GLENDALE, Calif. – It was a rousing full-house welcome for ‘Concert King’ Martin Nievera, live on Nov. 2, at the Alex Theatre here, presented by Pia Legazpi Laput of Amore Entertainment, and directed by Jet Montelibano.
Backing Martin was the Big Mouth Band from Las Vegas, formed in 2002, to mainly play for him at his concerts. His special guest was singer and vocal coach Louie Reyes. And he sprung a surprise when his (and Pops Fernandez) son DJ Robin of Wish FM 107.5 Bus also joined the concert and sang his self-penned track “Home.” (Wish FM 107.5 Bus is a studio on wheels, a radio station based in Quezon City, providing platforms where Filipino talents perform and showcase their music.)
I like how Ted Benito, executive director of the Apl.de.ap Foundation International, describes Martin: “The only artist I know whose heart is bigger than his mouth! He loves his Kababayans! He loves his Kaibigans! He loves sinigang, just a little bit spicier (sour-er).”
“This is a first time for me, now I’m a Martin fan.” “He’s Fabulous.” “What a wonderful voice.” “He’s so down to earth.” “He’s so funny and his timing with his jokes is just perfect.” “His punchlines are out of this world!” “And he’s so accommodating.” “He’s indeed a world-class singer.”
Those were just some of the comments gathered from audience members while they listened to 80’s, 90’s and OPM playlist. They were also touched when Martin paid tribute to the late Rico J. Puno and Gary Valenciano, singing their signature songs. He even said “the real concert king is Rico.” And of course, his musicale won’t be complete if he doesn’t sing “Be My Lady.” But he did mention that the song he wants to be remembered for is “You Are My Song.”
Martin sang his heart out not only on stage, but also off stage, serenading very surprised ladies. He brought the house down when he said something like, “I feel so sorry for all those patients at hospitals and nursing homes, because their nurses are all here tonight.”
After the “very successful” and “very entertaining” show, Maria Barrios hosted a late dinner reception at their Villa Monaco Mansion. Her daughter Adriana Rodriguez was one of the singers at Martin’s concert.
Martin was overwhelmed by the warm reception he received from Angelenos, “and especially from Pia, my producer. She’s the best. How come I didn’t know her sooner,” he quipped during the press briefing Oct. 29, sponsored by the Green Banana Leaf in Cerritos, Calif., ‘serving fusion Filipino food at its best.’ (There is another Green Banana Leaf in Chino Hills, Calif.)
This year, Martin won the MYX Magna Award at the recent MYX Music Awards for his achievements in music as a singer, performer and talk show host. In his three-decade career, he has garnered eighteen platinum, five double platinum, three triple platinum, and one quadruple platinum albums.
Q&A: (Most of the questions by PNews were answered via email by Martin prior to the press conference.)
PNews: Have you reached your peak? MN: “I hope I have not reached the peak just yet. Every day is a new day and I intend to keep performing for, and hopefully inspiring, people who will allow me into their hearts and lives.”
The son of balladeer Bert Nievera and Conchita Razon, Martin has plans for his family. “I plan to see my boys realize their dreams,” he stated. “This is my wish for myself. I want only the best for them. I want them to be dreamers and believers. I want each of them, Robin, Ram and Santino to be a better man than I ever was.” (Robin and Ram are his sons with Pops; Santino’s mother is Katrina Ojeda.)
PNews: How does your down time look like? MN: “I seldom have downtime. But when I have it, I am on the couch seriously binging or in Disneyland strengthening my belief in magic. I also have a new talk show called, ‘LSS – The Martin Nievera Show’ (LSS stands for Long Story Short),” he added.
PNews: Describe your normal day. MN: “Out in the morning to a shoot for the new talk show and in the evening I am in a corporate show or rehearsal. I work out whenever I can where ever I can.”
PNews: Who are your favorite singers? MN: “Not me! But Regine, Lani, Morisette, KZ Tandingan, Brian McKnight, Bocelli, and my father. He motivated me to be a singer. But my career path was put together by hits and misses through the years – 36 years to be exact. Now I know there is no such thing as a small gig.”
PNews: Who do you give credit to for your success? MN: “My father made me want to be like him as a singer and as a father. (His dad was a member of the Hawaii-based troupe Society of Seven). Martin also credits for his skill his Cebuana maternal grandmother, Lourdes Corrales, a famous mezzo-soprano and radio personality in the 1940s.
(Martin is also an actor, and has appeared in eleven movies, and seven television series and specials. His film credits include dramas, romance, science fiction, comedy and action.)
PNews: Are you a successful father? MN: “Not really. I am just blessed with amazingly understanding children.”
PNews: Why are you successful? MN: “Success comes from the people around me who take a chance with me with their undying faith. I am successful, because I have failed so often. Bouncing back has become a second career for me.”
PNews: How is your love life? MN: Pointing to a lady in the audience, “Angeline Del Rosario. She makes me happy. She’s the love of my life.”