THE APING GAME

images (1)Pinoy folk singer Freddie Aguilar rarely speaks his mind about fellow Pinoy artists but when the normally placid Aguilar hinted that Mariah Carey might have a case with her opinion on Pinoys being ” brown monkeys” and made reference to Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco as examples, the nation was dismayed with his rather incautious and crabby  if not unpatriotic comment. Some 4 years ago, Mariah alledgedly called singer Regine Velasquez a monkey- meaning good at aping other singers hence the lack of originality- when asked about her opinion of the singer. The veracity of Carey’s insulting comment was never established and no evidence of interview video or tape was ever produced. It may have been an off the record remark who knows and I didn’t write this post to villify nor defend Mariah Carey. This post is about my opinion on Freddie Aguilar’s comments.

images (2)Freddie Aguilar expressed his criticism of Pinoy singers who venture into the U.S. of A. singing English songs and totally ignoring Tagalog songs.  Freddie’s criticism may have to do with something more than plain patriotism. I think his point has to do with establishing an identity before hurling oneself onto the center stage in a foreign land.  Freddie  choses to sing in Tagalog – that’s just comfort zone. When he was in the States, he contemplated to move to Nashville and record country music in English to stick to his genre but his heart wasn’t in tune with his mind. For him there was no sense in pursuing a singing career for the sake of making money. He had to like the music he was supposed to make and it can only be in Tagalog so he headed home to pursue a career where he and his music belongs.

images (3)Freddie’s criticism of Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco has nothing to do with their singing talent but their lack of identity and originality. In Pineda’s case, he didn’t venture to the U.S. of A to speculate on a singing career. He was hired by Journey to be their lead singer. He trained, auditioned and got the job. He had no other option. His identity was dictated by the job. Arnel is technically an OFW, a hotshot one at that 😉 The criticism applies more to the case of Charice Pempengco who suddenly burst into the U.S. TV airwaves and you wonder if she was discovered by Oprah Winfrey from some circus freak show. Her singing talent is certainly superb and you begin to wonder – why didn’t she become a hit in her country ? Charice has appeared on countless TV shows and concerts in the U.S. showcasing her incredible vocal prowess. Perhaps it is time for her to establish her own identity and cut her own records instead of aping Whitney Houston and Celine Dion the whole time. People in this part of the world expect every artist of celebrity stature to possess originality.  Here, copycats are for pubs and bars and at best, a regular gig at a third rate casino in Vegas.

I remember many years ago back in Pinas, a noon time show conducted a Jack Jones sound alike contest and invited the man himself, Jack Jones to be the judge at the finals. When the time came to select the winner, Jack declined to make any judgement saying that every person has his own unique talent and should never be judged with respect to how he close he fares with another person’s talent.  I wouldn’t say Jack’s comment embarrassed the hosts of the show but it was darn humbling in my opinion.

Honestly, if I were Charice I’d concentrate on cutting records here in North America. No frigging Pinoy/Pinay has even gotten close to David Foster for one,  much more performing duets with the best singers in the world. What pisses me off are those Pinoys who counted her out because she didn’t have the star quality looks when she was an aspiring singer back home and now these same hypocrites are cheering her on, inviting her to appear in shows, cut records and what not. This is a classic case of the discriminated seeking acceptance somewhere, where people look at your talents and not your looks, your social standing, the school where you came from, the place where you live blah, blah ….and achieving overwhelming success in the process. In this case, forget about patriotism. I’d even say screw patriotism 😡


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