audition] and then, they came. Word ofmouth yun, e, because many of these people really come from...there's a networkand they know about performing and they came."
Mr. C initially had 170 aspirants during the first auditions held during the last week of June. "Then, Ilet go of a lot of them. Forty people came the next Sunday, again forauditions, until I came up with seven," recounted Maestro.
These lucky seven are Anezka Alvarez, Katherine Tiuseco,Kyla Rivera, Irra Cenina, Jaime Barcelon, Poppert Bernadas and VincentEvangelista.
SEVEN UNIQUE TALENTS. When Mr. Cayabyab called for the auditions, the music maestro didnot specify criteria to be used in determining who will make the final cut. He even asked the seven members of the RCS to refresh his memory regarding the elimination process."Criteria? What did I tell you? Theycome in set, 10 each, they all come in and then they sing one at a time. Then, what did I tell you?"
Katherine, whose nickname is Kaich, recalled Mr. C's statement, "I'm looking for something special, I have a particularvision inside my head. If you don't getit, it doesn't mean that you are not magaling, I'm just looking for somethingspecific."
The outcome? Mr. Cayabyab came up with a group composed of diverse individuals, each offering their own unique talents.
"As a matter of fact, I didn't want all of them to be thesame. I was looking for unique andstrategic voices. It's like this, notwo of them are alike in a way, iba-iba, because I wanted to create a group natalagang iba-iba sila," explained Mr. C.
How would the Maestro describe the RCS?
Mr. Cayabyab detailed the qualities of his handpicked singers. He said, "What do I remember? I think Irra, he had the most... pagpasok palang... ‘Boom! Okay, pasok na 'to agad.' Yung mga ganun, yung malakas ang dating.
"Poppert, I found his voice... I've never heard that kind ofvoice for a long, long time. Tapossasabihin niya tubong Davao siya? Totooyun, very native ang dating.
"Anezka, alam niyo kapag si Anezka, unang pasok pa lang niyamakikita mo, ‘Wow!' Kasi sa lahat sakanila, yung damit niya, power-dresser siya. Pagpasok pa lang niya, talagang damit, ayos, ‘Tingnan mo ako, iba ako.'
"This guy [Jaime], youthfulness. Everytime pumapasok siya para itong mga 15-year-old guy pero witha voice that is so mature. So alam niyakung paano niya gagawin.
"Kyla has not only the voice [but she's also] a greatdancer. I've never seen anyoneaudition na talagang she had the moves. She is the resident designer, shedesigns, and mixes and matches the clothes.
"Keich, first time na narinig ko ang boses niya, ‘Wow!' Iba,wala pa akong naririnig na ganun... very earthy ang boses, which I think is whatI am really looking for.
"Then this guy [Vincent], the transformation is great. ‘O,hindi ko 'to kukunin kasi mukha siyang tatang. But through the audition process, maganda yung boses niya. Sabi ko, ‘Ibang klase.' I got this guy kasi very formidable angmusical training niya so I said, ‘Vincent, you'll be the one to vocalize themto make sure their notes are okay.'"
PLANS OF GOING SOLO. Just like any other group, whether a vocal or a band, there is always the threat of disbandment. Is it conceivable for the members to break away from the RCS and pursue their own careers?
Irra, who spoke for the group, said, "We just started and,you know, with our background with working with people, we feel like we are oneteam, we are one collective person in a way. The more we work together, the more we represent like one team, one RCS,one team that would represent Mr. Cayabyab."
He then added, "As for going solo, I don't think anyone ofus is actually planning to go solo because this group is very dynamic and welove what we're doing. We just lovesinging and we love making music together."
Despite this assurance, Mr. C said that transforming them into solo singers was actuallyhis goal in putting up a new group. He said, "Ito yung halfway house ng mgaperformers. Kasi hindi lahat ng mga performers makaka-experience ng talagangpinupukpok sila na maging magaling na performers. Marami sa kanila, pagsabaknila, ito na limelight na, performance na agad as soloist. It's very difficult.
"These guys will go through a period of time that... Pero satotoo lang lahat sila nagdaan na doon, e. Lahat sila alam na nila kung ano yung performance.
"I like doing this because these guys, alam nila ang valueof performance. Yun, importante yun—thevalue of performing and loving the performance. Again, I'll give my blessing to anyone who leaves the group andwill go solo. Yun din naman yuneventually."
Right now, Mr. Cayabyab is still in the process of lining up projectsfor his new baby. He told PEP(Philippine Entertainment Portal) that there are plans for the group to performabroad but he cannot divulge them yet since the details are not yet finalized.
The RCS was made a television appearance in ABS-CBN's noontime variety show ASAP last Sunday,December 2. The seven-strong singing group performed "Let Me Love You Tonight," the firstsingle of their 14-track self-titled debut album.
The RCS album, which is released under Sony BMG, contains eight new songs and four remakes created by Mr. C. The track list includes the songs "Call Me, Call Me," "Ayoko Na," "Pahamak," "Hiling," "Hello Joe," "Goodbye," and "Pahamak."