Mu­si­cal gem

And the mu­sic shines like Jewel Vil­laflo­res

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Front Page - By Deneb Batucan

WITH that ef­fort­lessly cool fa­cade, she smiles ever so grace­fully at her ador­ing fans. But in her mind, she still feels like all of this is a dream. Oh, but when she sings, the crowd goes along with her into a dif­fer­ent place where every­thing is golden and where mu­sic is all that mat­ters. Jewel Vil­laflo­res is truly turn­ing a dream into re­al­ity.

It was al­most three years ago when Jewel de­cided to write a beau­ti­ful Bisaya love song and en­ter it in a song­writ­ing con­test. And it was al­most three years ago when Jewel, with heart­felt and raw emotion, sang “Duyog” for the first time in front of an au­di­ence, and won first prize, at the stage of the very first Visayan Pop (Vis­pop) Song­writ­ing Cam­paign.

Ever since she won the song­writ­ing con­test, every­thing has been so sur­real for Jewel. “I never ex­pected it to be any­thing like it is to­day. I’m very thank­ful. This is one thing that I re­ally love do­ing,” she said.

Grow­ing up, Jewel has al­ways loved mu­sic. Her mom’s old vinyl records and her sis­ters’ mix­tapes were sta­ples in her world. “It al­ways amazes me how mu­sic takes peo­ple to a dif­fer­ent place, and I have al­ways en­joyed get­ting lost in a world of mu­si­cal notes and drum beats,” she shared.

Love for sound

From her love of mu­sic stemmed the want to cre­ate mu­sic. Jewel was in­tro­duced to the pi­ano at a young age. “I had an aunt who was a pi­ano teacher and she ba­si­cally pushed me to work my fingers across the pi­ano keys. It was about the same time that my older sis­ter de­cided to teach me to play the guitar just to test her pa­tience. But to be hon­est, as a stub­born kid, I wanted to play sia­tong in­stead,” she quipped.

But af­ter learn­ing the ba­sics of the in­stru­ments, Jewel fell in love with the sound and was in­ter­ested to learn more. Now aside from the pi­ano and guitar,

she also plays per­cus­sion in­stru­ments like the drums, djembe and ca­jon, as well as the French harp or the har­mon­ica. “The first time I heard the mu­sic that the har­mon­ica makes, I im­me­di­ately de­cided to get one,” she shared.

When she got older, Jewel started writ­ing songs with her brother, Joe Ed­ward. They used to write about ran­dom stuff when they had noth­ing to do. “None of it made sense,” she jovially re­called. “But I never re­ally en­joyed singing back then be­cause I was an ex­tremely shy per­son. My par­ents even had to pay me to sing a song or two dur­ing Karaoke.”

From Karaoke ses­sions, Jewel has blos­somed to book­ing gig af­ter gig af­ter gig. Not only does she sings to a crowd but she sings her own orig­i­nal songs and the crowd loves ev­ery minute of it.

Melodies

When writ­ing songs, Jewel says that not all of it are based on her own ex­pe­ri­ences. “Some­times I just put my­self in the shoes of some­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion and just work with that,” she said. “I usu­ally start with a ran­dom melody in­side my head and just mum­ble along and just play with it as soon as I get a chance to pick up a guitar or play the pi­ano. Most of the times, th­ese melodies re­veal them­selves in the most un­ex­pected and ran­dom places like the gro­cery store, pet shop and even on the side­walks. It’s a good thing my phone has an au­dio recorder.”

Th­ese melodies that she turns into songs have not only touched the hearts of the Ce­buanos but it has reached other parts of the Philip­pines as well. Win­ning Vis­pop for her was a big door that lead her to so many even more beau­ti­ful things. “Af­ter Vis­pop, my cir­cle of friends ex­panded. I met a lot of peo­ple from the mu­sic scene in the Philip­pines. More peo­ple started to ap­pre­ci­ate my songs and I’m re­ally thank­ful for that. I fell fur­ther in love with Bin­isaya songs and OPM in gen­eral,” Jewel said.

To­day, Jewel is record­ing sin­gles for her up­com­ing al­bum, which will be re­leased this year. She re­cently re­leased a new sin­gle called “Ayaw’g Buhi,” which is song rem­i­nis­cent of The Bea­tles’ no­tion of want­ing to hold a lover’s hand. The song talks about the kind of love that tran­scends mere words. And that kind of love can be ex­pertly ex­pressed by do­ing a sim­ple ges­ture. “Gu­nit sa akong kamot, kupot lang ug hugot.”

Mu­sic, to Jewel, is a medium of ex­press­ing one­self, a pow­er­ful art form that evokes var­i­ous emo­tions. “Mu­sic is a huge part of my life and I can’t live with­out it,” she said.

Most of the times, th­ese melodies re­veal them­selves in the most un­ex­pected and ran­dom places like the gro­cery store, pet shop and even on the side­walks.”

Vol­ume 4 No.15 April 17, 2016

BLOS­SOM­ING. From an ex­tremely shy per­son, Jewel has blos­somed into one busy mu­si­cian, book­ing gigs left and right. She is now record­ing sin­gles for her up­com­ing al­bum set for re­lease this year.

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