Jay-R's wheel of fortune on the upswing

'PINOY DREAM Academy (PDA)' runnerup Jay-R Siaboc has launched his solo album, 'Hiling,' at Club O in Metro Manila. 'Having my own album is a dream come true for me,' the 19-year-old handsome singer says of his eponymous debut CD which is immediately

By Guil Franco (Correspondent)

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Published: Thu 22 Mar 2007, 10:49 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:46 PM

making waves at all music stores across the Philippines' archipelago. Jay-R has a duet with PDA big winner Yeng Constantino in the album, a beautiful remake of "Himala," and the rumour is they're now really playing beautiful music even off cam. After all, he has already broken up with Yia Ginez, another scholar of the ABS-CBN's reality-talent search show.

"Oh, no," Jay-R says. "I just treat Yeng as a younger sister. We're both so focused on our careers at this point as we're just starting in showbiz."

The youngest of five kids of a jeepney driver in Cebu, Jay-R says they're so poor he had to quit high school and work in a band at 15 just to help his family. "There were times when I had nothing to eat, so I would just drink a lot of water and sleep," he says. "We don't even have a TV at home."

His exposure in PDA brought him fame and he went home to a hero's welcome in his barangay (village) in Cebu. He won 500,000 pesos for being Yeng's runner up and he gave a sizeable amount to his parents to renovate their house.

But Jay-R's wheel of fortune continues to be on the upswing.

"Now, I've also performed in Japan and soon, we're going to the US and Canada (along with PDA's Top Five) to do concerts. I never even imagined that my singing will be taking me to various places abroad."

His album has many original songs. The title song, "Hiling," is written by Emman Abatayo of Iloilo, who became his best friend in PDA and who also did another song, "Minsan Lang."

Jay-R's friends in his former band, Scrambled Eggs, also wrote songs for him: Man of Steel, May Tama Ako, Hilot and the Visayan songs, Naglibog and Maanyag Ka.

Other good cuts are Manhid and his revival of "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang." The latter, by the way, has stood out in the recently-released soundtrack CD of the hit drama series "Sana Maulit Muli" —apart from, of course, Gary Valenciano's re-recording of the title track.

JayR's raw tenor has given the song —Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang, a Regine Velasquez's hit —a male perspective, while retaining the angst of someone who has lost his love and regrets it terribly. He also imbues in it a country rock feel, very different from Regine's breathy rendition of the songs two decades ago. Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang was one of the songs that fueled Regine's rise to stardom, but Jay-R doesn't bank on it to give him a kick to the top.

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