'jarrod' wrote on '23:
Famed international producer affirms Sarah Geronimo is future of OPM
By JOJO P. PANALIGAN
Famed International producer Christian de Walden says that though other Filipino female artists are good, SARAH GERONIMO is "the future of OPM."
The personality of her voice is phenomenally distinct. Many have great voices but they tend to imitate foreign divas like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston. Sarah's voice is Sarah Geronimo all the way. And although Sarah acknowledges that Regine Velasquez is her idol, people who really know music can tell Sarah's voice is her own. She definitely is the biggest talent I have come across with the last ten years, " says Christian during the album launch of Sarah's latest CD "Becoming," which he co-produced with Carlo Nasi.
Christian was particularly astounded by Sarah's ability to not only learn a song fast but style it almost worthy patent.
"When we gave her songs for this album, what she got was songwriter's demo. This means Sarah has no one to pattern her voice to and that she has to put her personality into each. And how she did, "says Christian.
This is most apparent in "Carry My Love," one of few ballads in "Becoming" that bear Sarah's belting style of singing. Recorded in L.A. a few months back, Christian recalls giving the study of "Carry" to Sarah mere minutes before she hit the studio.
"I forgot to give her a copy of the demo days earlier so she ended up studying the song in my hotel room right before our session. I thought we would end up doing many takes of the song to get it right but, no, she did "Carry" in just two, three takes,"says Christian.
The famed producer credited credited for tens of millions of albums sold by Latin artists in Europe and Latin America was impressed with Sarah's vocal performance in "Carry" that he had it listened to by his best friend, Humberto Gatica. Humberto has worked on several albums of Gloria Estefan and Celine Dion.
"After listening to it speechlessly, he turned to me and asked, Who is she?' And I told him, 'She's one of the superstars in the Philippines.' Humberto said, 'I will make sure Celine will hear this song once she finishes her stint in Vegas when it's time to do her next album. You're right, this Sarah is amazing!' says Christian.
A believer in Filipino talents since the 70's, Christian lowers his fee whenever he accedes to producing albums for Viva. His only condition is that the talent must be worth his time; one that, upon hearing, would blow him away.
"If I ask for my usual rate, then I'm afraid, Viva or any record label here could not afford my services. The rate i get for the albums I do for Viva is not enough to see me through in America. The only reason I could afford to do these is because i have big-budgeted projects abroad that sort of subsidize my projects here. I don't mind. I believe in Filipino talents especially Sarah,' says Christian.
The promotional single off "Becoming" is "I Still Believe In Loving You' which was co-written by Filipino Jimmy Borja (now based in the U.S.) with American lyricists Lori Barth and Raff Stenmmann. Many who know Sarah's past hits "How Could You Say You Love Me" and "Forever's Not Enough" note the the singer didn't hit the high notes as much in "Believe" and so concludes it's easy to sing.
To which Christian disagrees.
"‘I Still’ is equally challenging vocally and range-wise. One should take into consideration that Sarah starts off really low in ‘Believe’ and ends up doing falsetto at the end. It sounds easy but it’s really a tricky song to do which Sarah passed with flying colors," says Christian.
He adds: "Besides, not all songs demand that you hit the high notes all the time. We certainly were not thinking in that line when we were making ‘Becoming.’ What we went for were songs that could vie in the international market and those with universal appeal that grow on listeners."
To perfect "Becoming," Viva Records, upon advice of Christian, also flew in Italian mixing engineer Luca Vittori apart from assembling a cast of musicians and arrangers from the U.S., Europe and Manila.
"Luca is very successful in Europe and is one of the best when it comes to pitch correction. With the digital age upon us, listeners hear every detail in recording especially when using the headset. We wanted the cleanest sound of instruments and voice as possible," says Christian who also brought in his own equipment especially for "Becoming."
Sarah’s latest album is not only important to the singer but to Viva Records, too. Touted to be their first stab at conquering the international market, no expense was spared by the company in coming up with ‘Becoming’ even if it meant recording in three locations. These were at Flamingo Café Recording Studios in Los Angeles, Subside Studios in Fiuggi, Italy and Amerasian Studios in Manila. Additional engineering was done by George Landress, Fabio Angelini, Walter Clissen, Tony Peluso and David Bacon, hence, that ‘international sound.’
The investment promises signs of pay off. With the help of Christian, Viva is now near to closing deals for the release of the album in Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.
"If someone like Jennifer Lopez could make it internationally, why can’t Sarah? Even just vocally, they are miles apart. If J.Lo can do A to B, Sarah can do A to G. Sarah just needs to keep on doing originals. And being an original," ends Christian.
Other songs in "Becoming" are "Iingatan Ko (Ang Pag-ibig Mo);" "You Mean The World To Me;" "After Love;" "Baby Blue;" "Alaala Mo;" "And I’m In Love Again;" "Kaibigan;" "Don’t You Worry;" "Magliliwanag Rin…Muli;" "Is This Love;" "Peace Is All We Know" and; "So Heartbroken."
"Becoming" is sponsored by Zed Philippines, Jollibee, Skechers USA, Islander, G-Shock, Video City, Kolin, Crowne Plaza Galleria, 90.7 Love Radio and Manila Bulletin.
EDIT: Source - [url="http://www.mb.com.ph/archive_pages.php?url=http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2006/07/23/ENTR2006072369898.html"]http://www.mb.com.ph/archive_pages.php?url...6072369898.html[/url]