Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Songs I’ve written

Found a few songs I’ve written uploaded to YouTube. The songs “In The Air” and “Forever” were recorded and released by a female singer named Michelle Alvendia. Also found a couple songs I wrote for female singer Malyssa. Thought you blog readers would find this entertaining, especially if you like dance music. Enjoy! Now back to that manuscript…

Filed under: Music, , , ,

Songwriting

I usually just talk about my fiction writing, but whenever I need a break from wordsmithing, I’m behind the piano working on songs still in their infancy.

I’ve been a professional songwriter for many years now. I’ve written over 100 songs, with 10 songs released on albums by various recording artists. I’m a member of the The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, better known as ASCAP, one of the three Publishing Rights Organizations (PROs) all songwriters should register with. Check out my ASCAP songs by clicking here!

The first song I wrote ever released to the public was a song called Reminisce performed by Malyssa and it became a regional dance hit. It’s lifespan continued throughout the summer of 2002 and from there, I got a taste of what it was like to hear a song I wrote being played on the radio. You can listen to Reminisce by clicking here! After you take a listen, let me know what you think of it!

A song I co-wrote called “Here With You” by Malyssa became a global dance hit because of its European sound throughout the year of 2003. Most recently, it was licensed out to the TV series “The Glades” (A&E Network), as well as various other indie movies previous to this placement.

I usually don’t bring up my songwriting because I figure people will know about one of my songs if they heard it. And I’d much rather have the performer get all the accolades and I can focus on just writing. My friends say I should talk about my songwriting more, so hopefully this blog entry is the first step for me to be more open about not just my novels, but also about the songs I wrote that have hopefully made a difference in people’s lives.

I’ve listed a few of my songs on this blog. Feel free to take a listen and let me know what you think! All of the songs have been released, and I hope to add more songs to this blog in the future — as long as I feel they are worthy of the public’s ears.

Filed under: Music, , , , , ,

And the Idol accolades are in

One of my friends asked me if I was raving about Thia Megia only because she’s of Filipino ethnicity. What about the talent? A fair question that deserves a fair answer.

I’m a Filipino American writer with a blog, so anything pertaining to Filipinos I tend to write about because it interests me. The storylines in my novels center around Filipino characters, but I strive to make my stories have universal themes that anyone can relate to— pregnancy, grief, death, love, happiness, with these themes affecting characters inspired by my Filipino life.

At the same time, I’ve always been a mainstream kind of guy when it comes to music and movies. I’ve always believed that talent trumps ethnicity went it comes to the arts–I’m just more aware when it’s a Filipino blowing up the stage on American Idol. I used to work in the music industry with Classified Records, pushing a primarily Filipino American roster to mainstream radio and retailers. We reached nominal success, but the page has turned. It’s a new decade….with a new generation of kids who have the talent to compete with anyone.

Thia Megia is just one example. Clint Gamboa is a male singer and American Idol 2010 Top 24 finalist who has impressed. I personally don’t think he has the talent level to make it any further, so we’ll see tonight.

Outside of American Idol, a female singer named Maria Aragon from Winnipeg Canada is a huge YouTube sensation! She’s a 10 years old who brought Lady Gaga to tears! In today’s music industry, ethnicity is a secondary factor that influences music styles and affects fans looking for a connection to their culture. But true talent should always be the standard.

So to set the record straight. I believe Thia is one of the most talented vocalists who happens to be Filipino and from Mountain House, the town I call home. And to those who accuse me of being subjective–well, I guess I am–check out the entertainment industry’s review of her performance last night. I’m not the only one who think she’s got the talent.

Check out Hollywood Gossip and MTV News. If you do more google searches, you’ll see more. And was it crazy that Randy Jackson compared her to the great Michael Jackson? That came out of left field, and I’m not sure if he’s entirely accurate, but he was nonetheless impressed. The control of her voice and the pitch–it was probably one of the best Idol performances in a while.

Will she make it to the next round tonight? I think so, but you just never know. Idol is so crazy sometimes. All of Mountain House will be on pins and needles tonight rooting her on!

Filed under: Music, , , , , , , ,

American Idol Season 10 – Go Thia!

Filipino American Thia Megia is the real deal on American Idol Season 10. And she’s from Mountain House, the town I live in. And regardless of the fact she’s a local girl and Filipino, she has one of the best voices on the show!

Personally, it’s great to see the musical talent from the Filipino community really making a global impact. Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas, Charice, Sway Penala, and Thia Megia are just a few of the names of singers and musicians representing. I know there’s a bunch I’m missing! I’m really proud of our community evolving and being able to perform competitively in the arts. Filipinos used to be the folks who worked behind the scenes, but now this is changing (finally!).

I remember when I worked in the music industry full-time, Filipinos would support each other simply based on the fact we were Filipino. I didn’t think that mentality helped cultivate the development of our community’s skills. We just gave each other props based on ethnicity, not necessarily talent or quality. And I was probably the biggest culprit of this.

But today’s talent…I’m excited for the future!!!! And if a Filipina American becomes the American Idol, I will probably just cry.

Filed under: Music, , , ,

Super Bowl, Super Proud

BEP - Superbowl 2011

The biggest American institution in sports — the Super Bowl. Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25. Great game. I personally looked forward to the halftime show knowing The Black Eyed Peas were performing, and I would have to say probably one of the best halftime shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Apl.de.Ap of The Black Eyed Peas is of Filipino descent and along with Manny Pacquiao, probably the world’s most successful Filipino in entertainment. Everytime I see him on a national stage, I feel proud and happy he’s doing his thing. I’ve met him a few times during my visits to Hollywood and he’s always been courteous and humble about his success. I hope he and BEP have 20 more years of commercial success. God knows it didn’t come easy for him–he was a poor kid growing up in the Philippines who ended up meeting a kid named William Adams, aka Will.i.Am, in high school when he immigrated to Los Angeles. He recently revealed to People Magazine what a lot of us have known for a long time—he suffers from nystagmus and is legally blind. I remember him touching my face and hand when I first met him and when I found out about his condition, it made sense. Apl.de.Ap is the epitome of someone overcoming adversity physically (eyesight) and economically, and his continued success should make everyone smile. It keeps me focused knowing that if Apl.de.Ap can do it, I can get my book or my music out there and be successful.

The Superbowl aftermath also revealed that Will.i.Am couldn’t tweet during the halftime show because there was no AT&T service! Check out this article here and how his star power has forced AT&T to defend themselves.

I feel your pain Will. I probably shouldn’t have signed that two year contract back in December now that Verizon carries the iPhone as a device.

I’ve been reading some great books lately, which I will post up my reviews shortly.

For all my author friends, keep doing what you’re doing! Believe!

Here’s to a great February!

Filed under: Music, Writing, , , , , , , ,

Big ups to Filipino American talent

Check out this NY Times Article on a Filipino American group called Legaci.

Never heard of them? No surprise since mainstream media has overlooked them for years, but the Filipino community hasn’t and now they’re making quite a mainstream story these days.

Legaci is now on tour with Justin Bieber and now getting a lot of publicity. I find it craaazy that this 16 year-old pop star is making Legaci blow up, but then I also found it weird that Miley Cyrus was a mentor on American Idol. What the heck do I know?

A lifetime ago, I was a music industry producer and promoter. I worked for Classified Records – a Northern California independent label and we stood behind singing groups Drop n Harmony, Pinay, Jocelyn Enriquez, M:G, Julie Plug, then I started my own label and produced female singers Malyssa and Michelle Alvendia. We could never truly crack mainstream music, the exception being Jocelyn Enriquez’s single “Do You Miss Me”.

Not all of these artists were of Filipino descent, but a prominent movement of Filipino American singers started, and I came in contact with a lot of them through shows and events. Kai, 6th Day, One Voice, Innerlude, Next Phaze, Ver5e, Premiere and solo singers Sharyn Maceren and Natalise were all artists trying to make it. They all hailed from Northern California, and there was quite a movement of artists releasing music between 1996 – 2006.

This decade of Asian American talent trying to reach mainstream was something I was proud to be part of, but it was difficult for everyone without support from a broader audience. These artists were competing for the same gigs and appearances in the Asian American community. Some creeped into mainstream, but most stayed within the confines of APA media outlets. I was focused towards making my artists reach the top, but I did show support by selling CDs of all artists through an online webstore I ran for a few years. Many of these singers competed on American Idol, and some made it further than others. Most prominent from this movement of AI auditioners from Northern California was DnH singer Jose “Sway” Penala who just recently released his album “My Story.”

One of these Northern California groups is Legaci, a group that has perservered through faith. I remember these guys when they were younger, and they had that youthful energy that made the girls love ’em. In my opinion, they never received the support of the greater community. In fact, I felt like they were hated on by a lot of people. Looking back, I wonder why the community could never unite as one, but hey…that’s a topic for another day.

I wanted to give out a big shout out to Micah, Delfin, Chris and Dominic, aka Legaci for their continued faith in their dream to make it in music. I’m pulling for them to have a financially secure future through music and hopefully the mainstream exposure will allow them to get truly paid.

That’s all the Filipino American singers/artists have asked for – a fair shake, a chance to compete on an even playing field. For years, we’ve been setup to fail by an industry that has disregarded our talent publicly. But we’ve been doing this for years. Go to the Philippines, and everyone is singing or playing an instrument. A Filipino household isn’t complete without the Magic Mic, and the most talented singers I know are Filipino or Asian.

But America isn’t privy to this yet. Those in charge are still trying to understand how to market Filipino American talent, so they go for the safe investment, unwilling to take a chance on a singer of Filipino descent. The only Filipino singers/artists (who identify themselves as Pinoy) that I know of who are making a good living from music I can count on one hand: Lea Salonga, Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas and Charice Pempengco. And these artists one can argue are not household names. There’s a few making a living from acting, but that’s for another blog entry. If I’m missing anyone please let me know, but that’s all who I can think of off the top of my head.

Legaci has been at this for years, and this is the first time they’ve been able to get this kind of exposure. And I’m ecstatic about it! Congratulations guys!

Filed under: Music, , , , , , , , ,

The underdog

My kids love watching the reality show America’s Got Talent. This season, there’s a guy named Kevin Skinner, an unemployed farmer who the judges and audience laughed at when he first walked on stage.

He sang a Garth Brooks cover and when he started, the place turned deathly silent. Skinner’s performance was one of the most heartfelt and powerful performances I’ve ever witnessed.

Here’s to the underdog winning it all.

Filed under: everyday, Music