“It’s 2 years in the making and I’m very proud of it because they gave me the freedom to choose some of the songs as well and to be quite hands-on with this project,” denotes Filipino international musical theater star Joanna Ampil on her gratefulness towards the outcome of her self-titled record.
Joanna Ampil, one of Philippines’ best-loved and most prolific stage performers, is launching her first release under Viva Records. The album reflects Joanna’s diverse tastes and musical experiences, tracing on hits from the classical Filipino love songs written by Filipino seasoned composers such as Vehnee Saturno, Willy Cruz, Jimmy Borja and Tito Cayamanda.
It’s been approximately 3 days that I have been continuously listening to all 11 tracks repeatedly. This marks the spot where I’ll list down my favorites: the Disney sounding “The Only Place to Be,” the very charming and positive “Smile” and the classic timeless duet “Never Thought I’d Feel This Way Again.”
The album is surprisingly accessible with a maintaining level of originality, possessing a different feel from each and every track. I adore Joanna’s sincerity, clarity and musical ability, thereby making songs sweet and pleasing to the ears.
Through the decades, Filipino pride Joanna’s flowing brilliance has influenced other artists and her audience through her signature sound. Her style is so passionate, iconic and lasting. All these and more.
With an accomplished career
Joanna Ampil began her career at the age of 17 when she played the role of Kim in Cameron Mackintosh’s hit West End musical “Miss Saigon.” She was also invited by Sir Cameron Mackintosh to perform the role of Kim at the Australian premiere of “Miss Saigon” in Sydney.
Her theater credits include: Jasmine in “Aladdin,” Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Eponine and Fantine in “Les Miserables,” Sheila in “Hair,” Mimi in “Rent,” Heidi in “I Sing,” Maria in “Westside Story,” Christmas Eve in “Avenue Q,” Maria in “The Sound of Music” and the most recent as Grizabella in the internationally touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats.”
Her several West End cast recordings include Beatriz in “The Postman and the Poet, Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Kim in “Miss Saigon.” Joanna has also released two solo albums.
Joanna Ampil: The Self-titled Album
“Hanggang Saan” is the album’s carrier single, produced and composed by ace hitmaker Vehnee Saturno. “I’m happy with the songs he gave me for this album,” reacts Joanna as she accepts the challenge of singing belty songs particularly OPM.
“I like to be challenged, hopefully that’s a good thing because all the songs here are vocally challenging. I think I like belty songs, I do like to exercise my soprano tone and I’ve always been a belty singer. In fact, I’m a huge fan of Mariah Carey.”
“I have 11 songs. And I got 3 duets and few revivals but mostly are originals. Every single one is a choice of mine and of course Boss Vic. I have to fall in love with every single song,” reveals Joanna. The album has a bonus track featuring Blake (music video below by vivamusicgroup1), an OPM song entitled “Kailangan Kita” and collaboration entitled “Kumusta Ka” with Mark Bautista.”
Her recording experience with Martin Nievera
Joanna’s duet with Martin Nievera, the renowned Concert King, is one of the album highlights. “Never Thought I’d Feel This Way Again” is a composition by Italian pop star Tony Renis who also wrote, “The Prayer” and other hits, produced by Christian de Walden of Hollywood.
“I’m so lucky that Martin said yes to this. We’re corresponding via Facebook, Martin and I, and then he agreed. But because Martin was so busy and I was doing “Cats,” he recorded it in Los Angeles and I recorded mine in Milan and some of the other lines in Los Angeles as well,” delightfully recalls Joanna. “It works. I mean, it sounds really good. I’m very happy with it!”
Joanna Ampil Album Tour
The eagerness for a truly meaningful, unforgettable and extraordinary journey to Joanna’s music is to be able to listen to her live while singing her new vibrant tunes. She successfully launched this record recently at the Market! Market! as she continues to embark on a tour to promote the album. The following dates at Ayala Malls include: July 5 at Ayala Terraces Fairview, July 13 at Harbour Point Subic, and July 25 at Trinoma with special guest Mark Bautista.
What does it take to be Joanna Ampil?
Joanna reveals some of the best kept secret in her journey towards fulfilling the dream. “Maraming disiplina ang kailangan, that’s number one. Never give up on your dream and do not take things personally,” exclaims Joanna. “Mahirap na dito sa industriyang ito, maraming masasabi na hindi maganda o may maganda rin naman, but more often than not, naaapektuhan tayo. I think the best thing that I learned is to not take things personally and never take yourself too seriously to be able to allow yourself to have fun.”
“And to keep improving on your craft, kailangan you are never satisfied. You are never contented with what you have and what you are. It really should be about constantly educating yourself to keep learning. It’s never a bad thing,” admirably conveys Joanna.
I also believed that experience has been the best teacher for Joanna Ampil. It widens her perspective apart from being very talented, has good training, has the ability to keep learning, hardworking, the drive to continually market herself and eventually make it happen. And there’s nothing as inspiring than getting a great story from someone like Joanna Ampil. I am star-struck but it’s all worth it.
Check out the happenings at her press launch HERE.
What she really thinks about the new Miss Saigon revival
She goes on to details about her experience watching the revival at the Prince Edward Theater. “It was like reliving it again and absolutely adored this version of the production. I have seen it before during the tour. I have always been a fan of that version because it’s a scaled down production and more theatrical for me,” tells Joanna as she stresses that Gigi is only a featured role but made it big because of Rachelle Ann Go’s amazing presence onstage. “Rachelle was so sexy in the show. She’s so beautiful. She has the best costumes, I think.”
Joanna Ampil: Ways to Improve the Philippine Theater
The Philippine theater industry today is one of the elements that brings us into the limelight worldwide. Recently, numerous theatrical productions are being performed. Filipino talents are becoming world class performers.
As a musical actress, Joanna has her take towards improving stage performances in the Philippines. “We need to have schools with people who can really teach the craft. We need not only those who can only cater to actors but also for people who work in the sound department and stage management. Not that I’m saying that they’re bad, I think they also need the guidance, not just for the actors. Kung walang magandang sound ang teatro, hindi mage-enjoy manood ang audience natin kung ang sound masyadong malakas o masyadong mahina. Mayroon din kaseng mga teknik iyon. We need a school for the technical side of the production, just little steps and we’ll get there,” narrates theater diva Joanna Ampil on a definitely brilliant simple solution to help the theater industry.
Joanna will star in a movie adaptation of Pinoy musical play “Larawan” which was based on a Nick Joaquin masterpiece called “The Portrait of an Artist as a Filipino.” “I’m doing “Larawan” next year. I’m very excited about it because I can get to work with the most amazing legends; Mr. C, Loy Arcenas is directing it, Celeste Legaspi who’s producing it along with my manager Girlie Rodis. I’m so happy to be part of this. I’m so lucky,” announced Joanna. It’s her first Tagalog project.
“There are pretty challenging songs but I believe Mr. C wants us to have our own interpretation. Celeste Legaspi is a hard act to follow. I hope the people will be open enough to my interpretation because first I cannot replicate the act. I can only do my own. Hopefully, magustuhan din ng mga fans ng “Larawan” ang interpretation ko.”
In November, she will be going back to London for a month for a concert tour with Kerry Ellis and Ria Jones called “West End Women.”
Updated: July 21, 2014
Checkout Ms. Joanna Ampil’s music video of the carrier single “Hanggang Saan,” video by vivamusicgroup1.