Talent is never enough.
This is one realization that Jaya has taken to heart since the early days of her music career.
Despite being the daughter of Elizabeth Ramsay and having all the connections, her entry to the local music scene in the mid-90s was not a walk in the park.
And after her almost-30-year stint as a recording artist, Jaya says she has not exactly figured out the formula to achieving longevity.
In her email interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Jaya admits, “I’m not quite sure.”
But sincerity, she underlines, will always be “uso.”
Jaya continues, “As long as I’m honest with my audience and sing songs that they want to hear from me, inspire and touch their hearts—that has to be my focus.”
The country’s Queen of Soul also cites the importance of evolving and exploring.
“Tell stories that the [audience] can relate to.
“I love singing for all ages, so no limits as to what songs to learn.”
What’s her take on social media?
“It is a great way for us artists to connect with fans and friends, research, and promote our music.”
Its downside: The excessive bashing.
Jaya adds, “We also get a few bashers which used to affect me and get me so upset and sad.
"I have read some horrible, hurtful, and nonsense comments, but now I find them to be quite entertaining!”
Over time, she has learned to ignore them.
“Lately, I don’t really give it much time and attention anymore since I’ve learned how to BLOCK AND DELETE.
“As much as I can help it, I don’t engage in word wars.”
In fact, the Kapamilya singer has rarely figured in a controversy throughout her three-decade career.
Then she quips, “But who knows, one day I might just retaliate. But I hope in a positive way.”
To the younger singers, she has these two constant reminders: (1) Do not forget where you came from. (2) Do not dismiss criticisms pertaining to your craft.
In her case, her mom had been her “greatest critic.”
Elizabeth died in October 2015 due to Hyperglycemia.
Jaya recounts, “She always told me the truth and always had my back.
“She was also my biggest fan which always gave me a happy feeling, when she watched me sing.
“To know how proud she was of me, that I will never forget.”
CONCERT WITH PATTI AUSTIN
Recently, her heart lurched into frenzied activity when she learned that her next concerts would be with the Hollywood legend Patti Austin.
“I literally ran around my house saying, 'Whaaaat??? Is this for real???’
“I was just so excited to know that one of my inspirations was going to sing on the same stage with me.
"DREAM COME TRUE!!!”
The two ladies are set to hold two concerts dubbed as Christmas with Soul Divas on December 6, at The Theatre at Solaire, and on December 9, at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
If she were to sing a Patti Austin song, Jaya says she would pick “If I Believe” and “Any Other Fool,” which she included in her album All Souled Out (2014).
If Patti would be asked to sing one of her hits, what would Jaya recommend?
“That would be tricky, because most of my songs are in Tagalog.
“But for sure, I think she will enjoy singing one of my favorites ‘I Still Believe in Love,’ which I recorded in 1997.”
How does she prepare for a performance? Does she have “seremonyas?”
Jaya reveals, “I vocalize/warm up before I sing.
“Also, I make sure I have enough sleep, voice rest, and take lots of liquid.
“I also don’t take much dairy before work.”
Most of all, she does not forget to “thank God for lending me this voice, which I inherited from my Mom and Dad.”
Jaya is Elizabeth’s daughter with Reynaldo Kagahastian, a Filipino who’s now based in Canada. They were reunited in January 2014.