PMPC Star Awards for Music Lifetime Achievement awardee Jose Mari Chan expresses disappointment over lack of support for local musicians

Non-payment of equity by foreign performers and poor support for local musicians are among the issues that bother Jose Mari Chan as a member of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) Board of Directors.

The 67-year-old balladeer and composer will receive his Lifetime Achievement Award tonight at the PMPC Star Awards for Music in Meralco Theater.


Balladeer and composer Jose Mari Chan, who is known for his well-loved compositions over the years, with songs that reached up to Double Diamond and Quadruple Platinum Status, is this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awardee of the 4th Star Awards for Music.

Ang Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) ang magbibigay ng parangal sa seremonyang gaganapin ngayong gabi, September 9 sa Meralco Theater, bandang 7 pm.

Kahit marami nang natanggap na award, excited pa rin si Jose Mari sa tatanggapin mula sa PMPC.

"It’s an affirmation that, ‘We approve of and like what you’ve done!’" aniya sa interview sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) kamakailan sa New World Hotel coffee shop.

Jose Mari Chan thanked the press organization for giving him the honor.

"But it should not stop you and it should not make you resilient,” banggit niya. “Because the creative process continues.

"And even if you still write [songs], na hindi na relevant sa mga kabataan, the art of writing itself should.

"Yes, because there will always be people who would appreciate it.

“Even if sampu na lang sila, o kahit isa na lang [ang makikinig]. It still justifies.

“So one should not stop.”



CLIFF RICHARD OF THE PHILIPPINES. In a career as a singer-songwriter that spanned more than four decades, starting in 1967, Jose Mari has made a distinct mark in the industry for his well-loved ballads.

Popular hits such as “Afterglow,” “Deep In My Heart,” “Can We Just Stop And Talk A While,” “Refrain,” “A Love To Last A Lifetime,” “My Girl, My Woman, My Friend” (with Janet Basco), “Beautiful Girl,” “Tell Me Your Name,” “Be Careful With My Heart” (with Regine Velasquez), “Christmas In Our Hearts” and the 2005 SEAG (Southeast Asian Games) theme “We’re All Just One.”

Naging bahagi rin siya ng daigdig ng advertisement, sa pamamagitan ng kanyang na-compose na popular TV commercial jingles.

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Katulad ng Alaska theme ("Sa lasa’t lasa, walang tatalo, wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska..."), Knorr soup mix theme ("There are Chinese soups, and there are Chinese soups, but there’s nothing like Knorr real Chinese soup..."), BBC 2 station jingle ("Welcome, world to this big, beautiful country...") at ang "Love at 30,000 feet" para sa Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Nakapagtrabaho rin siya bilang musical scorer sa mga pelikula nina Lino Brocka (Stardoom in 1971), Orlando Nadres (Dito Sa Aking Puso in 1972), at Luciano B. Carlos (Karioka Etchos de America in 1971).

But starting out in the local music industry was not easy for Jomari.

"Yung first first single ko was by an independent producer, si Sonny Lozano," pag-alaala niya.

"Si Sonny ngayon, he’s a professor at La Salle-Dasmariñas. Dati, he’s a member of a combo.

"Siya ang nagsabi sa akin, ’Joe, yung kanta mo na ’Afterglow,’ napanood ko on TV."

Nag-guest kasi sa TV si Jose Mari at kinanta niya ito.

"’Ang ganda, ah! Why don’t you make a record of it?’

"Sabi ko, ’Sige, kung ikaw ang magpu-produce.’

“So, he produced it. It came out in 1967."

Siya pa nga raw mismo ang naglalapit sa radio stations ng kopya ng kanyang record single para patugtugin ito.

“Afterglow” became a big hit and it earned him the title "Cliff Richard of the Philippines."

Si Cliff Richard ay isang popular British pop singer na sumikat nang husto nung 1950s at 1960s. Ilan sa mga kilalang hit songs nito ay ang “Summer Holiday,” “Constantly,” “The Young Ones,” at “Congratulations.”

Kuwento pa ni Jose Mari, "Ang mga tao noon, pumupunta sa record stores ng Raon, ’Gusto naming bumili ng ‘Afterglow,’ ni Cliff Richard...’

"Then, the record store owner would say, ‘Hindi, ‘Afterglow’ ni Jose Mari Chan ito...’

"’Local? Gusto namin yung kay Cliff Richard,’" pag-insist pa rin daw ng buyers.

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Natatawa na lang si Jose Mari, as he recalled those days.

"Dun ako nakilala. Ako daw ang ’Cliff Richard of the Philippines’

"Pero ayoko [ng title]. Sabi ko, ’Cliff Richard of the Philippines? Someday…’ sabi ko, ‘baka si Cliff Richard naman ang maging Jose Mari Chan ng UK.’"



THE DIFFERENCE THEN AND NOW. Bunga ng kasikatan noon ni Jose Mari, nagkaroon pa siya ng TV specials.

"In the ’70s, ‘80s, and even in the ’90s, nagkaroon ako ng TV specials, spotlighting my music.

"But, wala nang TV specials ngayon. Ang specials nila ngayon, they tape a concert and then they air on television,” may panghihinayang na sambit ni Jose Mari.

"Dati, TV specials are conceptualized. My directors were Al Quinn, Fritz Ynfante…”

Hindi rin mapigilan ng award-winning singer-composer na magsentimyento sa estado ng benta ng albums ng local artists ngayon.

"During my time, gold [record] was 20 thousand [copies sold], platinum was 40 thousand.

“Ngayon, 7 thousand na lang ang gold. So, a diamond is 10 thousand."

Malayung-malayo sa mga benta ng album niyang katulad ng Constant Change at Christmas in Our Hearts na parehong ginawaran ng double Diamond Record Awards.

"This year, I’m going to come out with a new Christmas album," aniya.

Wala pang kumpirmasyon kung anong record outfit ang magri-release, but Jomari Chan is sure to come up with a new album.

Unlike before, mas madalang ngayon ang pagpu-produce ng albums, dahil na rin sa iba’t ibang suliraning sinusuong ng local music industry.

Unang-una na ang music piracy at kaugnay na problema.

"Sabi ng record producers, ’Business has changed,’” saad niya.

“Pati nga si Vic del Rosario [of Viva Records], gusto na lang niya ngayon, talent management, production. Ayaw na nilang mag-produce ng albums."



INVOLVEMENT WITH OPM. Bukod sa pagiging musician, isa ring successful businessman si Jose Mari. Siya ang chairman and CEO of BISCOM, Inc., A. Chan Sugar Corporation, at Chairman and President of Signature Music, Inc.

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Sa kabila ng pagma-manage ng mga negosyong ito, may oras din siya bilang isa sa Board of Directors ng Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit o OPM.

Nagpahayag siya ng disappointment sa mga nangyayari hindi lang sa music industry kundi pati na rin sa OPM at sa mga miyembro nito.

"The past two years, we failed," pag-amin ni Jomari.

Nabanggit niya agad ang foreign-produced musical, Phantom of the Opera, na kasalukuyang tumatakbo sa Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

"They [the musical play’s producers] are supposed to pay equity to OPM, pero hindi sila nagbabayad ng equity.

"Sumulat kami sa Bureau of Immigration [B.I], ’Sir, we have an understanding, ang foreign productions dapat pinagbabayad sila ng equity sa mga OPM and theater groups.’

"The B.I. said, ’No.’ So, they give them [the foreign performers] visas to perform here, and yet wala kaming makuhang equity pay.

"’Yung Abba, yung Mama Mia (big foreign musicals shown here), hindi rin nagbayad sa amin. Kaya galit si Elmar Ingles," patuloy ni Jose Mari. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)

Ang pondong nalilikom mula sa ibinabayad na equity ng foreign artists sa OPM ay para sa mga miyembro nito na nangangailangan ng tulong.

Kaugnay nga nito ay ang isa pang problema ng OPM—ang pagtulong sa mga miyembrong either maysakit, or worse, nangamatay na in the past, na hindi masyadong natulungan ng organisasyon dahil sa kakulangan ng pondo.

Kamakailan ay nakapag-raise ng funds ang samahan, through a benefit show, para sa nagkasakit na OPM member na si Susan Fuentes.

Kabilang sa mga nag-perform sa show na ginawa sa Music Museum para kay Susan ay gratis o libre.

"Walang pera ang OPM to help," sabi ni Jomari. "Yung ibang members namin na namatay [noon], kokonti lang ang pera to help them."

Kabilang sa tinugunan ng OPM ang mga gastusin sa pagda-dialysis kay Susan. Sadly, hindi lang ito ang mga dapat paggugulan ng samahan, pero kapos sila sa salapi.

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INTERNAL PROBLEMS. Prangkang sinabi ni Jose Mari na among the current batch of officers sa OPM, headed by singer-composer Ogie Alcasid, hindi lahat sa mga ito ay nakapagbibigay ng full cooperation.

"Ilan ba kami sa organization? Walo, siyam in the organization…and dalawa ang laging hindi nag-a-attend.”

Karaniwan nang tanong daw kasi, maski ng ibang miyembro, o mga hindi pa opisyal na kaanib sa grupo, "’What’s in it for us? Is it going to help us promote our songs?’"

Para kay Jose Mari, hindi ito ang dapat na maging basehan ng pagsali at pagbibigay-suporta sa OPM.

"Yes, we don’t know [what benefits it might give us], but we will and should help, anyway. Walang concrete way to do it," saad niya.

Tungkol naman kay Ogie bilang presidente ng organisasyon: "He’s doing ok with OPM.

“He has his shortcomings, pero what can one do when all the others [are not cooperating]?"

Kuwento pa ni Jose Mari, kabilang sa mga “disinterested parties” ay music lounge performers.

"Sabi namin, mag-join sila, but they’d ask about the monthly, yearly dues…

"Magkano lang ang kinikita nila, ‘tapos they’re going to give it pa to OPM. They’d ask, ’How will it promote us?’"



PNOY’s SUPPORT FOR OPM. Ayon pa sa 67-year-old singer-composer, dahil na rin sa panahon ngayon, kaya mahina ang suporta sa OPM.

"I attend meetings of OPM, but I can see na parang it’s not really helping to promote Original Pilipino Music.

"Not because hindi sila pinapakinggan, but it’s because the business itself has changed.

"Or not like in the 1970’s, when Doroy Valencia, pinu-force [ang radio stations] to play four OPM songs an hour.”

Si Ka Doroy Valencia o kilala sa byline niyang Teodoro Valencia sa kanyang newspaper column na Over A Cup of Coffee ay ang tinaguriang “Dean of Filipino Journalists.”

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Isa siya sa mga nagsusulong noon para sa mas matinding suporta at pagkilala sa Filipino music.

"Even President PNoy, tumawag din siya sa mga radio stations to play at least four OPM songs an hour," pagbanggit pa ni Jose Mari sa presidente ng Pilipinas na si Benigno Aquino III.

Pero dahilan daw ng station managers at DJs, "’E, iba yung format namin, sir, e... jazz...’ Or ‘Top 40s...’"

"I just hope this situation still changes for the better," pag-asam na lang ni Jose Mari.


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