Perfect voice to represent local talents on global stage

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One faithful day, Arnell Ignacio was browsing on Facebook when he chanced upon a video posted by comedian and theater actor Gerald Napoles. It was a video clip featuring a group of friends having fun singing in a karaoke.

Ignacio was in trance when he saw the video especially when he heard one in the group singing “A House is Not A Home.”

 Mindanao’s “golden boy” Lance Busa is competing with other aspirants from Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan for a chance to join Michael Bolton in his next world tour.

“I’m into jazz. So when I saw the video of this person singing a Luther Vandross song, I got curious. I told myself I need to meet this guy. He has a unique talent and the world needs to see him and hear him sing,” Ignacio told Manila Standard in an exclusive interview. 

The former TV host personally reached out to the person to meet with him. The name was Lance Busa.

“When we met I told him that I’m going to help him get some gigs. He didn’t have a choice,” the PAGCOR AVP for Community Relation and Services Department said in jest.

According to Ignacio, it is very rare to hear intelligent singers like Busa, who apparently didn’t have any formal training in music, and yet he can sing in perfect pitch.

“He’s plug and play, tell him something then he would sing it right away. And what I like about him, he doesn’t get discouraged easily. Even no one listens to him, even it’s just a couple of people watching him perform, and he would still perform. He would still sing as if he’s in a big venue,” Ignacio shared.

And this kind of attitude made Busa win the right to represent the Philippines in Bolt of Talent, Fox Network Group Asia’s new reality singing competition headlined by American singer and songwriter Michael Bolton. 

In the Aug.16 episode of the talent show, Busa aced the first round of competition when he sang “Said I Love You…But I Lied” live before Bolton and co-host Morrisette. 

From 300 aspiring Filipino talents who submitted their portfolio and video to Fox Network Group Asia, 10 were selected and only Busa and Hans Dimayuga were chosen to perform before Michael Bolton when he visited the country in May. 

The two amateur singers recorded a studio version of “Said I Love You…But I Lied.” Busa recorded a contemporary R&B version of the 1993 chart-topper, while Dimayuga recorded a funk-rap version. The winner for that round was declared via a radio announcement.

“I couldn’t believe that I made it this far. I was competing with someone who’s more experienced. It’s really a challenge when you are competing with someone who is very familiar with music and very knowledgeable in terms of the technicality of his craft,” the 22-year-old aspiring singer shared with Manila Standard.

MENTOR. Upon seeing his video on Facebook, former TV host Arnell Ignacio (right) met with Lance Busa and started pushing the young singer to give singing professionally another try.

When Ignacio learned about Busa’s inclusion in the shortlist of auditionees, he told the young singer: “Ito na ‘to (this is it). This is the kind of opportunity that we’ve been waiting (for).”

The former director of a chorale group is positive that Busa has a big chance to win the competition. He personally saw how hardworking and dedicated the young singer was even before this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity knocked on his doorstep. 

“Masarapsiyangtulungankasiit’s easy to motivate him. And it works so well for me that he’s got a very positive disposition. I believe he is more than ready for the bigger stage,” Ignacio said. 

Busa may sound very professional when he performs but the PAGCOR executive believes that there are still minor details that they need to focus on to improve his performance. Assomeone who used to handle a chorale group, Ignacio trains the young singer on how to move onstage. 

“I always tell him that he needs to know the point of view of the person who wrote the song and understand the marriage of the lyrics and the music. When you understand it, it will be easy for you to interpret the song. That’s the only point that a song becomes a performance, a work of art. That’s how you get the attention of the audience — when you start talking to them through the song that you sing,” Ignacio related. 

He also further stated that he always tells Busa that he no longer needs to analyze his voice too much because his instrument is already polished. 

“He sings with structure, the kind of singing that’s different from the usual style that local audiences are already used to. All he needs is guidance. I remind him that the preparation is always before any performance, which is the mistake of so many artists these days,” Ignacio added.

 Lance Busa performing during the premiere telecast of “Bolt of Talent” 

Now that Busa is gunning for the top prize in Bolt of Talent, which includes a record deal, Subaru ambassadorship, and a chance to join Bolton in his upcoming world tour, the former TV host is keeping a positive mindset on the young singer’s journey in the show. He said that the moment he saw Michael Bolton approach the singer and told him that he’s been chosen to be part of the series he already knew that something big is ahead of this aspiring singer.

“He couldn’t talk. He was just crying. You could see how genuine this kid was based on his reaction. And with his talent, he’s such a perfect singer to represent Filipinos on the world music stage. Whether he wins or not, I will still help him and mentor him just to sustain the momentum. And help him with his career plan,” Ignacio ended.

Lance Busa will be competing for another round of elimination to be part of the top two who will again perform on the show’s final episode. Bolt of Talent airs every Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. on Star World. 

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