I waved ‘hi’ to signal to him that I am whom he came in for, but just as he was about to sit down and proceed with the interview, a lady sitting beside our table had asked him, “Are you JayR?” (introduced herself,) and had told the King of Philippine R&B, “I have long been trying to get a ticket to one of your shows. I am a fan!”
Woah there! What a good way to start. He indeed is a star, but a very humble one at that… Clad in jeans and a graffiti shirt … JayR speaks with much modesty… sans ego or bravado. He apologized countless times for arriving late. The taping for his ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ show ended very late the night before, so to make it up to me, he handed me some M&Ms he had stashed in his pocket. Simple, subtle, but sweet …. And it worked.
Born Gaudencio Sillona III, JayR was the ‘’Junior of a Junior’’ hence the name, JayR. JayR shared, “instead of all the confusion and the long names they are calling me or each other Gaudencio… they called me JayR na lang.”
‘I am very green minded.’
Apart from being the Philippines’ King of R&B, JayR is also known as a producer, an actor, an endorser and a restaurateur… Asked if there’s something not a lot of people know about him, Jay R, without hesitation answered, “I think what a lot of people don’t know is I am very green minded.” and giggles, leaving me a little flushed and with a question mark on my face.
JayR explained, “That sounded kinda bad but… green minded in an eco-friendly way… I practice green-living at home and I’ve been green since elementary pa… na to recycle, to save water ganito and so… I carried on those traits.”
Even if JayR has not yet encountered groups who share the same advocacy as his, JayR says, “I want to do it myself. I want to use clean energy for it is better for the world,” and hopes that by leading and living by example, he can share it to the world and spread the practice.
Most successful singers nowadays are either a product of a televised singing contest or someone who has undergone intense vocal training in some prestigious vocal school. JayR has his family to thank for his interest, passion and love for music.
“My dad is the eldest of his brothers and sisters and all of them are musically inclined. They have their own bands and that’s where I got my training,” JayR shared and added that people get impressed when they learn that he didn’t have any formal training and is just very thankful that he came from a musically inclined family.
JayR fondly recalls his first feat. “My first performance was in elementary for our graduation. That’s when I discovered na marunong pala akong kumanta.” He then shared that he’s learned his passion in music through his parents as his father was a photographer and his mother assists doctors at a hospital, but both of them have shown JayR their true love/passion in music.
“You know it’s really love and passion because they have their respective jobs. It’s never the technical type.”
More goals and accomplishments otw
“Another thing that I want to accomplish this year is getting a gold record and a platinum record for my new album ‘Elevated,’” shared JayR on his aim for his self-produced album from his music label, HomeWorkz Music.
“It’s almost gold so that’s a good sign; kasi syempre platinum is double the amount of CDs than gold so sana… we get the gold soon.”
Asked if when he will know that he’s reached his prime and had accomplished his dreams, JayR modestly answered, ”I don’t know if I could ever say that ‘I’ve completed my accomplishments,’ kasi nanganganak ‘yan eh after you make one. I think it’s natural for humans to want even more than what they have. So once you achieve something… parang you feel like after that achievement… you can feel like you can achieve more and your goals and standards becomes higher,” and shares that the same explanation speaks for his recent album, “‘Elevated.’”
Of course, I had to ask what’s so special about him and how is he different compared to the other artists in the country, JayR enthusiastically answered, “I think what sets me apart from other artists in the Philippines is my passion talaga. My passion for music in the Philippines rises so high na I want to elevate the music industry itself, and that’s the difference ‘cause my drive is not just for me, it is also for my fellow artists.”
He followed it quickly with, “Another difference that I have is I give back to my music community through ‘HomeWorkz.’ I get artists that are struggling to get into music industry but are very talented. I give them a platform to showcase their talents and to be really seen by the world.”
See you in Canada
JayR will be performing alongside Darren Espanto, Fil-Canadian singer and ‘The Voice Kids Philippines’ finalist, in his Canada Tour happening at Saskatoon TCU Place on July 3 and at Toronto Queen Elizabeth Theatre on July 4.
JayR said his kudos to Darren for going back to his home and to perform in Canada, “You know the market around the world really loves him. So it was really a pleasure for me to join him in the concert.”
“What I like about it in Canada is that I was born in America and my mga differences na ‘kong nakikita eh. So what I want to tell them is, ‘I cannot wait to be with them because everytime I’m in Canada, the welcome is just totally different and the aura of the people? It’s totally different talaga!’ They are very respectful. Kaya it’s really nice to be welcomed by them,” JayR said excitedly.
To close, JayR invites Filipinos and non-Filipino to watch his and Darren’s concert in July.
“Sa lahat ng mga Filipino natin diyan sa Canada, I can’t wait to see you specially magperform para sa inyo. Gusto ko ‘yung pag-welcome niyo sa akin. Lagi kayong mababait at good vibes… Kaya kita-kita tayo diyan sa Canada for Darren Espanto’s show and I will be there and hopefully… we will all have fun together.”