Filipino-American singer-composer-songwriter and record producer Eric Garzon, simply Eric G to music aficionados, is enthusiastically walking on cloud nine with the forthcoming release of his latest (actually, his third) self-produced album, ‘Black & White’ smugly loaded with six original tracks, two Tagalog and four English ditties, that took him two months to finish.
“Why just six and not eight which is the normal stuffing of an album?” I casually queried without any intention to sound intimidating.
“I intentionally wanted it to be minimal but with such tremendously interesting impact. I came to realize that other cuts aren’t given due promotion since the focal concentration are mainly set on the carrier single or on the succeeding track… sayang naman ang ibang pinaghirapan kong composition,” he replied.
With the two Tagalog songs in the album, “Jack en Poy” (written in Taglish which is a rock-paper-scissor game similar to coin flipping, drawing straws, or throwing dice) and “Sarap Ng Buhay” (zest of life… which is purely in straight Tagalog with an ala-Apo Hiking Society tempo), Eric hopes that these will further provide his singing career the much-needed boost particularly among his Filipino fans.
“Last year when I went to the Philippines for a brief break while simultaneously on a keen scrutiny of the current music trend I came to discover that the Filipino audience, despite the proliferation of diverse music genre and the advent of fresh talents, still clamors for what is truthfully OPM (Original Pilipino Music)… which serves as sort of a wake-up call for me. I’ve been in the business for decades and never gave that idea some thoughts,” he shared.
“When I returned home I started to mold the foundation of the new genre I have to embrace and concentrate on. It was fortunate of me to be bilingual … proficiently versed both in English and Tagalog… and that gave me an edge to solely devote my focus on my new project.”
But why ‘Black & White’ of all titles? Hmmm, another case-in-point inquiry.
There was a brief pause in Eric’s part seemingly trying to grasp the right words to validate and rightfully defend the title he stamped on his latest album. And just when I was to shoot my follow-up question, the ever smart songwriter enthusiastically verbalized the accurate rationale crowding his mind.
“Well, aside from the fact that ‘black and white’ has been synonymous or associated with extremities, white for good, innocent and pure while black for dark, hidden and unknown, the title specifically encapsulates the entirety of my struggle as an independent artist… from my self-effacing beginning to eventually discovering the trail that leads to my vision and gradually attaining the very essence of what I have toiled for,” he explained.
“Just to put it bluntly, isn’t it that when one reaches a certain point where every single doubt and fear was ironed out and you want to attest its validity, you put it in ‘black and white’,” was Eric’s strong pronouncement while sounding persuasive… maybe in his polished manner to convince me… unsuspectingly aware I was already on his side even during the initial stage of his logical analysis.
And in the course of our exchange of thoughts came another valid justification why he named his most recent album, ‘Black & White.’
“After the voluminous input regarding the justification of the ‘Black & White’ title, I’m pretty certain that this one will practically leave some profound thoughts: that hopefully, the diverse ethnicities (literally the blacks and the whites) patronizing my songs will be harmoniously unified with my music serving as the main cohesive element. ‘Black & White’ actually covers the whole spectrum of my music.”
“Frankly now, I could clearly identify the status where I stand and envisage where my career path is taking me. I could feel a different kind of compelling energy within… with the coming of this new-fangled project,” the singer added.
It’s but fitting and proper to bring to mind that Eric’s ‘Dreams’ music video was something worth watching…fully loaded with pulsating beat that was even more enlivened by his impeccable vocals and hip-gyrating moves. Truly infectious! His was a perfect creation of pure hard work and dedicated ingenuity by somebody who never underwent any formal musical training.
Just like internationally famous brilliant self-taught artists-musicians Noel Gallagher (former construction worker who learned to play the guitar at thirteen and eventually became lead guitarist of famous British band Oasis), Jimi Hendrix (who was extremely poor as a child to even own a guitar), Eric Clapton (three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who started playing an acoustic Hoyer guitar at 15), David Bowie (influential pop music writer and lead guitarist of Rolling Stones),  and the recently demised Prince (the charismatic icon who changed the rock music with the fusion of his various music styles that defied all stereotypes).
Eric G, himself, is mighty proud to yell to the whole world that everything he knows about the musical and recording processes are the outcome from being scrupulously self-taught. His firm tenacity and persevering commitment to his craft earned for him the contentment and success that he currently enjoys.
Listening to Eric’s music makes one marvel at the unparalleled vocal and technical skills of the Fil-Am musician. Little did they know that his humble beginnings and excruciating journey were enormously compacted with tons of sacrifices sans any option to admit failure.
The unassuming singer could amazingly play the piano like a virtuoso and the saxophone like a pro. Even without formal schooling, Eric could read notes, edit songs digitally, and wax recordings. A graphic designer on his own merit, he single handedly conceptualized, designed, and printed his three album covers and jackets.
“I started with a Pre-Audio Interface (an M-Audio that you plug to the computer) and since I accumulated every single gadget and recording equipment to completely build my own recording studio in the basement. Constant operations on a hit and miss basis led me to finally perfecting what I wanted and needed to come up with,” he said.
With success comes altruism. With accomplishment comes selflessness and sharing.
Eric G doesn’t close his doors for those who wanted to get a share of what he has resplendently achieved. He affably gives pointers, techniques, and even composes for up-coming singers who also dream of getting far where he’s gone. Singer-performer Apple Viñas, WCOPA (World Championship of Performing Arts) grand winner Lianna Santa Ana, and promising talent Jessica Delos Santos are just some of the artists that have recorded in his studio.
A prolific talent with a munificent heart, Eric was compelled to compose “One Cause, One Love” following the massive devastation brought about by Typhoon Sendong (international code name Washi) that hit southern Philippines in December 16, 2011.
The urban pop artist’s benevolent ways did not escape the country’s Pop Diva Kuh Ledesma’s awareness that she couldn’t help but commended on the singer’s innate spirit of voluntarism and compassionate advocacy: “Eric is an epitome of pure passion and dedication to his God-given talents. I pray the world discover his heart of gold. Blessings!”
Incidentally, Eric G’s ‘Jack N Poy’ single is due for release on June 1 with the entire album slated to follow soon. To be updated with Eric’s schedule of performances, please feel free to visit his website:
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