Young singer Rhap Salazar recalls experience at WCOPA

"Simula po nang mag-WCOPA po ako, marami naman pong natutuwa at sinasabi nila, 'Rhap, start na 'yan! Go, go, go!" says Rhap Salazar, 12 years old, about support he's getting from fans after winning the Junior Grand Champion Solo Vocalist of the World and Junior Grand Champion Performer of the World at the 13th World Championships of Performing Arts.

Rhap Salazar was all smiles as he related to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) his experience at the 13th World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) held last month at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles, California.

He was hailed as the Junior Grand Champion Solo Vocalist of the World and Junior Grand Champion Performer of the World. (Click here to read related article.)

The former Little Big Star's "Brightest Star" told PEP: "Masaya ako noong una po kasi matagal ko na rin pong pangarap na mag-World Championship of Performing Arts. Nagulat nga po ako nang sinabi nila na, 'Ay, this year, magjo-join ka." Sabi ko, "Sige, po!" So, hindi ko na po talaga binawi, sige na po talaga."

Although he and the other members of Team Philippines registered late, they still managed to prepare themselves for the competition.

"Late na rin po kasi kami nag-prepare," recalled Rhap. "Late na rin po kasi noong sinabi, so late na rin po kami nag-register, siguro po first week ng May, e, ang competition po June. Nag-voice lesson pa po ako kahit isang Sunday lang, tinuruan po ng vocalization."


Aside from the short preparation period, Rhap also revealed that he almost experienced losing his voice prior to finals night because of the extensive rehearsals.

He recalled, "Noong time na 'yon, bago mag-grand finals, grabe po sila kung mag-rehearsal, parang walang bukas. Kasi po, 'yong rehearsal po bago 'yong mismong grand finals, siguro po ang rehearsal apat-ira-run through po 'yon, pati pagho-host. 'Tapos kinabukasan may tatlo pa, e, ang kanta ko pa naman po ay 'All By Myself,' so mataas po.

"Pero nagsabi po ako doon sa director, [sumesenyas] po ako. Sabi po ng director, 'You need to reserve your voice?' Sabi ko, 'Yes.' So, pinayagan po akong hindi kumanta. [Sinabihan na lang ako], 'Practice your blockings,' kaya 'yon na lang ang prinaktis ko."

Despite his nervousness on "judgment day," Rhap says he tried not to lose confidence by asking the Lord's guidance.

"Noong nasa stage po ako, bago mag-perform, kinakabahan po talaga ako," Rhap said. "So, nag-pray po ako, sabi ko, 'Lord, kayo na po ang bahala. Bantayan niyo po ako. Sana po maganda po ang kalabasan ng performance ko ngayon.' Ayun po, water nang water, pray po nang pray."


As he started singing on stage, Rhap became more confident because of the audience's support. "Pagpasok ko po, nawala naman po 'yong kaba ko kasi marami naman pong pumapalakpak, [sumisigaw], 'Go, Rhap! Go, Rhap!' Ayun po, medyo nawala po 'yong kaba ko.

"Hindi ko na lang po iniisip na paos ako. Ang iniisip ko na lang po, 'Ay, nandiyan naman si Lord, bahala naman Siya sa akin, babantayan naman Niya ako kasi nag-pray naman ako kanina.' Hindi ko po talaga malilimutan na mag-pray."

START OF HIS SINGING CAREER. After WCOPA, Rhap said that he started receiving invitations for guest appearances. One TV appearance he won't forget was in ASAP, where he performed alone on stage.

"Natuwa po ako noong nag-guest po ako sa ASAP, kasi po noong nagge-guest po ako sa ASAP mga two lines lang ako. 'Yong part po na 'yon, moment ko, wala akong kasama sa stage, 'yong buong kanta sa akin. Marami pong nag-congrats sa akin. Masaya po!"


Rhap signed a recording contract with Star Records last night, August 10, for his first solo music album.

"First solo album ko po, 'Wow!'" he exclaimed. "Siguro po ie-enjoy ko na lang po kasi first time ko. At saka inaalay ko rin po 'yong album ko sa lahat ng mga sumusuporta po sa akin noon pa. Kasi po, 'yong mga sumusuporta po sa akin, 'yong mga nag-e-email, sabi nila, 'Sana magka-solo album ka.'"

He added that after winning WCOPA, many have been telling him this would be the start of a flourishing singing career. Rhap said to PEP, "Simula po nang mag-WCOPA po ako, marami naman pong natutuwa at sinasabi nila, 'Rhap, start na 'yan! Go, go, go!'





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