Fil-Am 'Duets' star Jason Farol in Manila
MANILA, Philippines - On his first trip to the Philippines, Filipino-American singer Jason Farol would have headed straight to the beaches as a tourist and surf enthusiast.
But after placing 3rd in singing competition "Duets" in 2012, the 23-year-old now finds his first visit to his motherland an itinerary filled with press conferences, mall shows, and an album launch.
Farol entered the scene as Kelly Clarkson's duet partner after besting thousands of aspiring singers in the reality-singing competition. The young surfer from Torrance, California, now makes a name for himself as a balladeer, with his self-titled debut album under Viva Records.
Watch Jason's audition process here:
Singing with Kelly
"It's crazy, I've grown up watching her on American Idol and follow[ing] her career for 10 years," Jason said when asked about his experience with American Idol star Kelly Clarkson. "I remember on our first rehearsal, I was so nervous, 'cause she's Kelly Clarkson, she's incredible.
"I was so nervous I cried on stage. It was really embarrassing. I was pinching myself, I thought I was dreaming because I've had plenty of dreams like that. It was very surreal."
But as the show progressed, the nervousness turned into playful banter between the two, and he soon found a friend in his long-time idol.
"Eventually as the show went on, the more shows I got to do with her, I got more comfortable and our chemistry improved, and it was basically just fun times on the show," said Jason.
"She's really funny. She likes to tease me a lot, 'cause during the show, I was just going through puberty or some changes, like my voice was getting deeper, so it would crack a lot during rehearsals, and she would always make fun of me for that.
"She's like an older sister to me," Jason said of Kelly. "We have that kind of relationship."
Watch his 'Whenever You Call' duet with Kelly here:
From karaoke kid to superstar
Although Jason was born and raised in the United States, he grew up in a family-oriented and karaoke-loving environment.
His early influences were his family members, particularly his father, with whom he has fond memories of singing along to the videoke.
"I grew up listening to my dad sing karaoke," Jason told Rappler. "My family is a very musical family. Growing up with a musical background, we're just 24/7 surrounded by music."
He believes this is what makes Filipinos stand out when it comes to music. "Filipinos are always surrounded by music, they love singing, they love karaoke, so that's always fun."
The young singer admits he has yet to be adept in Filipino, but he grew up listening to contemporary Filipino pop (OPM) by the likes of Martin Nievera. If given the chance, he said, he would love to to do a duet with Pop Princess Sarah Geronimo.
"I love Sarah Geronimo," Jason said. "I got to see her live when she came to LA and I was blown away. She reminds me a lot of Kelly, her voice is just incredible, [with a] limitless range. I love her and I also remember growing up to Martin Nievera. He has a big soulful voice . I'm a big fan of those soulful voices."
Jason's own smooth, soulful singing is evident in his most popular performances in the show, including "Whenever You Call" by Mariah Carey and Brian McKnight, The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," and Clarkson's own "Breaking Your Own Heart."
"He does a beautiful job of emoting," Kelly Clarkson herself said of Jason's performances.
Farol's sincerity is carried over to his 5-track album, featuring romantic ballads "I Believe in Love Again," "Someday," "Dancing on the Roof," "Me and Mrs. Jones," and Filipino single, "Kung Ikaw at Ako." - Rappler.com
Catch the 23-year-old Filipino-American charmer on these dates:
- Ocotber 18 - District Cavite, 5pm
- October 20 - Glorietta, 5 pm
- October 25 - Trinoma, 6pm
- October 26 - Harbor Point, Subic, 5 pm
- October 27 - Marquee Mall, 5 pm
- November 8 - Market! Market!, 5pm