By MELL T. NAVARRO
Sa gitna ng pandemya ay nakagawa ng bagong Christmas song ang singer-rapper na si John Rendez, entitled “Baby, I’m Coming Home (On Christmas)” na siyang kumanta at nag-compose.
Nagsimulang mai-release a few days ago sa online music platforms (tulad ng Spotify, etc), naikuwento ni John kung paano niya ito kabilis ginawa, in collaboration with Star Music ng ABS-CBN, headed by Jonathan Manalo.
“We did the song, ang bilis ng pagkakagawa namin niyan. When Jonathan had the song, he said “John, I want you to sing it for me. So, I sang it.
“So, inayos namin, binabaan namin. Pinaglaruan namin. And ‘yun, ang bilis ng trabaho. Roughly two hours lang. And then, we finished it. That’s the way we work on naman.
“Whenever I work with Jonathan and that Purple Room, we’re so in sync. It’s like, ‘Okey, you have a song for me? I have a song too. Let’s collaborate,” say ni John.
May ilang mga awitin raw siyang pine-present sa Star Music, but he leaves the final say to Jonathan.
“He’s expert when it comes to music, kahit na sa song kong ‘Think About It’. That was an original song I did. But I’m not on his level when it comes to making the whole package, pero I have idea also.
“My ideas usually are the spirit, and he does the packaging. Kaya maganda ang team namin, eh. Kaya I love the guy.“
Paano nagsimula ang collaboration niya with Star Music, to think na independent rapper-singer siya when he started?
“Si Marie Cusi ang nagpakilala sa amin, she’s an avid Noranian, and also, she’s a supporter of mine. She says, ‘John, we like what you’re doing, we like the person you are.’ So ayun… Hindi naman sa wala naman akong talent, ang tagal ko na dito.
‘‘Nilapit nila ako kay Sir Rico (Gonzales) and kay Sir Jonathan. Ang balak pa nga namin noon ay to do something like Michael Buble’. But I said, let’s just do what Jonathan thinks that I can accomplish, so we don’t sound like a fake, but become an original.
“And so I thank them because they really gave me a chance to be myself – and do my own original music. May hits and miss but andoon ang support nila sa akin.”
Why come up with a new Christmas song for 2021?
“It’s almost Christmas. Saka kahit na sabihin nating we won’t be able to promote in the Christmas time, there’s always next year. A Christmas song is forever. And it’s good, naiiba ang kantang ‘yan.”
Naniniwala rin si John na bukod sa dahil Pasko, kailangan ring may bagong kantang puwedeng kagiliwan ng mga Pilipino, sa panahong ito ng pandemya.
“People need to feeling up and positive, extra cheer. Ang mga tao kasi, ‘yung nararamdaman nila, hindi mo naman puwedeng gawin para sa kanila. You have to be happy yourself, you have to make yourself happy.
“Kahit na sabihin mong times are hard, but you don’t look at the bad things, you look at the good things. And then, you smile. Hindi naman mawawala ang bad things, pero mas marami ang good things. That’s a reason for me to smile.“That’s what I wanna relay it in my song. I wanna make them smile, kahit na papaano. When they smile, I smile too coz it’s my song.”
Tungkol saan ang “Baby, I’m Coming Home (On Christmas)”?
“Christmas is near. Happy ang feels. But sometimes, we get lonely. It’s the season of giving, of laughing, but to whom do I give this love, who will receive it if you’re not with me now?
“We wanted to try to do something new, but they said na to be just yourself. Not too much of the gimmicks. Ang gimmick ko is no gimmick. Dahil after 10 years, after 20 years, we don’t know what will happen to our lives. So, I want to be remembered the way I lived my life.
“When you’re remembered as yourself, that’s good enough. Why do you need to be someone else when you’re good enough?
“Sometimes, okey, you make money, pero there’s something about you that make you happy. Your happiness is a state of mind. Only you can make you happy. Maganda sa tao, ‘yung bumaba, tumaas, lahat ay napagdaanan niya.
“Then he comes out. Kasi, sometimes, we always go all the way up… Ako, if I die tomorrow, I think I will be in a good place.”
Noong una pa lang niyang na-meet si Jonathan, nakaplano na ba talaga ang nasabing kanta?
“Yes, matagal na,” sagot niya. “Ang ginagawa kasi namin sa Star Music, meron kaming end goal. Gusto nila, maganda ‘yung result. But how we go there is not their problem, it’s our problem being the artist and producer.
“So, we thought about this Christmas song, we brainstormed about a lot of things. Masaya kami sa mga ginawa naming final results. Because even if I was just like two to three years with them, I have four songs already.
“And those songs are really good, quality songs that I’m proud of. Kahit na sabihin ng iba na, ‘Walang nangyari sa buhay niya!’ Hindi ka kasi tumitingin. Hindi mo nakikita, kasi, malabo ang mata mo. Hahaha!”
Meron ba siyang inspirasyon na pinaghugutan sa paglikha ng Christmas song na ito?
“Itong kanta kong ito… Ang tagal kong hindi nakauwi sa US for Christmas. Tumawag sa akin ang mommy ko kanina. Sabi niya, ‘Son, are you coming home for Christmas?’ Sabi ko, ‘Mom, I don’t know, I’ll do my best.’“Kasi, ilang Christmases nang hindi ako nakauwi eh. Pandemic kasi, naapektuhan ako. Malaking bagay. Pero nagkaroon rin ako ng maraming blessings and sacrifices.
“Pero nagpapasalamat naman ako sa mga nangyari sa buhay ko ngayon dahil kahit papano, nakikita ko ang mata ng Diyos.
“It’s working, the Divine Word of God. Kasi, kung ako lang, I don’t know kung saan mo na ako pupulutin. Thank you at mabait si Lord sa akin. Ang laki ng tiwala ko sa Kanya,’’ pagtatapos ni John.
Noong 2019, nanalo si John ng Best Country Folk music awards for his another song na “Start All Over Again”, the first song he released with ABS-CBN that won major awards.
Recently, sa Gintong Parangal 2021, John got the Most Notable Music Artist recognition at nanalo rin siya sa 3rd Laguna Excellence Award as Most Outstanding Male Singer.