(and ends up a winner in both)
“…Love has to cry…But need not die…
Heart has to sigh…the test of time…
We’re at the afterglow…and ‘though we both do know
How far we are from the dawn…
That second golden dawn…when love is true
Still I’ll wait…I’ll wait for the second dawn and you…”
Such an emotionally penned poetry filled with human sentiments and passionate expressions that touched the heart and lifted the soul…a plain assemblage of uncomplicated words that are far from being neither bloviate nor hackneyed and never dangling… just straightforward expression of thoughts and feelings which offers enigmatic charm and enticing submission to an unfathomed whimsical cadence.
The aforementioned lyrical verse was inspiringly fused with well-fitting mellifluous melody and rendered with sublime emotion serendipitously catapulted the talent behind this 1967 release of “Afterglow,” actually, his initial recording, a feat only an exceptionally brilliant and passionate singer-songwriter of Jose Mari Chan’s caliber could effortlessly deliver.
Just as the revered American poet Robert Frost said: “Poetry is when the emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words…” which was supported by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow’s literary guide: “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of feelings originating from emotion and recollected in tranquility…,” the Filipino singer-composer-songwriter Chan couldn’t have suffered a torturing past just to be able to write such, but merely born prolific with words and has everything a true-blooded poet should possess. His lyrics are profusely laced with well written lines that vividly evoke a superfluous surge of the not-so-distant past which remains poignant and worth-reminiscing.
A typical Piscean, born March 11, 1945, Jose Mari Chan saw the first light of day in Iloilo City where he was reared and early schooled. Although music was already a part of his formative years Joe Mari opted to finish a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1967 to augment the management force of their family-owned sugar business.
But innate inclination will tend to surface despite all odds and an instantly famed reality bolstered his status after the release of his first single. It was easy for him to magnetize a huge following with his uniquely husky and non-baritone vocal sound which even added flavor and finesse to his composition.
Lured by the glitz and enticing promise of showbiz, Joe Mari was first spotted under the limelight as a TV host and singer of Nine-Teeners, an ABS-CBN youth-oriented musical variety show in 1966, a year before he recorded “Afterglow.” Striking the rod while hot as his moniker slowly carved a niche, he released his first LP (Long Playing record in vinyl) in 1969 entitled “Deep In My Heart.”
Amid the emergence of numerous balladeers and hopefuls, the name Jose Mari Chan remained uncontested and unperturbed. With a growing reputation and budding career he represented the Philippines in the 1973 World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo where his song “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile” reached the finals. That same year, his songs “Can We Start All Over Again” and “Refrain” were simultaneously lording it over the airwaves and had been neatly associated with his name since.
His reserved personality, unrelenting perseverance, excellent artistry in writing poetic verses, and the ability to integrate his emotions to the fluidity of his songs gave him the paramount edge over other competitors in the industry.
The Filipino-Chinese mellow balladeer with an emotionally heart-throbbing vocal was unpredictably dealt with a massive decision in 1975 when he was made to move to the US for his sugar business that would require him to be away for more than a decade. The harrowing occurrence brought about by the vast distance that would separate them inspired him to write “Love to Last a Lifetime” which he composed with a heavy heart having to leave his family. To assure his wife of his lifelong commitment, he sentimentally penned the song which also became a chart topper.
Take a glimpse of the lyrics and feel the genuine essence of its message:
“We’re all just merely passing through…
Doing what we can do in a lifetime
We have more than one adventure to take
More than one dream to make in our lifetime…
As for me there’s only one dream
And that’s to love you, my love
With a love to last a lifetime…”
But among the many songs he had recorded, Joe Mari considers “Refrain” as his real winning piece for through it he won the heart of his girlfriend, Mary Ann Ansaldo who later became his wife and with whom he has 5 children.
In 1986, after 11 years, he returned home and recorded his second album, “Constant Change” which won Album of the Year from Awit Awards and reached Diamond Record in terms of sales. The said album also garnered unprecedented sales in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
A Christmas album, “Christmas in Our Hearts,” was released in 1990 and reached triple platinum within that year and dubbed as the biggest selling album in the Philippine Recording history. A consistent award-getter, his “A Heart’s Journey” won 2001 Album of the Year. For the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, he was commissioned to compose and sing its theme song thus, the birth of “We’re All Just One.”
In the year 2011 he released his 13th full-length album, “the Manhattan Connection: The Songs of Jose Mari Chan,” which was produced by Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer and reimaged by music producer Yaron Gershovsky.
To help you reminisce and tread the road down memory lane, here are some of Joe Mari’s all-time favorite hits:
Deep in My Heart; Constant Change; Beautiful Girl (which he wrote about a pretty girl he saw from a distance but never got the chance to personally meet); Tell Me Your Name; Stay, My Love; Perhaps Love; Afraid For Love To Fade; High and Mighty; Sing Me Your Song Again, Daddy (a bride’s dance with her father); Leave You; So I’ll Go; If We Only Have More Time Together; Please Be Careful With My Heart (with Regine Velasquez); Christmas in Our Hearts (with daughter Liza Chan); I Have Fallen In Love With The Same Woman Three Times (a poem written by the late Ninoy Aquino for his wife Cory during his exile which Joe Mari incorporated music to make it a song); and My Girl, My Woman, My Friend (with Janet Basco).
But just as when you thought Joe Mari is exclusively pinned down to writing romantic ballads, think again… for singer-songwriter is also a versatile commercial advertisement and jingle artist. He has created numerous appealing and effectual commercial jingles that were not only pleasing to hear but also addicting to listen to while simultaneously marketing the product. Released in 1997, “Strictly Commercial: The Jingle Collection” sold briskly like his lovesongs tantamount to saying that anything by Joe Mari Chan is something worth-owning.
Surprisingly, his pen and voice were the powerful marketing endorser behind the familiar radio-TV ads of more than 70 products like: Dial soap (“Aren’t you glad you use Dial”); Alaska milk (“Sa lasa’t lasa walang tatalo sa Alaska”); Hallmark Cards (“No one throws away memories”); Dutch Boy Paints (“Let me color your world”); So-En (“Fashion to love, Quality to last”); Philippine Airlines (“Love at thirty thousand feet”); Island Centennial Song (A cherished part of me”); and BBC’s station ID Big Beautiful Country (“Welcome world to this big beautiful country…”) just to name a few.
After 22 long years, his first Christmas album deserved a much-awaited follow-up with the release of “Going Home To Christmas” which, like the former, gained top record sales.
As a whole there’s no other Filipino talent who deserves to take a slot close to Jose Mari Chan when it comes to writing emotionally-laden songs, composing beguiling melodies, creating catchy commercial jingles, and constantly maintaining unparalleled record sales all year round. His music is timelessly defying genres and generations.
Currently the Chairman and CEO of Biscom, Inc. and A. Chan Sugar Corporation, 69-year-old Joe Mari is also the Chair and President of Signature Music, Inc. aside from an almost 5-decade association with his longtime record label, Universal Records, Philippines.
An early Christmas treat awaits everyone, avid Joe Mari Chan followers or first time fanatic, at the Grand Ballroom of Golden Nugget Casino Hotel & Marina in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM when the prolific singer-songwriter delivers holiday cheers via a most-touted concert aptly titled “Going Home to Christmas” with the special participation of his equally talented daughter Lisa Chan-Parpan and son Franco Chan.
Tickets are pegged at $88, $58, & $38.
For ticket inquiry and reservations, please call: (201) 370-5030; (212) 481-2406; (917) 294-6783; (908) 265-1430; (347) 738-3025; (908) 906-9788. Or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Incidentally, “Going Home to Christmas” is another quality entertainment presentation from GroupOle Productions (www.groupole.com) in cooperation with Nel Castellvi Productions, Marisse Panlillio Entertainment (MPE), and De La Salle Alumni Association of Metro New York.
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(and ends up a winner in both)