[Only IN Hollywood] Martin Nievera opens up about career, family in time for historic 40th anniversary concert

Ruben V. Nepales
[Only IN Hollywood] Martin Nievera opens up about career, family in time for historic 40th anniversary concert
Martin Nievera will be the first Filipino solo male artist to perform in a full-length concert at the world-famous Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, USA – These are historic times for Filipinos in entertainment. Recently, Jo Koy was able to pull off the first major Hollywood studio film, Easter Sunday, centering on a Filipino family, and on August 28, Martin Nievera will be the first Filipino solo male artist to perform in a full-length concert at the world-famous Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Titled M4D: Martin 4 Decades, the show is a big milestone for Martin, known as the Philippines’ Concert King, as he bows in revered architect Frank Gehry’s landmark hall.

POSE. “Lea Salonga’s been telling me by way of Instagram that I’m not going to want to get off the stage because the sound is going to be that good,” Martin Nievera enthused about his solo debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

In a recent press conference with the Filipino American media at the Hilton Glendale, Martin candidly admitted that he had aimed to do what Jo Koy achieved. This revelation was among the frank, honest insights that Martin shared about his life, career, and family as he answered the reporters’ questions.

Martin was quick-witted as usual in the evening chat with the media. For example, when my dear colleague Prosy Delacruz began with, “I will read my questions,” Martin humorously replied, without losing a beat, “I will read my answers.”

The performer’s wit and candor have always been his winning qualities from day one. Born in Manila to the late singer Bert Nievera and Conchita Razon, Martin and his twin sister, Vicki, grew up in Hawaii and California. In 1982, having decided to become a singer like his dad, who was a member of the Society of Seven, Martin returned to Manila.

When I brought up that Jo Koy and his movie ushered in a new era of visibility for our talents, Martin admitted, “I wanted to be the first. That was my dream. I wanted to be a singer or the artist who would put us on the map.”

“So, I did everything. I did movies. I’m not proud of the movies I’ve done but I did everything.”

“I came to America. I even tried to go on shows like Arsenio Hall, Jay Leno. I tried to do whatever, without any guidance, any help, any friends, without any knowledge because I wanted to be that person.”

“So, I did shows in Reno, Nevada twice a night. I thought I had to pay my dues, thinking that I’m going to make it one day and put my countrymen on the map. That was my dream.”

Martin reacted to the release of a film like Easter Sunday which prompted the film’s stars, including Tia Carrere, to say they were glad to finally portray Filipino characters.

“I’m just so blessed that I’m alive to see this,” he pointed out.

“Where the Filipinos are finally being talked about, being sought after, not pushed aside. ‘Are you Hawaiian? Mexican? What are you?’ ‘I’m Filipino.’”

“It’s no longer just, ‘What’s Filipino? Where’s the Philippines? Are you still going from tree to tree? Is that how you live?’”

“That’s how it was before. I used to live in Hawaii. They thought we would go from tree to tree. My shirt, you know what it said? ‘Bukbuk.’”

“I thought I was studious. It’s nothing to do with books. I found out later it means termite, right? That’s how we were seen before. I never felt back then it was discrimination. I never felt any of that ever in my 40 years.”

“But I always wanted to be where Jo Koy is now. And now that he’s a friend, I’m cheering for him. I’m going to be there on one of his red carpet things just because I want to be able to say that I know this guy and he has finally put us on the map. And not just put us on the map, to be in demand.”

“But the good news is, we Filipinos now know how to laugh at ourselves. Before that, we were always so sensitive. African Americans, they can say the N-word and talk about being the color that they are. How come we can’t? Be proud.”

And now, Martin and his soaring baritone, backed by his band under the musical direction of Lorrie Ilustre, will fill the acoustically excellent interiors of the Disney Concert Hall.

Ted I. Benito, who is directing and producing the show for LXV Enterprises, LLC, with Rosie Chua as the executive producer, gave a background on how M4D: Martin 4 Decades came about.

“Last year, I was fortunate enough to produce a concert at the Ford Amphitheatre called ‘Pinoy’tainment,” Ted recalled. “In the audience that evening, I didn’t know, was Renae Williams who at the time was the vice president of programming for the Hollywood Bowl and the LA Phil.”

“I had a long discussion with her about why it is that Filipinos always have to ask for a seat at the proverbial table? We deserve to be at the finest performing venues the world has to offer because I believe Filipinos are so talented.”

“She said, ‘Okay, I’ll take you on that.’ She said, ‘What do you want?’ I said, ‘I want to produce at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.’ Renae introduced me to the folks over at The Music Center, and lo and behold, I was given a date.”

“Now, this is where Rosie Chua comes in. In October of last year, Martin did a concert at Yamashiro restaurant. Rosie came to me and said, ‘What are we doing to celebrate Martin’s 40th?’ I told her straight back, ‘I am not doing anything with Martin to celebrate his 40th unless it’s at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.’”

“One month passed. Two months passed. My deadline to submit the application was coming. In January, I got three miraculous words from Rosie. ‘Let’s do it.’ I submitted the application and here we are.”

“Why is this concert celebrating Martin’s 40th anniversary historic? Well, number one, we haven’t had a Filipino headline at the Walt Disney Concert Hall since 2008, Lea Salonga. Fourteen years ago.”

FAN. “I’m just so blessed that I’m alive to see this,” said Martin Nievera on more visibility for Filipino talent, boosted by Jo Koy’s ‘Easter Sunday.’ “Where the Filipinos are finally being talked about, being sought after, not pushed aside.” CONTRIBUTED PHOTO 

“With the concert on the 28th, Martin will also be the first and only Filipino male to headline at the LA Phil’s three prestigious venues, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre and the Hollywood Bowl.”

“It is important for us to be sure that our artists get to the most respected performance venues in the world. This is the tip of the iceberg. If this opens the door for more artists to perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, then so be it. We have Martin to thank for that.”

I was still in Manila when I saw Martin, wearing a shoulder-padded suit jacket in vogue in the early 1980s, give one of his first guest performances at a hotel event. It’s almost hard to believe that he is now celebrating his 40th anniversary in entertainment.

I asked Martin to cite three unforgettable career moments in those four decades.

“Number one would have to be my very first time to do a concert,” Martin began. “You probably have never heard of the show. It’s called Wanted: Martin Live in 1983. When was Ninoy Aquino shot? This show was on August 20, 1983, the night before.”

“I’m fresh off the boat, coming from America as a singer. It was an experience for me, firstly, to finally be on the stage with a band, with an audience. Back then, we didn’t understand yet about sound systems.”

“We didn’t know anything. In fact, it was such a bad concert that it’s never been shown on TV. There’s no recording of it, no memory whatsoever.”

“I couldn’t hear the music. This sounds like I could be making it up but back then, the screams (of the fans) were so loud. I’m not even joking. Maybe they were excited. I was the guinea pig of guinea pigs back then.”

“When I finally went out on that stage, I realized a little boy’s dream of following his father’s footsteps. It finally came true on August 20, 1983.”

“That would be the first time that I performed on a football field. But also, going back again, what made that first show so memorable is I don’t know if any artist can say that they had a repeat less than two weeks later. Repeats are usually a year, maybe four, five, or six months after.”

“We had so many people there that night that we had to do a repeat two weeks later. Still the worst sound, the worst light, the worst voice. I saw it and I wanted to cry. I was not in tune once, not in one song.”

“When I said, ‘Goodnight,’ that was the only thing. That’s how bad it was. That’s why you’ll never see it but it was the most memorable.”

“Then the football field on March 17, 1984, with 50,000 people. It was a big deal for me.”

Martin being Martin, he was charmingly upfront about an onstage incident that other performers might have banished from their memory if the embarrassing situation happened to them.

“The third would probably be…it’s not really very pretty but the first time I sang with an orchestra, that was a big dream for me. Singing with an orchestra is every singer’s dream.”

“But every singer’s nightmare is singing with an orchestra and then their pants are wet. I had a very clear costume change (while another performer was singing ‘Climb Every Mountain’). Just so you know, ‘Climb Every Mountain’ is less than three minutes.”

“A singer sang ‘Climb Every Mountain’ so I could change. I’m never having that song again. I changed everything except my sopping wet underwear. Try to picture me with an orchestra, and right in the crotch area, there’s a small dot. But then it gets bigger and bigger until it’s so big you don’t know what color – dark beige or beige – anymore.”

“If it was anything else, there would be some residue on the stage but it was my perspiration from my underwear. The name of the concert was ‘Dream’ so I knew what the reviews were saying, right? ‘Wet Dream.’ True story. I wish I was joking.”

Looking back some more, Martin said “there’s no secret” to his success. “Through the years, I’ve learned that I talk a lot, I have a big mouth, and sometimes talked too much. If I look at my concerts in the past, I talked more than I sang.”

“But more than that, behind the scenes, when you think you know it all, you don’t. I think the secret to success for any singer is to talk less and listen more. The younger, more talented, more creative, more daring people have better ideas for us.”

“You have to listen to the young. You have to read your bad write-ups. Don’t take it to heart, don’t let it depress you, but at least you have to learn to improve yourself. Again, listen, read.”

“Don’t believe all the good stuff that they say about you. I have a great family that has told me many times about how bad I am. There’s a whole list of words that they use, English and Tagalog, just to keep my feet planted on the ground.”

“No one ever told me I was good. No one ever told me, ‘You’re great.’ Then someone had to name me Concert King. It’s hard to live with the name Concert King. My philosophy is that as a singer, I want to be that singer who gives a performance fit for a king, and the king, for me, is the audience.”

“For the last 40 years, you were the king and I have to make sure that I present to you what I feel a king deserves. For me, if you think only of yourself, if you’re all about you, that’s a great formula for failure.”

“Success is to listen, to learn. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in life is how to get up again. I have fallen on my face so often that it’s a talent for me. I’m so good at bouncing back.”

On what he looks forward to about performing on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage, first conquered by Lea Salonga, Martin answered, “Lea’s been telling me by way of Instagram that I’m not going to want to get off the stage because the sound is going to be that good.”

“Lea’s big request was just to lap it all up. Just to enjoy. To have everything in slow motion. Because at a certain time, we’re going to have to get off the stage. At a certain time, the lights will go off.”

“People have other things to do. But she said, really just enjoy. Lap it all up. Because we won’t have things like that again in our future. Unless they ask us back.”

“I think the closest I’ve gotten to the Walt Disney Concert Hall was the theater in Solaire. The sound. Nothing like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, though. That’s why I’m so excited.”

“We didn’t know whether to have a small band or a big orchestra. We didn’t know what to do so we brought my usual band from Las Vegas to perform with me.”

“I’m really excited to re-learn – I’m doing it now – all my old songs, 40 years ago. Can you imagine? If I were to ask you, what were the first 10 songs I recorded, you probably wouldn’t know, except for ‘Be My Lady,’ right? That was on the first album.”

“But there are two or three songs that came before ‘Be My Lady.’ I’m just hoping that people remember them, or that they’re good enough that you don’t have to remember. But I’m relearning them.”

“I’m walking a lot now and trying to keep myself in shape. During the pandemic, I stayed in bed, watched TV, Netflix 24 hours a day.”

“I’m walking, trying to get some sun, exercise, and I’m trying to relearn my old songs. I’m anxious for you to hear them but I’m more anxious to sing them again.”

Martin had a quotable quote for a reporter who wondered if he prefers performing in big venues like the Disney Concert Hall or intimate spaces: “I like to make a big venue feel small and a small venue feel big. That’s my game plan always.”

“You hit the nail on the head because that’s where we dinosaurs are at,” Martin replied when asked about the dilemma that he probably often faces – should he give in and sing ‘Be My Lady’ or ‘Forever’ for the nth time or perform new tunes?

“We don’t know anymore because we want to do new songs. We want to learn from the new producers and composers but all they want to hear is ‘Be My Lady.’”

“You do either of two things. You rebel and just do whatever the hell you want, or you do what I do, which is the cowardly move. But anyway, you try and please your audience because they’re number one. Number one priority should be your audience, not yourself.”

“I can just release on Spotify every other day but when I perform, I now learn because of your question when I said, hit the nail on the head, I didn’t quite do this.”

“For years, why is it that people keep wanting the same songs? Won’t some people think, ‘Doesn’t he sing any other song? God.’ Then there are people, ‘Why doesn’t he sing these songs?’”

“Where’s the middle? There’s no middle. Here’s the coward move. I’ve learned to embrace the fact that I am from that era, I have a crowd from that era. They have children who have children now who they’re trying to force me down their throats.”

“I’m not increasing. My family – it’s getting bigger and bigger, younger and younger. And I didn’t change a thing.”

FAMILY. “Every child I have, their mother and I are not together so how could I accept the award for best father of the year? It’s always haunting me that I’m not good enough for my kids. My love, my time, as precious, as rare – it’s not the quantity but the quality.” – Martin Nievera. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO 

“If a singer has to change something, something’s wrong. If I don’t have to change anything, then I must be doing something right. Why change it? Don’t break it.”

“Change the arrangement maybe. (Sings rap style) ‘Say the words you long to whisper that I want to hear/Something’s on your mind, is it hidden in your smile?’”

“You think Barry Manilow’s going to sing Rihanna or something? I don’t think so. He does Barry Manilow.”

Speaking of Rihanna or Manilow, Martin gamely shared an anecdote about those wildly screaming fans in the ’80s and ’90s. It was prompted by Ted I. Benito’s memory of young girls lining up to ask for Martin’s autograph.

Flash-forward to now. Martin recounted seeing a girl in line. “My luck. A good-looking girl. I went, ‘Me?’ ‘Oh my God, you’re Martin Nievera!’ My grandmother loved you before she died.”

With what song did he propose to singer Pops Fernandez, whom he was married to from 1986 to 2000? “I don’t even remember proposing to Pops,” he joked. “We just got married. No, seriously, I don’t even remember. No, I just told everyone, ‘By the way, in June, we’re getting married.’ That was the proposal.”

As for any significant stories behind any of his hits, Martin opened up, “There was a pivotal time in my life when I was going wrong. It’s funny. You learn so much when you’re going the wrong way. You learn and you see the things that you passed.”

“I was going through a transitional point or period in my life. Some guys say that this is the moment, it was a new edition to an old soundtrack, which I never did. I said, ‘I want to sound like that.’”

“I ended up writing a song called ‘What’s on the Other Side.’ And it talks about me seeing myself as one of you. How to find you. Outside looking in. They say you need a bird’s-eye view of your problem before you can really solve it.”

“I was trying to see my life as someone who listens to my music, someone who really likes what I do. Someone who believes it, someone who looks up to me. I said, ‘That’s too much pressure. I don’t want to be that person anymore. What would it be like on the other side?’ ”

“That one’s called ‘Chasing Time,’ something that I wrote during my 30th or 35th anniversary. Talking about it’s going too fast. I never thought I’d make it to 40 years. We don’t even think about that until you’re celebrating it.”

“It’s a song I was going to try to tell myself to slow down. Smell the flowers. All those clichés we make to try and slow ourselves down.”

“You have to understand – when I started back in ’83, everything was happening so fast. They usually say, ‘The faster you rise, the harder you fall.’ Or something like that. I was so afraid to fall. I was so afraid to fail.”

“So afraid to do all of those things. I was just saying yes to everything. Trying everything. It’s catching up with me. So, ‘Chasing Time’ was that song.”

“I never had kids before. I had a new out-of-body experience where I saw myself on top of the bed. I had two kids. I said, I think I’m a father. Oh, I’m a father. I’m not a singer anymore. I’m a father.”

DAD. Martin Nievera on his three sons: “They just want to shoot the breeze and maybe pick your brain and maybe you pick their brain because I lost a lot of time with my kids, all three of them. My father strategy now is to catch up. It’s always catch up.” CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“And I wrote a song, ‘I’ll be There (For You).’ The interesting thing there is I get a call from Louie Ocampo. He said, ‘I have a song but I don’t have lyrics.’ I said, ‘Oh my God. I have lyrics but I don’t have a melody.’ ”

“I said, ‘What are you writing about?’ He immediately said, ‘My children.’  So, we both wrote, the same night, in the same phone call. One with music, one with lyrics, the song ‘I’ll Be There (For You).’ True story.”

When another reporter asked Martin about the “three wonderful treasures” of his life – Robin and Ram, his sons with ex-wife Pops – and Santino (his son with ex-partner Katrina Ojeda), who is living with autism, the loving dad answered, “We’re waiting to see what that is. Every parent who has a special child hopes he or she is a savant or some sort of genius.”

“We want to tell ourselves we did good but I think my son has gone through so many different moments where he changes ‘savant-ness.’ Right now, he loves to play the drums. Since you’re talking about it, Santino, my youngest, has told me, not asked, that he’s going to play the drums for you on August 28.”

“That’s the one place where he is at peace and he’s the calmest. I think it’s because of numbers, just doing one number. I mean, everything is moving at the same time. I think that seems to be where we are.”

“This is the longest he’s been with something. He tried the piano. We bought a piano. Two days later, we don’t need the piano anymore. He tried the violin. Not even a day later, we don’t need the violin.”

“We tried everything. We read the books; this is what’s going to happen to our special kids. Well, not all kids end up that way. They find what I call ‘a different magic’ and we’ve been waiting to see what the magic of Santino will be.”

“You are going to have to be with me as we look forward to that day. When we know exactly what it is that he will be, when I’m already six feet under. And that’s my biggest fear.”

“For all three kids, it’s very hard to be the father that I wish I was because I’m not present. I’m never there. With Santino, if I was guilty that I lost time with Robin and Ram, what more with Santino because his mother and I are no longer together.”

“Every child I have, their mother and I are not together, so how could I accept the award for best father of the year? It’s always haunting me that I’m not good enough for my kids. My love, my time, as precious, as rare – it’s not the quantity but the quality.”

“I tell myself that all the time. This is how I talk about my kids because I don’t deserve anything more than what I’m getting now.”

“I have sleepless nights of wondering, worrying, especially about Santino.”

“If you can imagine we couldn’t handle him as a baby, what more at 16? And I’m not physically there. FaceTime doesn’t count. It’s a great comfort to have that but it doesn’t count.”

“That’s why I’m always here. I’m in this state at least once maybe every other month to co-parent Santino. I wish I could say that I am the best father that I can be because I know I can be better but you have to be present.”

“You cannot just say you are a good father, that ‘I was there. I took you to Disneyland. I bought you this. I lent you money. I helped pay for your music video.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

“They just want to shoot the breeze and maybe pick your brain and maybe you pick their brain because I lost a lot of time with my kids, all three of them. My father strategy now is to catch up. It’s always catch up.”

When Ted pointed out that Robin is also a talented musician, Martin shared, “He’ll be there (in the concert), too.” Ted added, “And Ram is a phenomenal singer.” “He’ll be there, too,” the dad added.

Music is the one constant in his relationship with the three sons. “Maybe because they were there at certain songs during my 40 years,” he remarked. “They may not have seen what all of you saw during that time but I was the father that I was back then.”

“Let’s say the first albums, I was present. I was there all the time. We did things together. We slept in one bed together. Their only memories of their mother and me, that’s the first 10 albums.”

“The second 10 albums, the different songs that I wrote, and now you start seeing it in my lyrics that I am going through something, songs like ‘What’s on the Other Side.’ I’m wondering, what is it like to not be me?”

“Songs like ‘Chasing Time’ – these are songs you may not have heard before. But that’s where I was starting to go as a composer because I was going through something. I struggled with my fame, struggled with Pops with her fame. Fame and fame don’t mix, just so you know.”

“Two fames don’t make a right. In the case of Santino, maybe in the next 10 and onward, you start seeing these songs of release, of happiness. This is the man I want to be. I’m happy with this man I’m in kind of songs.”

“Then during the pandemic, I’m starting to write songs of hope, positive songs, happy songs. I don’t sing happy songs. I sing songs about breakups – ‘I want you back, I need you. Be my lady. Say that you love me. You are my soul.’ That’s where I was headed towards.”

“During this pandemic, we all learned to take care of each other more, to be more sensitive about many things we weren’t sensitive about before. I wrote a song called ‘Frontliners’ because I was so grateful that I was still living.”

“My mom, who is going to be 94, is living downstairs in another house that I had built for her. She’s living so I have so much to be grateful for.” Another bright note is that he and his girlfriend, Angie del Rosario, have been together for 14 years.

“Then I said that one day, no matter what we’ve been through, all of us have different stories to tell. When did you get it? What did you do during the pandemic? Who did you lose? I wrote a song called ‘Smile Again’ with hopes that we will all live one day with no fear and smile again.”

He will be performing some of these personally meaningful songs on the show. “Yes, as many as I can in one night until they kick me out.”

Looking back again, Martin is grateful for one quality he has. And boy, does he have it.

“You have to have a personality,” he said. “To the younger kids out there who are great on TikTok and whatnot, they have to be a performer but also to be real. So, bring the true personality out and whatnot.”

“That’s something you cannot teach. You have it or you don’t have it. How did I know I have it? To this day, I have no idea because I wanted to be a singer. And then someone says, ‘Would you like to do Penthouse Live!?’ I thought it was something they were singing, Penthouse Live!

“So we go, ‘Wait a minute. I’m only 19 years old.’ When Penthouse Live! came out and I was allowed to be myself in front of the camera, I was talking to all these people…. Imagine asking Christopher de Leon, ‘What’s your name?’ ”

“These guys, they hated me. Johnny Delgado, the Bad Bananas – they hated me because I didn’t know their names. But look what happened, we developed a friendship. We joke about it.”

“I only heard like 10 years ago this story I’m telling you now that these people didn’t like my disrespectful style. Do your freaking homework. There was no Wikipedia at the time so I couldn’t really study up on that.”

“But that’s how my first experience as hosting was. I’m a singer, I’m not a TV host. And it taught me how to converse and make it interesting for those watching as opposed to just conversing with you. And it became a talk show, and a talk show became another talk show.”

“And now, I love to do TV hosting and bring out something from my guest that you may not know about. You think you know everything about the star, but did you know…my aim is for you to learn something more about this popular icon, whether in politics or show business.”

“I love it. But that’s my number one rule: listen. And my number two is having fun.”

As the press conference wound down, he was asked, who among the new talents has what it takes to be the next Martin Nievera?

“I hope there’ll be no more Martin Nieveras,” he shared. “I think we can only handle one at the moment, right? Let’s see something new. I don’t want to see another Gary V. I want to see someone new.”

NO MORE. “I hope there’ll be no more Martin Nieveras. I think we can only handle one at the moment, right? Let’s see something new.” – Martin Nievera. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“But if you mean, who can we pass the torch to, definitely it has to be Robin. Robin is everything I’m not and he makes sure of it. Not because he’s ashamed. He’s really trying to make a mark.”

“I’m sure many of the people here in Los Angeles have seen him trying his love. And he doesn’t want any credit, he doesn’t want any kind of building or nothing to do with starter. He wants to pay his own way. He doesn’t want to follow in my footsteps.”

“Other showbiz artists have their kids always with them. I’m one artist who doesn’t have that. So, it’s very rare if my kids are with me onstage.”

“So, I would love to see Robin turn the Martin Nievera, the name, the family name, turn it around and completely change it. Something that may be pleasing to the younger people, his style of writing, singing, performance, but never, ever forget where he came from.”

“The only thing I ask is what you were before you became this enormous star, whatever that means during his time. During our time, it’s those titles, remember?”

“They’re reminding you you’re the Concert King. He has no title but he has the family name. So, in my family, my father always taught me what I’m now teaching him, and that’s, never forget where you came from.”

“Never forget the people who helped you along the way because they will be the same people you will see on your way down.”

“So, you better remember names. You’d better take a few numbers. Remember faces, moments that you’ve shared. They forget your name, is it Andy or Andrew?”

“I’m not even sure. I always get it wrong, right? But I remember a moment. That’s one thing I make sure I do and that’s one thing I’d love to instill in Robin since he seems to be the one following in my footsteps.”

“He’ll never be, there better never be, there should not be another Martin Nievera. Just Robin Nievera.”

How does he see himself in the next 40 years? “I see myself on stage until I drop dead. When there’s no more song to sing and no audience to sing for. But there’s always going to be an audience.”

“My motto in life now is there’s no such thing as a big show and a small show. A show is a show is a show. A gig is a gig is a gig. I treat them all the same, big, small, humongous because I think I’ve earned that after 40 years in the business.”

“I’m at that point in my life. I don’t have to worry about losing or gaining anything. For me, I’ve lost enough. I’ve bounced back.”

AT PEACE. “I’m at that point in my life. I don’t have to worry about losing or gaining anything. For me, I’ve lost enough. I’ve bounced back.” – Martin Nievera on reaching his 40th anniversary as a performer. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“My longevity plan is to enjoy now, sing what I can sing, and enjoy it. I’ve earned it.”

“Those nine people who came to watch my show – those people really wanted to be there and that’s who I’m performing for.”

More information about M4D: Martin 4 Decades, co-presented by Jom Jimenez of The Geoffrey Jimenez Group of Companies, and tickets in this link. –

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Ruben V. Nepales

Based in Los Angeles, Ruben V. Nepales is an award-winning journalist whose honors include prizes from the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards, a US-wide competition, and the Southern California Journalism Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Press Club.