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Passion pays off

If there's one description for Julie Anne San Jose's singing career, it would be steady. She had her biggest break when social media noticed her YouTube covers. From there, her struggling career as one of the promising young singers who had to do the rounds of reality TV, ended. She created a strong and loyal following; an army of supporters firmly holding on and valiantly defending her through all the malicious attacks and gossips hurdled her way.
It is no surprise then that though physical albums may be facing their waning years, and digital ones are hardly able to stop piracy, Julie Anne's music remains afloat.
It was recently demonstrated when she released the first single "Nothing Left" from her upcoming first album under new label Universal Records.
It debuted at the top chart of iTunes Philippines, with stiff competition from Kpop groups and Hollywood acts.
On top of it, she just recently headlined the first leg of the series of concerts entitled “3 Stars, 1 Heart” with seasoned singers Regine Velasquez and Christian Bautista in Cebu last week. And she happily announces that it will have its second leg in April in Dagupan, Pangasinan.
This year, she says, she will be busy. But for those who have been following her, it had always seemed that way. Year after year, if she's not releasing an album or single, or lending her voice to theme song of a drama, or mounting her birthday concerts, she's starring in sitcoms or dramas.
It is safe to say that San Jose is relatively blessed given the short life span of singers and actors in showbiz.
And her lucky breaks have not stopped. There's that recently released single, which will be part of the new album targeted to be released during the third quarter of the year. It will include two of her compositions including her own mellow Tagalog creation. She has yet to release the title of the track, but she says it has the same vibe as the Marcus Davis-written and produced "Nothing Left."
And then tomorrow, January 27, she will be headlining anew a solo concert entitled #Julie to be held at The Music Museum. She reunites with Marvin Caldito, who directed two of her past concerts, In Control and When Julie Meets Christian.
Julie says it's a more intimate and mature show where she will sing songs that will fit with her concert's theme of "stages of love.”
She hopes for more concerts and songs to sing in the coming days. But with the way she has been busy for the past years, it seems like these will come naturally for her.

I admire Culturtain Musicat Productions's spunk and determination to make it on its own.
It was a gamble from the start, but it paid off, to produce a movie musical led by an ensemble of notable theater actors. If this were New York or London, this would have been labeled as an illustrious and winning billing.
But, unfortunately, this is the Philippines and Ang Larawan opened in a film festival often panned for its preference for commercial films.
Commercial films aren't bad per se; in the Philippine setting, however, many are often considered subpar in terms of direction and storytelling, more glaringly so come the annual Metro Manila Film Festival.
But Ang Larawan continued to go on and fight and did not back off from joining after several other films produced by small studios "backed out" after learning of the reinstated criteria for last year's film selection.
The fears of those who backed out where confirmed after Ang Larawan was reduced to more than half of its screens on the second day of the festival's two-week run. But lo and behold, word-of-mouth, glowing reviews and awards night recognition revived the film until it ended its run with 80 screens.
Were they discouraged? "No, in fact we were encouraged," said Girlie Rodis, with emphasis on the last word, to this writer during the thanksgiving party hosted by Solar Pictures, the distributor of the film.
Rodis, co-partners with Rachel Alejandro and Celeste Legaspi, shares that they knew what they were getting into. They had envisioned their production house as a cultural enlightenment tool. This comes as no surprise for the longtime showbiz insider, who has partners in Alejandro and Legaspi, who are seasoned singers and actors.
"We want to inspire people. We want to help people through their minds by exposing them to films that they've never seen before. A lot of them haven't even entered a theater or a stage theater. We wanted to bring the stage to them," she said.
This is no mean feat. Rodis disclosed that the production cost alone for Ang Larawan was around P25 million, excluding promotion of the film. And yes, she valiantly admitted that they "probably won't break even.”
This might be true after MMFF did not release the figures for all film's individual grosses and just released a statement that last year's gross is triple the amount of the previous year. They added that it breached the P1-billion mark.
But raking in the millions seems not to be a problem for them. Rodis had a point when she said that she's not fearful about Ang Larawan's fate. Unlike the top-grossers whose film screenings had ended, Ang Larawan continues to be screened until the second half of the year.
Just this month, they've had screenings outside of the country specifically in several states in the United States. They also had inquiries for screenings in London and Copenhagen.
In the Philippines, several universities have expressed their interest to do block screenings for their schools. Micro cinemas are still showing it including the UP Film Center Cine Adarna on February 5, with Sunday Beauty Queen as a double feature.
And with February as the National Arts Month, there are bound to be more screenings for the film adaptation of Nick Joaquin's play A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino.
Whether her realistic expectations come true or not, Rodis says they will continue producing movie musicals. These include Katy, Kenkoy Loves Rosing, Alikabok, Saranggola ni Pepe, Sino Ka Ba Jose Rizal? and Firewater Woman.
I hope they continue to pursue their passion with the same fervor through all the challenges that may come; after all, passion pays off in the long run.

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