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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jed Madela: The silent champion

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Jed Madela: The silent champion
Jed Madela: The silent champion ...

Jed Madela is absolutely different from what you would expect of someone who earned The Grand Champion Performer of the World crown at the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in 2005. Even as he is invited this year to perform at the WCOPA opening and closing ceremonies together with Aria Clemente (2007 World Champion Performer, Junior Division), he remains the simple and laid-back guy who would still rather stay at his new house than party all night long. In the company of other performers, he would be silent in one corner watching the antics of the funny ones or listening to the stories of his more loquacious buddies. He is quick to say that he is a shy person who spends a lot of time by himself, tinkering with his computer, landscaping his garden or coming up with intricate plans for his home built with his own earnings from singing. Although he is clearly reserved, he speaks with sincerity, humility and courtesy, a reflection of how well brought up this young man is.

At the Teatrino Greenhills where our delegation to the Hollywood Olympics later this year was presented to the members of the press by WCOPA Philippines directors Carlo Orosa and Oliver Oliveros, guest performer Jed was a complete transformation from the time he confidently entered the stage until he finished his performance with much aplomb. Lea Salonga was said to have introduced him this way: "Hindi siya tao! You cannot be human and produce the sound that he makes. You will understand why. I'm really hoping that there are seatbelts in your chairs, trust me, you are going to need them."

After listening to him live, I cannot but agree with Lea. But more than her compliments, here is what I have to add: Jed Madela is not only a singer. He is an artist who has been gifted by God to exquisitely express himself through music. Watching him up close, you are enveloped by the beauty of his artistry as he masterfully conveys the message of his songs with a crystal clear voice, sincerest evocative feelings, and astounding stage presence. You are mesmerized by the ease with which he shifts from the lowest to the highest notes, from the softest to the loudest phrasing. You forget where you are. It is just you and his music. The very moment he reaches the climax of his performance is an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Where did such an incredible talent come from? Flashback to his childhood days in Iloilo. Jed as a young boy realized that he had the knack for music, but it was his gift in the visual arts that he truly enjoyed exploring. He would draw and paint at every opportunity and was assigned to do art posters and the like for his school (his creativity remains up to today as he designs the backdrop and stage set for his concerts and even his home interiors and garden). Then he joined a band just for fun. Vacationing in Manila, he watched a singer-friend perform in a bar where he was asked to jam. That incident proved pivotal because there and then, he was discovered by Ronnie Henares.

Apart from Lea, Jed went on to have shows with the best of the best, like Regine Velasquez, Lani Misalucha, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera and Zsa Zsa Padilla.

Tonight, now under the management of his aunt, Anie Tajanlangit Mercado, he will celebrate his birthday with a concert titled, Music of the Night, with an 80-piece orchestra and the Plug and Play Band at the PhilamLife Theater. (For Jed Madela admirers like me, tickets are available at the Ticketworld.)

Winning the WCOPA championship opened so many doors for Jed. Although he was offered the chance to stay in the US and perform on Broadway (I can see him as a perfect Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and the King in The King and I) and sign a recording contract there, Jed opted to stay in the Philippines because he loves this country and performing for his countrymen. "But of course, I am not closing my doors to a career in the US," Jed declares. "What I know is that right now I want to stay and serve my country first and inspire other Filipino singers to follow my lead." On this note, he advises aspiring singers to observe the three Ps: Patience, Persistence and Prayer, which have guided him all throughout his singing career so far.

For sure, when Jed performs during the opening ceremonies of the Hollywood Olympics on July 20, he will not only inspire and boost the morale of the members of the 2008 WCOPA Team Philippines, composed of junior vocalists: Catherine Loria, Cherry Palad, Glee Nette Gaddi, Rachel Razon, the Sison Brothers and Tippy dos Santos; and senior vocalists CJ Concepcion, Dex de Rosa, Abe Dorado, King, Marielle Corpuz, Panky Trinidad and Paolo Ledesma. He will also definitely make the Philippines, known in the WCOPA as The Land of the Talent, very, very proud.

With prices soaring and unabated corruption and criminality abounding in this country making one just want to pack one's things and leave for abroad, I thank God for one beautiful and talented gift bestowed on us Filipinos, giving us still a ray of hope - Jed Maddela. May his tribe increase!

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