Celebrating my 25 years in music

Rachel Alejandro

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Celebrating my 25 years in music
Rachel Alejandro looks back on her diverse music career, from her first album released in 1989, to her latest milestone anniversary in the industry

My first-ever released album, entitled Just A Minute and released under Alpha Records in 1989, was an LP. I lost my own copy a long time ago. I was thrilled when recently my cousin found one in pretty mint condition at a vintage shop and gave it to me as a gift. Some of you reading this may have never even actually played a record and have seen them only among your parents’ mementos.

It’s hard to believe that I joined the music industry as a recording artist 25 years ago. Where has all the time gone? It seems but a blink of the eye, and yet so much has changed in the music making business. 

Back in the day, if people liked your song, they called radio stations and requested it, making it as one station called it, the MRS, or Most Requested Song of the week. That meant that single was a hit. Fans would buy albums, go to concerts and waited in line after to get an autograph on the cover. 

What a far cry from how we enjoy music nowadays. In less than 5 seconds and a few clicks on our computer or phone, we can listen to pretty much any song for free. It doesn’t take more effort than that to watch a clip of any performance on YouTube. 

25 YEARS. What better way to celebrate than with a show? Photo courtesy of Rachel Alejandro

There is an undeniable decline in the making of OPM in the past decade. We are definitely still creating them, but perhaps their impact is diluted with all the other entertainment options available. Whatever the case, I am eternally grateful to belong to a generation of singers that had certified hits — songs that Pinoys of any demographic would not only be familiar with, but actually be able to sing along to, line by line. 

Case in point: There is a video of my Spanish husband and his officemates belting out my song “Paalam Na” at a karaoke bar posted on Facebook. No, I feel no compulsion to share that here. Haha. 

FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES. With her contemporary actress-singer Vina Morales after her concert. Photo courtesy of GR Rodis

A quarter of a century in the biz is a milestone. So after being somewhat absent from the concert scene, my manager and good friend Girlie Rodis and I decided that I begin a year-long celebration with a series of shows at Salon de Ning at The Peninsula Hotel. It’s a small, intimate venue — the perfect place to unwind, have drinks with friends, listen to good music and just let your hair down. The first one was on May 17 and the next is on June 21. 

In the first gig, I was touched that so many friends watched, including JM Rodriguez, one of my oldest buddies and cast mate in the musical Rent, as well as Vina Morales from Rock Of Ages. It seems like it was a million years ago when Vina and I, both teenagers at the time, starred opposite Robin Padilla in one of his blockbuster movies in the early 90s. A large group of my husband’s friends like columnist Pepper Teehankee also turned up. Nadine Tengco, celebrity nutritionist and long-time partner of my health food business The Sexy Chef, came in full support. 

That night, doing the show felt like coming home. My heart was beating fast right before walking on stage, but the minute I began, I felt great. 

FEELING GOOD. Rachel on stage at Salon de Ning at The Peninsula Hotel. Photo courtesy of GR Rodis

The only number I was worried about was “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I had the brilliant idea of including it in my repertoire only to realize later that, duh, it ain’t easy to sing live without a full chorus backing you up. Even when there was a sound glitch during that number, the audience barely noticed. They clapped, sang and even got up to dance to all the songs. 

Throughout the show I was filled with a strange mix of both excitement and calm. There is a kind of high that performers feel when they’re on stage but will never be able to explain. The only thing we can tell you is that it’s addictive. It’s the reason why we do this time and again — subject ourselves to being nervous about remembering our lyrics and spiels, worry if people will come to see our show. We ladies go on diets, exercise, squeeze ourselves into tiny, shiny pieces of clothing and put it all out there. 

Don’t get me wrong. There have been plenty of days as a foodahoolic when I had a bit too much dinner and the last thing I wanted to do was wear something tight, sing and dance sexily on stage. But really, it’s like getting into a cold swimming pool. You cringe as you dive in but after a minute or so, it feels really, really nice. It’s so good, in fact, that when we haven’t had a gig in a long while, we start to get anxious and then sad. And for the most part, it has nothing to do with money. 

My theory is that the real draw about being a performer is the instant gratification from seeing a whole crowd get into a better mood because you walked into the room and sang your heart out for them. The look on their faces is truly priceless. I do wonder if actors who go out to theaters to see their own films feel the same way when the audiences cheer, or laugh.  

All I know is that experiencing that for the past 25 years is a blessing and privilege I won’t ever take for granted … and I can never get enough. – Rappler.com

Rachel Alejandro is a singer-actress and entrepreneur. She co-owns the health food delivery company  The Sexy Chef, OBC 5Star Inc. She has co-authored a healthy lifestyle and recipe book with her sister called The Sexy Chef Cookbook which is available now at National Bookstore outlets as well for order at www.thesexychef.ph. Follow her on Twitter @SexyChefRachelA.

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