Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lea looks back at performance with Patti Austin

MANILA – Tony Award winner Lea Salonga was all praises for Patti Austin as she recalled her performance with the Grammy-winning jazz artist on “The Voice of the Philippines” over the weekend. Salonga, one of the coaches on “The Voice of the Philippines,” recalled in her column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper how she and the show’s finalists ended up performing with Austin, who she considers as one of her all-time singing idols. According to Salonga, the performance was made possible because Austin’s concert in Manila coincided with the “live shows” of “The Voice of the Philippines.” “As Patti walked toward the stage, I could swear everyone she passed by was ready to genuflect. She and I had a big hug, then I introduced her to the eight finalists, one by one. She hugged all of them, too, saying, ‘I’m a hugger.’ Then rehearsals began,” she wrote. “We went through the lyrics to make sure everything was right, and that the ‘division of labor’ was to her liking. She was quite easy to work with, so any decision made would be just fine. As the afternoon progressed, she would give us harmonies (10 persons with differing vocal styles singing in unison isn’t always a great idea) as well as coaching and direction, saying, ‘For this part, sing it easy. Lea’s just belted the line before, so take this one down,’” she added. Salonga said Austin was “really touched” by the Filipinos’ appreciation of her music, which she witnessed herself during the number with the eight finalists of “The Voice.” “We might as well have been at a One Direction concert. The cheering got so loud before she even sang one note. As she sang, the audience remained on its feet. Later, she said she was really touched, and chided me that I could’ve warned her in advance that the crowd would be so audibly welcoming. She marveled at the degree of appreciation the Filipino audiences had for ‘ballads, melodies and lyrics that have meaning,’ and gave props to the Filipino artist for being so gifted in order to interpret such songs,” she wrote. “So, to Patti, thank you again! You have no idea how much your few minutes on ‘The Voice’ stage meant to all the artists you performed with, yours truly included. I will always and forever be one of your biggest fans.” Salonga and Austin first shared the stage in 2008, when the former was the opening act for the latter’s concert in San Francisco. Two years later, they performed duets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Austin, whose long-time makeup artist is a Filipino, has been watching “The Voice of the Philippines." Last June, she expressed her support for former Kulay member Radha Tinsay, who is now one of the show’s finalists.

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