Though American Idol’s Filipino-American runner-up Jessica Sanchez reacted negatively on mentor Jimmy Iovine’s comment that one of her performances was lounge-like, many still believe that there is nothing wrong about taking off from where the likes of Apl.de.ap, Lani Misalucha, Arnel Pineda and Charice started — as lounge singers.
This year, another Filipino will stake the country’s claim as the world’s “lounge singing capital” and “leading lounge singer supplier” as the winner of Sing@Ning: The Search for the Ultimate Voice, the Peninsula Manila’s singing contest in which among the prizes is a three-month contract to sing at the five-star hotel’s cocktail bar Salon de Ning.
Cristina Ong-Cruz, the hotel’s marketing director, revealed during the contest’s launch that the competition is a first for the hotel chain. The group held a global search for best corporate social responsibility pitches, she narrated, and the Manila team won because of its proposal’s unique aim to promote young talents and Filipino music.
“We want to help young students who dream,” she noted. “The Peninsula group has always been a supporter of arts and culture. As you can see in our lobby, we have an Abueva Sunburst sculpture and all-Filipino-inspired interiors.”
Sing@Ning will be televised on Star World, she revealed, but besides this, she believes the competition’s edge lies on its judges and vocal coaches who belong from the upper echelons of Philippine entertainment. These include thespian Pinky Marquez; stage and television director Floy Quintos; and vocal powerhouses Dulce, Bituin Escalante, Moi Ortiz, Sitti, Isay Alvarez, Robert Seña, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Audie Gemora, among others.
At the project’s helm as overall director is respected musical director, stage actor and vocal coach Onyl Torres, who has over 10 years’ worth of experience in the theater industry as a musical director and actor for Repertory Philippines, Dulaang UP, Tanghalang Pilipino, Philippine Educational Theater Association and more.
“I am very excited to be a partner of The Peninsula Manila in this project, even more so at the prospect of actually being able to help select and nurture the next generation of Filipino musical artists through Sing@Ning,” Torres explains in a statement. “Who knows, we might discover the next Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Nora Aunor, Christian Bautista, Bamboo or Ely Buendia? This competition is about taking the search even further and will definitely be a remarkable journey.”
College students from 18 to 25 will be given a chance to showcase their singing prowess in front of a professional jury and a live audience amid the 1930s Art Deco surroundings of Salon de Ning. They can also sign up via www.youtube.com/singatning from Aug. 1 to 31.
Contestants who will make it through the initial video audition will undergo a series of live elimination rounds in three months starting Sept. 16. The top three finalists will then compete in the grand finals in Salon de Ning on Nov. 6 and vie for the grand prize composed of scholarships to Spotlight Artists Center and John Robert Powers; a weekend stay at The Peninsula Manila; a contract to perform in Salon de Ning and P100,000 in cash.
According to the hotel’s general manager, Sonja Vodusek, “Sing@Ning is more than just another vocal competition. It is about supporting young solo amateur Filipino singers with a passion for their craft and providing them with an avenue to realize their dreams and make their unique mark in Philippine entertainment with their distinct abilities and styles. We hope that providing them with scholarships and a chance to perform in Salon de Ning, we will be doing our part in upholding and preserving a long and proud Filipino musical tradition and maybe even help advance and enhance the Philippine music industry as a whole.”
For full competition details and updates, visit www.peninsula.com/singatning or www.facebook.com/The Peninsula Manila.