Lani Misalucha on elusive international record deal: "Kung darating siya, darating. If not, okay lang."

"Alam mo sa totoo lang, ayokotalagang mag-expect. Hindi ako yung taong ‘eto ang gusto kong gawin ‘taposhindi nangyari, madi-disappoint. Hindi naman ako yung klase ng tao na ‘pagmerong bagay na hindi nangyari sa akin, e, madi-depress na ako. Kung maymangyari, why not?" says Lani Misalucha when asked about her dream of landing a recording contract in the U.S.




Asia's Nightingale Lani Misalucha makes another short visitto the Philippines to promote her second album from Universal Records, Reminisce.The album, which she recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada, contains 14 best-lovedsongs with "Love of My Life" as the carrier single.

Other tracks include "Here, There, andEverywhere;" "Someone That I Used To Love;" "Healing;""Bridges;" Love of My Life;" I Loved You All the Way;""Get Here;" "Whispering Waves;" "Skyline Pigeon;""Tin Man;" "Where Is The Love/Feel Like Making Love"medley; and "We Could Have It All."

The theme song of ABS-CBN's teleserye Iisa Pa Lamang,which Lani sang, is a bonus track.

ALL-COVERS ALBUM. In a mini-presscon held last August11 at Universal Tower on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Lani met select members ofthe press, including PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), to talk about hernew album, her life in Las Vegas, her future plans, among others.

Just like her self-titled album with Universal Records, Reminiscealso contains purely cover songs.

Lani explained, "Ito muna talaga yung tema namin, justlike the first one that we did, puro mga cover songs lang din ang ginamitnamin. Secondly, ‘eto rin yung madali nang gawin, e. Kapag existing na yung mgasongs, you'll just have to sing it your own way, your own version. At saka, yunna nga, convenient sa akin. Lahat ng mga ito, somehow, familiar songs so itwould be easier for me to record it."

As mentioned earlier, Lani recorded all the songs in LasVegas, where she is now based with her husband and their two daughters."Nagsimula kami actually nung late last year, then we finished when I gotback here. Lahat ng recording dun ginawa, ‘tapos meron lang little curing naginawa namin dito," Lani said.

Her first album with Universal records really didwell, a certified platinum going to double platinum. Is this the reason why shedecided to do another cover album?

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"Well, that's one of the reasons," admitted thesinger. "Since it did good, why not do another one? Ano rin naman, e, walarin naman akong bagong album. So might as well do it, you know. ‘Tsaka hindinaman talaga ako laging nandirito, hindi ako permanente rito. It would be niceif there's something they [her fans] can listen to while I'm not around."

When asked if she'll do an all-original compositions albumanytime soon, she replied: "It will come soon. Hopefully next year. Youknow, when I'm not that busy."

Ever since she and her family migrated to the United States,Lani has been performing with the Society of 7 in some of the top hotels andcasinos in Las Vegas. In fact, they just finished their contract with theFlamingo Hotel last April.

"Hopefully, babalik kami ng October with anothercasino, we just can't tell kung ano ‘yon," informed Lani. "Naka-breakkami. Nung natapos kami sa Flamingo, nag-tour na lang muna kami ng Society of7. Umikot-ikot muna kami hanggang sa mahilo kami! Umikot-ikot kami sa U.S., nagpunta kami ng Atlantic, Canada, maramikaming shows sa West Coast. So pagkatapos nun, ‘eto na, nandito na ako paramagpatuloy yung utak ko na nagtatrabaho."

ELUSIVE DREAM. It is no secret that Lani also dreamsof landing a recording contract in the U.S. and eventually penetrating theinternational recording scene. Almost five years after leaving the Philippinesand getting glowing reviews for her stint in Las Vegas, Lani has yet to fulfillthis dream.

"Kung darating siya, darating," she said. "Ifnot, okay lang, yun lang. It's not something na talagang pinagpupursigihan ko.Good reviews doesn't really... Sometimes it really takes a lot of luck, justlike what happened to Charice and Arnel Pineda [of the Journey]. You know,they're like YouTube wonders. You know sometimes, maispatan ka lang ng ganungtema, you're on your way. Hindi pa nangyayari sa akin, e!" Lani laughed.

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Is she waiting for it to happen?

"Not really," Lani answered. "Alam mo satotoo lang, ayoko talagang mag-expect. Hindi ako yung taong ‘eto ang gusto konggawin ‘tapos hindi nangyari, madi-disappoint. Hindi naman ako yung klase ng taona ‘pag merong bagay na hindi nangyari sa akin, e, madi-depress na ako. Kungmay mangyari, why not?"

Is she giving herself time limit, that if it doesn't happenat a certain period of time, she'll give up and pursue other things?

"Yes," she immediately said. "Kung hindi manmangyari, meron pang ibang magagandang bagay na dapat kong pagtuunan, may iba pangmga bagay na puwede ko pang gawin."

Like her recording career here in the Philippines?

"Sa ngayon, tinutuunan ko talaga ‘tong album na ‘tohangga't nandirito ako. Pero ganun pa man, e, kasi dun [Las Vegas] akonakatira, e. Dun kami nabubuhay ngayon, e. Hindi ko maaaring iwan kung ano yungginagawa ko dun," Lani admitted.

THE ROAD TO AMERICA. Sinceit was notreally her intention to pursue an international recording career, what wasLani's purpose in going to the United States at that time when she's still atthe peak of her career?

"Isa pa lang yung anak namin ng husband ko, noon pa mannag-usap na kaming mag-asawa... Kasi actually, ako yung laging nagsasabi kayNoli [her husband] noon na ako yung nagpu-push ng idea na, ‘Nakikita mo ba yungsarili natin na magpatuloy ang buhay natin sa ibang lugar?' Wala akongini-specify kung sa Amerika ba o sa Australia o sa Canada o sa Europa, wala.Pero sabi ko, ‘What do you think of the idea of leaving the [Philippines] andresiding in another country.

"Sabi ng husband ko, ‘Bakit mo sinabi ‘yang idea na‘yan wherein mahusay ang buhay natin dito sa Pilipinas, maayos naman tayongpamilya, meron naman tayong bubong sa ibabaw ng ulo natin?' In other words, siNoli, hindi niya ini-entertain yung idea na ‘yon. But still, that idea kepttoying on my head.

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"Hanggang sa malaki na yung dalawa naming anak, it wasactually middle of 2002 na nagbabalak na talaga kami... Kumbaga, nag-give in nasiya sa idea ko na manirahan na sa ibang bansa. And we were looking at Canadaas a place to migrate to.

"Ako, yung time na ‘yon, sabi ko, ‘Okay na,na-experience ko na yung ganitong klaseng career. Nalaman ko na kung anongklase yung ganitong buhay na naging isang singer, naging isang recordingartist, naging isang concert performer.' Sabi ko, ‘I guess this is enough.'

"Kasi lumabas lang naman ako sa music industry dito saPhilippines ng 1997; really, really late. Kaya nga tinawag akong late bloomer,e. And I wasn't that young anymore. I already had two kids and a husband, I wasalready a mother at that time. So iniisip ko na, ‘Wow, bonus na sa akin ‘to nahindi ko akalain na magiging singer ako.' So, sabi ko sa husband ko, ‘Okay na‘to, na-experience ko na 'to. Somehow, nagkaroon tayo ng maliit na perangnaipon, okay na sa akin ang mag-step back.' I wanna go back to the real Laniwho's a mother and a wife.

"And then, nag-ano na nga kami ng mga papers. Ready natalaga kami. We were already ready. Hanggang sa we had this phone call na late2003, there was an invitation for us to go the U.S. and see a show sa LasVegas. There was an offer sa aming mag-asawa for a business sa U.S. Magmulanoon, parang unti-unti nang nag-iiba yung course nung tina-travel namingmag-asawa. Hanggang, finally, we found ourselves in America instead ofCanada," Lani narrated.

Lani clarified that they are not American citizens yet.

"Immigrant kami, hindi kami citizen," she said."Ano pa lang kami doon, magpa-five years pa lang kami. E, di ba, doonkailangan mong mag-ano ng five years bago ka mag-apply ng citizenship? E, walapa naman kami limang taon, magli-limang taon pa lang. Although, resident kamidoon."

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THE RETURN. Now that she has recorded another album,is this a sign that she will return to the Philippines?

"Alam mo, babalik talaga ako, babalik. It's just a matter ofthe question na when. Sa ngayon nga, somehow na-establish na namin yung buhay namingmag-asawa doon, ‘tsaka yung mga anak ko very comfortable na doon. At saka akorin naman, napakakumportable ng buhay ko doon. Kumportable hindi dahil there'senough resources or there's enough money, no. Kumportable yung lifestyle, thekind of set-up kung ikukumpara dito. Mas gusto ko yung ganung klaseng set-up.

"So, hindi ko talaga masabi na babalik ba ako dito in amatter of two years or three years? Hindi ko masabi. But kung babalik ako dito,malamang yun yung time na mga retiring age na kaming mag-asawa... Ang sama, ano?!

"No, no, no..." she clarified. "You know what, bakit ka namanhindi mag-iisap ng retirement kung may sapat ka nang pera para masuportahan moyung ano... Kasi alam mo sa Amerika, lahat dun, kailangan mong i-prepare yungsarili mo for your retirement, e. Lahat dun kailangan mong iprepara, Lahat.Kapag ikaw doon hindi ka handa, pupulutin ka sa basurahan. Yun ang mga nakikitako sa mga puti, sa mga Amerikano, o kung sino mang tao na nakatira sa Amerika.Kasi otherwise, wala talaga.

"Tingnan mo doon, ha. You have to have a life insurance, amedical insurance, your house should be insured...lahat doon. Kapag ikaw meronkang trabaho ngayon, kailangan mong i-prepare yung sarili mo, you should havean IRA [Individual Retirement Account], wherein in the future ‘pag wala ka nangtrabaho, meron kang matatanggap. Hindi katulad dito sa atin, di ba, matapos kanang magtrabaho, nandiyan ang anak mo, andiyan ang mga pamangkin mo to lookafter you.

"So, you'll never know. Malay mo, pumalpak yungeconomy ng Amerika. Wala rin naman akong pupuntahan kundi dito. But then again,sa ngayon, okay ang buhay namin dun."

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CONCERT TOUR WITH REGINE. After her promo tour herein the Philippines, Lani will return to the United States to prepare for herback-to-back concert tour there with Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez, titled TheMain Event, in September. The schedule is as follows: Sept. 6, Los Angeles;Sept. 16, San Francisco; Sept. 19, Chicago; Sept. 20, New Jersey; and Sept. 21,Toronto.

Although Lani and Regine used to be co-hosts in SOP,they never had a back-to-back concert. How does it feel like working withRegine for the first time in a major concert?

"Itong Regine-Lani is a long overdue concert,"revealed Lani. "Dapat ‘to nangyari na ‘to nung 2003, I think... Siguro wewere busy, actually, siya yung talagang matinding busy. Ako rin naman, althoughwhat makes me busy naman kasi hindi lang naman career ang inaasikaso ko. Istill have my personal life to attend to.

"This is really something I'm very excited. Ano ‘to,ito yung I'm pretty sure—hindi naman sa nagbubuhat ako ng bangko—pero ito yungsomething na alam kong inaabangan ng mga tao."

Lani also gave a hint that after their U.S. concert tour,the Filipinos will be able to witness this once-in-a lifetime event next year.

"Isa yun sa magandang part, na somehow pasasabikinnamin yung mga tao. Dun [sa U.S.] muna mauna, bago dito sa Pilipinas," shesaid.

Lani celebrated her 39th birthday last August 3.


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