Roselle Nava had never thought of setting up her own music school. After all, she took up Marketing Management at De La Salle University, and knew nothing about music except that she loves to sing.
But with the encouragement of people around her, she decided to put up her school, Muzik Konzert, last year at BF Homes in Parañaque. It was in summer this year that she opened her branch on Visayas Avenue, Quezon City. Her manager Baby Pacheco and Allen, Roselle's boyfriend of eight years, are her partners.
She has a manager who runs the Parañaque branch, while she personally looks after the business in Quezon City. Her next target? To have another branch in San Pedro, Laguna, her hometown.
STARTING YOUNG. It will come as a surprise that Roselle's first love is not singing. As a kid, she took more pleasure in dancing for her aunt and uncle during parties and different occasions.
But the karaoke was the "in" thing in the ‘80s, and that's how she discovered her talent in singing. "Di ba usong-uso? My dad bought one," she related. "Iba kasi yung pag bata ko, try ko yung microphone. Siguro doon na siya nag-start. Na-in love ako sa singing."
Roselle also mentioned how the popular singing contest hosted by Pilita Corrales and the late Bert Marcelo ignited her desire to become a singer.
"Mayroon akong classmate na sumali sa Bagong Kampeon, so siyempre parang...kung yung best friend mo, sumali sa Bagong Kampeon, ‘Daddy, tingnan mo siya...'" Next thing she knew, she was having her voice lessons.
Roselle said she started at age 10. "I took up voice classes under different schools—Center for Pop, Trumpets, Ryan Cayabyab, 'saka mga independent coaches. My dad was pushing me to keep on learning and learning."
The training helped her overcome her shyness. "Noong banding huli, hindi mo na ako maawat mag-perform," she said.
Just like most aspiring singers, Roselle joined amateur singing contests.
"Naranasan ko pa sumali sa isang contest na hindi kabisado ng banda. I gave them a song, 'Isang Lahi.' Bago pa lang yung song that time. Hindi kabisado ng banda. Kinakanta ko yung 'Isang Lahi,' tinutugtog nila. Pero siyempre, paano ka makakanta kung kinakapa ng banda yung tugtog. So, iyak ako ng iyak after singing. Sabi ko, ‘mali yung tugtog, mali yung tugtog,'"the former Ang TV kid recalled.
And the lesson she now imparts to the students in her school is that one must be prepared for anything that happens.
BECOMING A FAMOUS SINGER. Roselle's entry into showbiz took the long and winding road. She was already 16 years old when she began appearing on the defunct ABS-CBN show Ang TV.
Roselle notes that kids are luckier these days, given all the reality-based talent shows.
"During our time, parang sumusuot ka sa butas ng karayom. Ngayon, kapag nanalo ka, may album ka kaagad. Noon, kahit na nagka-hit ako ng maraming songs, hindi ko pa nararanasan magka-concert sa Araneta. Unlike now, isang hit mo, puwede ka nang mag-show sa Araneta. Iba-iba siyempre," she said wistfully.
Ironically, the singer with an impressive vocal range has never had a solo concert at the Big Dome. But she did perform in concerts abroad, and up to now, she still gets invited to sing in different parts of the globe.
"Ngayon kasi hindi na ako ganoon ka-active dito. Mas marami kaming out of the country...Like this year, I've been to Dubai and Bahrain. Marami akong napupuntahan na countries."
Roselle was also successful in churning out six albums, which boast hit songs like, "You," "Bakit Nga Ba," "Dahil Mahal Kita," and "Huwag Ka Nang Babalik."
Her last album was released in 2004. She noticed that things were beginning to slow down for her in 2006.
"Sa akin, hindi rin naman kami nalungkot kasi marami din namang shows abroad. Hindi mo na lang napapansin na hindi mo napagtutuunan ng pansin yung dito."
Her manager and her dad have been bugging her to release a new album in the next couple of months.
"Kinukulit niya [dad] ako tungkol sa album ko kaysa dito sa business. Tinatanong na ako ng producer niya kung kailan ako puwedeng mag-recording. Sabi ko, ‘wait lang, wait lang.' Ewan ko, kasi medyo matagal na rin akong nawala sa recording," Roselle said of her hesitance in going back to the studio.
"I'm just taking it slow," she added, stressing that she's finding it difficult select the right songs. "But once we pick up the songs, siguro in a month's time, we could already finish the recording and arrange it. Kaya madali na siya."
WEDDING PLANS. Roselle also told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) the other reason that's keeping her from releasing a new album: Her weight.
"I've also gained a bit of weight. I've been eating a lot, so every time na lumalabas ako sa TV, siyempre, you add ten pounds more," she laughed.
"But I've been trying to go back to the gym, and also be more health- conscious pagdating sa food. Junk food addict pa ako.
"Now, I try to eat healthy food. So, I'm trying to eat more vegetables, eat more fish, so, siyempre kapag tumatanda ka, 'andiyan na yung mga sakit... Hindi na din ako teenager."
When asked if her forthcoming wedding also prods her to go on a diet, she simply answered, "Ano daw iyon, kapag ikakasal ka na hindi mo na kailangan mag-diet. Natural na lang daw iyon."
She continued, "I'm also looking forward to having my own family. Excited na rin ako although may fear ako of giving birth. It's something I really, really do fear."
But while she's waiting for her big day to come, Roselle focuses on her music schools. Things are a bit tough, but she knows she's on the right track.
"Marami pa kaming kakaining bigas. Yung iba, 15 [or] 20 years na pero hopefully...Madami na rin students, pero hindi ganoon kadami. Saka gusto ko talagang nami-meet or nakakausap or na-share-an ng kaunti ang mga grumagradweyt sa mga courses namin. Iba pa rin yung personal touch na tinatawag," said Roselle about her new business.