WATCH: For Sarah Geronimo, digital concert ‘Tala’ is a thank you to fans

It almost feels like a lifetime ago when “Tala,” Filipino pop giant Sarah Geronimo’s 2015 hit, became the surprise hit of late 2019 and early 2020. The song was everywhere – in clubs, bars, shopping centers, and your nearby barangay hall. Sunday variety show ASAP even dedicated a “Grand Tala Day” to celebrate the dance craze. 

And then, of course, came the quiet and uncertainty of 2020. 

“There are days na when you ask yourself: Lord, when will this end? What will happen tomorrow, in the future? You have fears. Is it gonna get worse?” Sarah told Rappler in an interview ahead of Tala: The Film Concert on Friday, March 27.

“But the most important thing is to have a strong faith, to hold on because if you don’t, you’ll be overcome by sadness and fear. And we cannot live in fear,” she added. 

Fear, she also admitted, was something they felt ahead of mounting the show. More than a year into the pandemic, and the live performance industry in the Philippines still struggles. In-person events are almost always out of the question even as artists and suppliers bleed funds.

Still, Sarah and the team decided to push forward, resulting in a digital concert that’s undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest entertainment events of 2021. 

Gusto namin patuloy na mag-perform, patuloy na magsaya sa mga tao. It’s now or never, 'di ba? So tuloy lang,” she said. 

(We want to perform, to make people happy. It’s now or never, right? So we’re pushing forward.) 

That the song "Tala” was one of the last happy memories we were able to share in person before masks and physical distancing became a part of daily life is almost bittersweet. 

Here's what else Sarah told us (remotely) about her preparations, life in quarantine, and her plans for the year ahead. 

(Editor’s note: Some of the answers have been condensed for clarity.)

Rappler: How have you been coping during the quarantine? 

Okay naman. Of course, there are days na parang mapapatanong ka: Lord, kelan ba ‘to matitigil? What will happen tomorrow, in the future? May mga fears ka. Is it gonna get worse?’

Pero ano lang, yung pinaka-importante sa lahat is our strong faith. Kapit lang kasi wala eh, mababalot tayo ng kalungkutan at ng takot and we cannot live in fear. Kailangan patuloy tayong may buhay na may positive mindset at hopeful heart, hopeful mind, kailangan ganoon. So we choose to survive, we choose to live freely with pag-ingat pa rin. Importante na ‘di naman pwede sabihin na wala yan, we are with God, kaya natin ‘to. Kailangan mag-ingat pa rin tayo sa ating mga sarili. 

Rappler: What do you miss the most about performing live before an audience?

Ang namimiss ko, the adrenaline rush, yung nerbyos. Iba eh, ibang-iba kapag live, ibang-iba kung meron kang audience. You draw the energy, yung gigil, may gigil eh. Somehow meron, for me, as an artist, may desire ka na mapasaya mo 'tong mga taong ito. So yun ang nakakamiss.

Rappler: Why "Tala?"

The reason why we chose "Tala" is…yung [song] kasi, punong-puno ng pagsasalamat para sa mga taong yumakap, tumangkilik noong awitin, nagpalaki noong awitin. It’s our way of saying thank you. 

Also, "Tala" is a symbol of light and hope. We wanna instill hope and positivity sa puso ng mga tao sa gitna ng…sabihin na nating kadiliman na naidudulot nitong pandemic na ito. Gusto naming makapagbigay ng kasiyahan at inspirasyon sa show na ito. ‘Yun ang ultimate goal ng show na ito at hopefully maging successful. 

Rappler: How did you start preparing for the concert?

Una sa lahat, prinepara ko muna ang aking isip na kakayanin ko ito, bina-back-up-an ako ng mga tao na very supportive sa akin, na talagang iba yung will nila to mount this show kasi syempre may question rin at first na kaya ba, kaya ba talaga? And kung kakayanin, tatanggkilikin ba ng mga tao? Kasi iba na eh. 

And yes, it’s a film concert pero iba pa rin ang live concert kasi ano ba babaunin mo sa live concert? The connection that you make with the artist…kahit na gaano kalayo, magkasama kayo sa iisang lugar. So iba yun, ibang experience na babaunin mo. So may ganoong tanong pero wala, gusto namin patuloy na mag-perform, patuloy na magsaya sa mga tao. It’s now or never, di ba? So tuloy lang.

My mind, I prepared my mind. Syempre, physically, important. Tinulungan ako ni Teacher Georcelle kasi matagal-tagal akong ‘di nakapag perform. Kaya ko pa ba? Motivated ba ako? Pero oo. Ito talaga ang gusto kong gawin eh. And itong show na ito, mahalaga para sa akin ang mga taong nagbibigay ng oportunidad sa akin, at yung mag nagbibigay ng panahon to see the show, I don’t want to disappoint them. So talagang trinabaho namin lahat. 

Rappler: What can fans old and new expect from Tala?

Expect Sarah the artist who loves what she does, who loves making other people happy through her own little ways. Gusto ko lang patuloy na magpasaya sa ibang tao. 

Rappler: What are your plans for 2021?

My goal is makapag-record pa ng original songs, tuloy-tuloy na original songs. Ayokong tumigil hangga’t meron akong boses, hangga’t meron akong manager na naniniwala sa akin. I wanna be able to record original songs, songs na talagang galing sa puso ko, hindi yung kumakanta ka lang ng awitin because ang ganda ng beat. Songs na may magandang mensahe. Of course, hangga’t meron akong lakas, gusto ko pa makagawa ng marami pang concerts, whether solo or in collaboration with artists that I look up to. – Rappler.com

Sarah Geronimo's one-night only concert will be available for streaming worldwide on March 27 at 8 PM on Ktx.ph, iWantTFC, and SKY Pay-Per-View.