Pinoy Dream Academy (PDA) Season1 scholar and fourth placer Mariangela Soleil "Panky" Trinidad is enjoying herlove of music through her new band called Version 4.0.
In an exclusive interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during theband's rehearsals and performance at the Hard Rock Café, Makati last week,Panky shared that she enjoys what she's doing now more than ever. "Ito kasi ‘yong gusto kong gawin talaga, angmagbanda at tumugtog, kaya sobrang exciting para sa akin," she said. "Parangnalungkot lang ako kasi medyo matagal akong nawala, tapos maraming nagtatanongkung nasaan na ako ngayon at anong pinagkakaabalahan ko."
POST-PDA PANKY. Thetough-looking 23-year-old last performed with some of her PDA batchmates in theband Cebalo, which did a remake of the song "Pinoy Ako" (originally recorded byOrange & Lemons) for Pinoy Big Brother's Season 2 two years ago. Shehas been a guest in ABS-CBN's TV variety show ASAP and some talk showshere and there. "Madalang lang talaga‘yong mga project, usually, mall and out-of-town shows. So ‘yong mga nakakaitasa akin, ‘yong mga nandun lang sa pinupuntahan namin."
Last year, Panky represented the Philippines at the World Championships ofPerforming Arts (WCOPA) senior division in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. andwent on to win four medals: a gold each for the Female Vocal R&B/Soul/Jazzand the Female Vocal Rock categories, a silver for the Female Vocal Broadwayand a bronze for the Female Vocal Pop category. She was also cited as theChampion of the World for the Vocal R&B/Soul/Jazz in her category.
It is through her stint in the said competition that she approachedentertainment industry icon Kitchie Benedicto (known by her initials KB), whoowns KB Entertainment Unlimited, Inc.
"Kilala kasi ng mommy ko si TitaKitchie, who is quite popular naman talaga. E, nag-usap-usap kami ni Tita andher staff at that time while competing. It so happened also na ako pala ‘yongfavorite ni Ate Tin-tin (Christine Rosales, KB's daughter and KB Entertainmentpresident) sa PDA. So, ako mismo ang lumapit sa kanya and I asked, ‘Tita,puwede n'yo po ba akong i-manage?' Sabi niya, ‘Why not?' So, natuwa naman ako,"narrated Panky. And it was a smoothly done deal.
KB Entertainment co-manages Panky with ABS-CBN's Star Magic.
VERSION 4.0 NOW; SOLOIST PANKY LATER. Aside from Panky, Dex de Rosa(also a former WCOPA participant), Jem Marquez (member of The Siblings, who wonthe grand prize in the now-defunct Fam Jam! talent search aired on QTV11a few years ago, and also competed in WCOPA), and Jaylee Orpiano comprise theband Version 4.0.
"Actually, we already performed as a group in September last year, at theTemecula Valley International Film and Music Festival in the U.S., pero wala patalagang formality ‘yon. Bago lang talaga kaming nagsimulang mag-gig dito saManila, first week of July this year lang. So, kumbaga, ‘baby' pa lang ‘yong band,"Panky said of how Version 4.0 came to be.
Why did they pick this name for their band?
"We're like the ‘now' band. Parang ‘bago' ang dating, ‘di ba?" she replied. "Atgusto kasi naming i-project na astig talaga ‘yong band namin. We can performfor different age groups, and hopefully, all the audience that we perform tocan very well say, ‘Ang galing nitong bandang ‘to. Okay sila!'"
Version 4.0's repertoire covers of various genres, spanning the ‘70s, ‘80s,‘90s up to the latest hits.
"Actually, inaayon din kasi namin sa venue na tinutugtugan namin. Like for thismonth, since sa Hard Rock Café kami, we play mostly upbeat tunes, ‘yongmapapaindak ang mga tao. Rock ‘n roll pero hindi masakit sa tenga. Somethinglike pop-rock. Kaunti lang ‘yong slow songs," Panky said. "We get to chose ourown songs, those that we like to sing. We both sing solo and as a group."
For now, the newly formed band does covers of classic and current hit tuneswhile preparing for upcoming gigs and a possible recording project.
"Nag-iipon pa kami ng pondo andmaterials. Hopefully, ‘pag nag-take off na talaga ‘yung banda namin, we canrelease an album," she enthuses. "As a solo artist naman, I should say namarami na akong mga material na naisulat. I'm just waiting for the right time.Naniniwala kasi ako na hindi lahat ng bagay ay minamadali. There's what we calltiming. Kung sabihin man nila sa akin na, ‘Maglabas ka na ng album, puwede na,'I'll be more than glad to do so. Pero, I don't think now is it, kasi parangine-establish ko pa lang ulit ang sarili ko sa public."
Panky revealed that she and her handlers are working on a music video of one ofher original compositions, which is slated to debut within this year in therecently launched Channel V Philippines Channel 25.
If given the chance by her management to collaborate with a Pinoy music icon oran established recording artist, Panky was quick to name Sampaguita as her toppick.
"Gustung gusto ko siyang makatrabaho talaga. Kung hindi man siya, si Cowboy orJuan de la Cruz Band, ‘yung mga institusyon na sa Pinoy rock ‘n roll," saidPanky. "Lumaki kasi ako sa music nila. At saka bata pa lang ako, alam ko nakung ano ang gusto ko: ang maging rocker! Noon pa man, alam ko nang magbabandaako, which I'm fulfilling right now, and I'm happy about it, sobra."
MESSAGE FOR FANS AND SUPPORTERS. On days without gigs or shows,Panky hangs out with friends, most of whom also play in their respective bands."Pinapanood ko rin sila when theyperform. Kumakain din kami kung saan-saan, food trip... We go to Tagaytay orAntipolo, play billiards. Ganun lang, pure, clean fun and bigayan at suklian ngsupport," she said, stressing that she doesn't drink.
With her enthusiastic resurgence in the music scene, Panky cannot thank herfans enough for their loyalty and support.
"Sa lahat ng mga Pankysta (her fans' monicker), sobrang thank you, thank you,thank you kasi kahit saan ako napunta, nandyan pa rin kayo. Through ups anddowns, hindi n'yo ako pinabayaan. Kung wala kayo, siguro wala na rin ako saeksena, as in wala na talaga," concluded Panky, as she invited everyone towatch their weekly gig. "Manood kayo para happy tayong lahat."
Version 4.0 plays on allWednesdays of August, from 9:30 p.m. onwards at the Hard Rock Café in Glorietta3, Makati City.