Rico Blanco: The rock hitmaker

by Michelle Licup
Nov 18, 2021
Rico Blanco
Rico Blanco has a music career spanning four decades. He has also worn many hats: he's a vocalist, a songwriter, a keyboardist, a guitarist, a producer, an actor, and even a painter.

Rico Blanco has a music career spanning four decades.

From the 1990s up to 2007, he was known as the vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist, and main songwriter of Rivermaya.

In the late 2000s, he launched his solo career, and became a multi-awarded musician.

In 2009 alone, he bagged nine trophies and accolades from Awit Awards, Myx Music Awards, NU Rock Awards, and Philippine Radio Music Awards.

The following year, Rico began exploring a career in the movies and on television. He also founded his own company, Balcony Entertainment.

As a recording artist, Rico's debut album Your Universe gained a massive following in Singapore and Hong Kong, where his single "Neon Lights" topped the charts, beating Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, and Wonder Girls.

He wrote all the songs in the album.

But what do fans know about Rico besides being a talented musician?

Here are some facts:

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

Rivermaya vocalist Rico Blanco

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Born in Manila on March 17, 1973, Rico however spent most his childhood, together with his three siblings, in San Pedro, Laguna.

He attended grade school in O.B. Montessori and high school in San Beda College Alabang (formerly Benedictine Abbey School).

In college, he obtained his bachelor's degree in Management Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University.

In 2017, Rico took a break from his musical career to pursue other interests he had been wanting to do—more time with his family, most of all.

He told Philippine Daily Inquirer in July 2019, "Simple things lang naman, spend time with my family and friends.

"If you see me work, I work like anything, so yung time nababawasan.

“Travels, see places, getting older and this is the best time for me to travel.

"I don’t have my own family. Yung mga pamangkin ko, patapos na ng college.

"'Tapos my mom goes, ‘We’re okey na. Enjoy your life.'"

More than two years later, he returned to his passion, making music.

CAREER

Rivermaya 1994-2007

In 1994, Rico, along with Bamboo Mañalac, Mark Escueta, Perf de Castro, and Nathan Azarcon, formed the rock band Rivermaya.

He played the keyboards and was also a second vocalist.

Many of the songs in the band's first album were written by Rico, such as "Ulan" (together with Azarcon), "214," and "Awit ng Kabataan."

OPM Band Rivermaya members

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A prolific songwriter, the other hit songs he authored included "Himala," "Kisapmata," "Hinahanap-hanap Kita," "You'll Be Safe Here."

In 2007, a source revealed in PEP Exclusive that Rico was leaving Rivermaya for a solo career after 14 years.

His last performance with Rivermaya took place in Metro Bar in West Avenue, Quezon City, where, coincidentally, his first gig with the band as a singer also took place.

Solo Career

Since then, Rico has ventured into business. He launched his clothing line, Human, and formed his own artist management and record label, Balcony Entertainment.

OPM icon Rico Blanco

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In 2008, Rico released his first-ever single as a solo artist. Titled "Yugto", it earned a number of awards, including Song of the Year at the 22nd Awit Awards.

In the same year, Rico was recognized as the "Vocalist of the Year" at the NU Rock Awards, as well as "OPM Solo Artist of the Year" by radio station RX 93.1.

He also won the "Best New Artist" at the MYX Music Awards 2009.

While music is in Rico's blood, he also tried his hand in acting. In 2010, he joined the cast of Imortal, an ABS-CBN supernatural TV series top billed by John Lloyd Cruz and Angel Locsin.

He even tried voice acting for an anime series.

RELATIONSHIP

There were not many details about Rico's previous relationships, until recently.

KC Concepcion

KC Concepcion

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It was 2003 when dating rumors about Rico and KC Concepcion surfaced.

There was never confirmation from both sides, although in an interview by the late Ricky Lo, Rico shared that he and KC "got really close."

The "Bali Song" was also supposedly written for KC.

Non-showbiz girlfriend

In 2013, Rico opened up about his love life in an interview.

He told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), “Eto na… I’ve been seeing someone for about a year na. Non-showbiz, non-celebrity.”

While he did not disclose her name, he related how they met, “Itinago na lang natin sa non-showbiz na category.

"We’ve known each other for a long time now. Ten years.

“Lagi siyang may boyfriend, lagi akong may girlfriend. Hindi nagta-timing. Yung window, hindi nagtapat.”

There were no public details about when and how they parted ways.

Maris Racal

Maris Racal

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On the morning of March 17, a post by Maris Racal plus a reply from Rico drove both their fans kilig crazy.

Maris' Instagram post showed a photo of Rico and a video of their duet.

Her caption was simple: "hi rico. happy birthday." To which Rico replied, "hahaha love you!!!"

Within hours, the photo was bombarded with congratulatory and surprised comments from fans and celebrities alike.

A couple of months after, Maris finally opened up the real score between her and Rico.

Rico and Maris met when they collaborated through the song "Abot Langit" in 2019.

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To date, the two are still happy together as seen in their posts on social media.

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Rico Blanco has a music career spanning four decades. He has also worn many hats: he's a vocalist, a songwriter, a keyboardist, a guitarist, a producer, an actor, and even a painter.
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