Winning the reality show Pinoy Dream Academy is a journey unlike any other and Yeng Constantino is the perfect person to sum it up. Hailed as the Grand Star Dreamer of the Philippine edition of Endemol's Star Academy, Yeng took home not only cash prizes and a fully furnished condo unit but she also gained a wealth of experiences that not many singers can boast.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to talk on the phone with Yeng about her latest album aptly titled Journey. Last March 4, the rock star singer-songwriter was shooting a music video for her album in Makati City. Directed by Mark Anthony Ocampo, the music video will feature Yeng performing with her band, Morning Glory.
"May eight original compositions po ako dito. Two of them came from Annabelle Regalado [managing director of Star Records] tapos ‘yong isa revival ng song ng Asin na 'Himig ng Pag-ibig'. ‘Yong isa po, original composition naman ni Eman Abatayo na 'If You Go.'"
Eman is Yeng's co-scholar in Pinoy Dream Academy who hails from Iloilo.
"Actually, mayroon akong ibang choice na kanta mula sa Asin pero nung pinarinig nila sa akin yung 'Himig ng Pag-ibig', nagbago yung isip ko. Sobrang nagustuhan ko yung feel ng gitara saka yung bagsak ng drums," explains Yeng.
The 12-track album Journey consists of the songs "Di Na Ganun," "What About Us," "Ikaw Lang Talaga," "Tao Lang Ako," "Pili Ka Lang," "Promise," "If You Go," "Bakit Nga Ba," "Himig ng Pag-ibig," "Why Can't You," "Tala," and "Habang Buhay."
It took Yeng one month to finish the album Journey compared to the one week it took her to finish her debut album. Her first album titled Salamat is composed of 10 tracks, seven of which are original compositions of the rocker-diva. It includes the phenomenal "Hawak Kamay" that was named as Best Theme Song in the 32nd Metro Manila Film Festival for the movie Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo.
For 2008, Yeng hopes to enroll again in school, whether a home study program or regular school, if she can find the time for it. "Hanggang high school lang po ang natapos ko. Hindi ako nag-college para makapag-aral yung kapatid ko ng Nursing. Sa ngayon po, third year college na siya." She has yet to decide whether to take up Mass Communication or Music.
Yeng admits that she lived a very sheltered life prior to joining PDA. "Hindi po ako gumagawa ng household chores sa bahay. Tuwing may gig ako sa PDA, wala nang nagpupunas ng pawis ko.
"Sa loob, hindi ka puwedeng magtanong ng opinion ng tatay mo. Matututo ka kung paano makisalamuha sa ibang tao. Malaking bagay ‘yon [joining PDA] as my first step to independence."
When asked what is the best lesson she learned during the first school term of PDA, Yeng did not hesitate to say that former Headmaster Jim Paredes imparted a very valuable lesson that she will never forget.
"Si Sir Jim lagi niyang sinasabi na kailangan alam mo ang sentro mo. Alam mo dapat kung sino ka kasi magva-vanish ang totoong ikaw sa mundo ng showbiz. Yun ang magtatapak sa ‘yo sa lupa at mapapanatili kang grounded."
For the second season of Pinoy Dream Academy, Maestro Ryan Cayabyab will mold the incoming batch of scholars.
Now that another batch will also go through a series of tests and training inside Pinoy Dream Academy, what advice can she give to these aspiring singers?
"Huwag silang magsasayang ng oras. Enjoy n'yo lang ang samahan ninyo kasi sobrang mami-miss n'yo ‘yan pagkatapos. Lahat ng lessons importante talaga. Mula sa voice coaching lessons hanggang dun sa physical fitness class...lahat interesante.
"May purpose kung bakit nila tinuturo yun. Magagamit ninyo talaga sa industriya. Saka yung laging sinasabi nila na ‘Set your mind to your goal.'"
After hurdling 16 weeks of relentless vocal training and exercise, the young singer proved in the end that she really set her mind to her goal—to become the first winner of Pinoy Dream Academy.
Yeng Constantino's Journey is now available in leading music stores nationwide. Star Records will formally launch her album on the March 9 episode of the noontime variety show ASAP ‘08.