For Gary V, the best moments in life didn’t happen on Stage
‘Some of the most gratifying events in my life neither took place onstage, nor were staged. They just… came about,’ observed all-around performer Gary Valenciano, an icon in the Philippine music industry.
His words are a surprising revelation considering he has spent 30 years of his life on stage, in front of audiences, bringing joy to Filipinos around the world. However, he attested in an interview with daily broadsheet Inquirer that spontaneous experiences shared personally were more ‘incomparable, unquantifiable’ than those that happen in front of thousands.
These spontaneous and personal experiences are what he plans to share in a book he will start soon. The book will commemorate his 30 years in the industry and his 50-year journey through life and will feature 30 career highlights and 50 life events ‘that molded me into the person that I am today.’
There is no doubt that for Gary, also known as ‘Mister Pure Energy,’ music is central to both career and life. In the interview, he revealed that his love for music began 30 years ago in a performance at the Immaculate Conception Academy. Simple praises for him that night made him realise that music can leave an impact ‘regardless of where I went or who were in front of me.’
His first concert in 1984 was the turning point of his life with music. It was then he realised he was made to be a performer: ‘I looked around and there were people everywhere. I had goosebumps. I knew then I was meant to stay.’
Stay he did, and in the process of building his music career Gary also built strong, personal connections with his audiences. One memorable experience was an impromptu performance for former President Corazon Aquino in 2001 at the Hacienda Luisita.
Gary recalled being given a tour by ‘Tita Cory’ and then singing ‘I’ll Be There’ in an empty ballroom. ‘When we got back to the car I thought, “What just happened? Was that real?”’
Another spontaneous performance that Gary will include in the book was a programme held for children in a small school in Sagada, Mountain Province. ‘We couldn’t leave the school because of a landslide. So we gathered in a small classroom … and did a show! The children stayed by my side as I sang and danced. It was unrehearsed… It was incredible!’
Gary collects memorable experiences from every single performance, prepared or not. But as a diabetic, he said that performing now has become a struggle because he has to monitor his blood sugar level. ‘If my sugar level was low, I wouldn’t last onstage. [If] my sugar level is high, I become temperamental.’
However, he says that the joy of performing helps him get through with a show, saying ‘when the music starts, it’s like a switch inside me flips on!’
It also helps now that his kids by wife Angeli Pangilinan also play key roles in his major performances, one of which will be the upcoming ‘Arise 3.0’ at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on 11 and 12 April. Although they have their own pursuits and interests, Gary is blessed to have their support every step of the way. His eldest son Paolo is directing the show while Kiana and Gabriel will share the stage with him in some numbers.
Gary revealed that his kids went through a lot of pressure in their journey towards fulfilling their own careers. But since Gary pursued a life forged by his own choices, he said he offered the same to his children: ‘You have your own set of wings. I’ll fly with you—but I can’t fly for you.
‘You go in the direction where you feel you’re going to shine the most.’
Arise 3.0, which is Gary’s 30th Anniversary show, will be a chance for Gary and his kids to shine with other under the same spotlight. It will also be a testament to how music has intertwined firmly with Gary’s life, fuelling him to create more personal memories with fellow Filipinos.
Gary said that Arise 3.0 will ‘In a way, [show] that I’ve come full circle [since 1984].’
What can you say about Gary V’s drive to create personal experiences with his fans? Share your thoughts below!