Gary Valenciano is a certified pop singer. A man epitomizing what a textbook mainstream entertainer should really be: clean, likable and pleasant at all times—far from the cliché image of a young, delinquent rock n' roll musician.
But good music is always good music regardless of image, labels or genres. And it's a credit to Gary V that his songs have been able to transcend barriers and generations to withstand the passing of time, not to mention fast-changing music trends and fads. Although it is hard to imagine a guitar slinging heavy rocking musician bopping away (or mushing) to a Gary V tune, fact remains that the man dubbed as "Mr. Pure Energy" influenced a lot of artists, including a slew of contemporary bands today.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), in celebration of Gary's 25 years in the entertainment industry, asked some of our local rockers about their most favorite Gary Valenciano song and why.
MARK ESCUETA. The drummer and co-founder of Rivermaya cited "Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos?" as his favorite Gary V. ditty.
"Siguro favorite song ko ni Gary V. ‘yon kasi ang galing lang! Pasok ‘yong tono niya sa message nung kanta, pati sa lyrics parang everytime naririnig ko siya nakaka-inspire," shared Mark.
JOREL CORPUS. For a band known for dishing out hard rocking tunes served with in-your-face riffs and straightforward lyrics, it is quite surprising to know that Kjwan are avid fans of Gary.
Guitarist Jorel Corpus mentioned "'Di Bale Na Lang" as his favorite. The amiable axeman explained the song's sentimental value to him: "Kasi ‘yong bata ako, ‘yon yung pinapakinggan ko. I seriously grew up listening to him kasi siyempre icon siya noon hanggang ngayon and nung bata ako, siya ‘yong naririnig mo sa radyo tapos alam mo so ito ‘yong favorite song ko. I remember performing this song sa mga Christmas party ‘pag pinapakanta ka and stuff."
J-HOON BALBUENA. Kjwan drummer agreed with Jorel's choice. "My favorite?" he asked back, "'Di Bale Na Lang."
J-Hoon described the song as a carefree number. "Gary V to me is very inspirational to the people, with his calling and everything. He's got the whole Philippines in his songs, so this song is very innocent, away from the serious message."
He also said that although Kjwan has always been typecast as a heavy sounding unit, all five members maintain a soft spot when it comes to good pop songs with irresistible hooks.
"It's nice," J-Hoon said, still pertaining to his fave Gary V. song. "It's a light song even though we make a lot of heavy songs, still any light song always catches us."
EBE DANCEL. A self-confessed lover of pop tunes, Sugarfree main man Ebe Dancel confessed that "Sana Maulit Muli" and "Narito" as two of his fave Gary V songs.
"Meron kasi akong thing for listening to a song for the first time," said the talented songwriter. "'Pag gusto ko, cassette pa ‘yon, e, ‘pag gusto ko ‘yong kanta binibili ko agad ‘yong buong album tapos yong song na ‘yon is on repeat the whole day and those two songs ["Sana Maulit Muli" and "Narito"] were paulit-ulit dati sa player ko."
PAOLO VALENCIANO. Inheriting his father's love for music, Paolo Valenciano is part of the band called Salamin. As for his favorite Gary V song, "It would have to be ‘Take Me Out of the Dark.'"
The young Valenciano admitted that he is not particularly fond of some of his dad's Christian singles, but he singled out "Take Me Out of the Dark" as "something else talaga."
QUARK HENARES. Maverick director Quark Henares is considered in the scene as the quintessential "rock n' roll director." Aside from directing a handful of music videos from mainstream to underground bands, Quark is also known for his off-beat movies mirroring his obscure influences. He currently shares frontman duties with designer Mich Dulce in a band dubbed as Us-2 Evil-0.
As for his most-loved Gary V song, Quark replied "'Di Bale Na Lang'" instantly. His fascination for the song even extended beyond the radio, "Tapos pinanood ko ‘yong movie with Gary V and Jestoni [Alarcon], mga three times ‘yan. ‘Yon ‘yong first Filipino film na pinanood ko sa theater, six o seven ako nun."
AIA DE LEON. Imago's vocalist Aia de Leon counts Gary V's "Take Me Out of the Dark" as an inspirational hymn that saved her life during her angst-filled days.
"Nung bata ako it always reminds me nung maliit ako na there's always somebody up there, who's taking care of me, who loves me no matter who I am. So, nung time na lumabas ‘yon [the song] marami akong naging problems nun so that song kind of anchored me into a God that is all powerful, that is above everything else."
JAYSON FERNANDEZ. Rivermaya's frontman, Jayson Fernandez, looks too young to even be paying tribute to a veteran artist like Gary Valenciano but he swears that he is a fan and that he's familiar with the songs of Mr. Pure Energy.
Turning nostalgic, Jayson shared how "Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos?" played a key role during his much younger years.
"Noong grade school ako, nilaban ko ‘yon sa singing contest na pambata," he smiled in vivid recollection. "So tuwing naririnig ko ‘yon naaalala ko ‘yong mga araw na, ‘yong childhood ko, alam mo na, ‘yong bata ako...'tsaka maganda yong lyrics and meaning."
JULIANNE. For a female performer, Julianne could definitely give any male guitar virtuoso a run for his money. During the time she was just starting to play the guitar, one of the first few songs that Julianne learned to pluck was "Take Me Out of the Dark."
"Kasi I remember singing that as a teenager back in Church, tapos naaliw ako kasi parang ‘yon ‘yong unang kinapa kong song na Gary V dahil sobrang naka-relate ako, super personal," the talented singer-songwriter narrated.
GABBY ALIPE. Urbandub's Gabby Alipe credited Gary Valenciano as one of the local artists who truly inspired him to create music when he was a kid. There's a lot of Gary V songs to mention but one that really caught his attention was the infectious single, "'Di Bale Na Lang."
"Maybe ‘yon ang una kong namulatan na song niya kasi ‘80s kid ako, e, so more or less yon yung mga first na napakinggan ko that really got me in interested in Gary Valenciano."
YAEL YUZON. Gary V's passionate delivery of his signature ballad, "Sana Maulit Muli," never fails to give Sponge Cola frontman Yaez Yuzon goose bumps. He animatedly referred to the number's climactic shift as the song's emotional tempo rises leading to the touching end.
The articulate frontman explained to PEP, "Kasi everytime na kinakanta niya ‘yon especially ‘pag siya ‘yong gumagawa, actually kahit hindi nga siya ang gumagawa, e, parang nga sa sobrang ganda na ng song ‘pag ginagawa ng ibang tao naalala mo pa din si Gary V.
"Nakakakilabot talaga ‘pag tinatamaan na niya ‘yong mga matataas na notes na ‘yon kasi parang ‘yong sound niya parang hindi falsetto, e, parang it's from another dimension. It's like a totally different plane of music, na parang it's a different note. Basta ang galing, nakakakilabot."
What about you? What's you favorite Gary V. piece?