Another milestone for Original Pilipino Music (OPM) is the American production of an album containing twelve hits of the timeless singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan. The album is called The Manhattan Connection: The Songs of Jose Mari Chan.
It can be remembered that Chan’s hits were revived locally through the years and the most recent of which is that of Christian Bautista. The album earned quadruple platinum award in a span of few months after the release and that only means Filipinos really love the voice and the melody of no less than Jose Mari Chan.
The eternal hits like “Beautiful Girl,” “Constant Change,” “Can We Just Stop and Talk a While” and “Please Be Careful With My Heart” would always remind us of his mellow and soothing voice that he considers a gift from God. He even confessed in a recent interview that since the beginning of his career, he did not have a voice coach.
His passion for his art catapulted him into this stature at present that after so many decades, his songs would always be remembered especially as the yuletide season hastens. “Christmas in our Hearts” and”Perfect Christmas” would always make us sing to it whenever we hear of it being played over the radio.
But who could have known that after so many years, an American producer would take some interest in his compositions and make it into an album, released in a musically liberated nation that of America. It only means Filipino music is captivating for the foreigners and with that Chan was so thankful to Janis Siegel, current member of the Manhattan Transfer, an American vocal group, for producing the album.
All of the twelve songs will be performed by budding American singers of this age and this comes out like a tribute album to a non-American artist- a rare happening as they call it.
Chan said during the album press launch:”I was pleasantly surprised with the result of the album. I felt honored and challenged,” and he added that this is an achievement for the Philippine Music Industry.
The story behind album production began a few years ago when Renen De Guia of Ovation Productions met with Siegel, the solo-Grammy Music Award recipient, and introduced him to Jose Mari Chan. Siegel soon found interest in Chan’s compositions upon hearing some of it which resulted to this tribute album.
Chan’s album only proves that OPM can cross cultural boundaries and is a big achievement for the music industry which would serve as an inspiration for Filipino musicians to keep on playing and creating songs from the heart. I think this is the edge of Filipino artists: the heart for music, the heart which is inside every OPM song, the message that it brings into our sub-conscious which seem to remain there forever and are even be part of our own lives.