Filipino singer Morissette
Filipino singer Morissette Image Credit: Supplied

Filipino singer Morissette, who is set to perform at the Pinoy Piyesta concert on September 2 in Dubai, seems to embody the title that she’s been given in the industry — Asia’s Phoenix.

In a Zoom interview with Gulf News ahead of the concert, the ‘Akin Ka Na Lang’ singer fondly recalled her early days where she participated in multiple reality TV contests and didn’t win any of them. Still, she has been able to rise from the ashes and blaze into one of the top musicians of her generation.

One such contest that she didn’t win was ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ in 2013. Morissette only made it to the semi-finals and explained why the song choice that let her down eventually led to one of the best performances of her life.

“In the semi-finals, which was the farthest I made it in the competition, I decided to fight for a song that during that time wasn’t so famous. This is a song by Jessie J. It’s called ‘Who You Are’... I decided to fight for the song in the competition because I really loved the message,” Morissette, 26, said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it past that stage in the competition.”

The artist said her failure made her hate the song but it also helped her get up close and personal with the powerhouse British vocalist on stage in 2014.

“A year later, Jessie J had a concert here in Manila... and I was given the opportunity to sing a duet or to interview Jessie J. I was able to sing with her in the concert to that song because I was able to mention to her that I sang that song in the ‘Voice of the Philippines’,” Morissette said. “It was very, very special. I basically felt like I had a full circle [moment] with the song, because I lost with that song on ‘The Voice’. But also, a year later, I was given the opportunity to sing with the original singer because of that song.”

Morissette’s star has risen since then, and she’s heading back to Dubai to perform with a star-studded line-up that includes KZ Tandingan, Yeng Constantino, Erik Santos and singer-comediennes K Brosas and Ethel Booba. Read more about Morissette’s journey...

How does it feel to be returning to Dubai for a concert?

I am very excited. Dubai definitely holds a very special place in my heart because this was one of the [first] countries that I was able to travel to... and to be coming back especially after the pandemic, it’s something that’s very exciting for me and just being able to perform again for everyone there in Dubai, especially for all our Filipino fans.

What can audiences expect from the Pinoy Piesta?

Audiences can expect a super fun show, the collaborations that I personally will be having with the rest of the artists that are going to be joining me also in the show. And just the songs... a lot of the songs that we’ll be sharing will be very nostalgic. We also have some new ones as well, for people to hopefully enjoy.

It seems like the whole lineup of the show is a celebration of OPM [Original Pilipino Music]. How do you feel about spreading the message of Filipino music and do you think it has the possibility of going global like K-pop?

I’m just very grateful to be in the position to be able to share my music and share my voice and my talent. One of my personal goals as an artist is definitely to be able to represent Filipinos well and OPM well through the songs that I’m able to release and interpret. I personally also do believe that there’s so much potential for OPM and Filipino artists to be known globally, just because there’s so many amazing artists... everyone’s so talented and so passionate. So I feel like it’s just a matter of time for the rest of the world also to give recognition to OPM.

How did you begin in music?

I’ve always loved to sing. My family has been so music-oriented. I think at an early age, I already knew that singing was something that I wanted to do for the rest of the rest of my life. And I’m just very blessed and super grateful to have such a supportive family backing me up with that dream. I started in the industry and my career joining a lot of singing competitions. A lot of them, especially the major ones on TV, I didn’t win. But I am happy that despite that I was still given opportunities to put myself out there and [get] a spot in the industry. Right now I’m already in my 12th year in the industry and I’m just really, really happy to be [here].

What keeps you inspired after 12 years?

The major thing would be the support of so many people. During the pandemic, I was able to put out some original music and these are songs that I personally co-wrote and co-produced alongside my husband [Dave Lamar]. I was very inspired to put out these songs because of what the internet has been able to offer to everyone. There’s so much possibility right now through the internet. Also because through these new songs that I was able to put out I was also able to gain new followers and new fans. A big chunk of it is really the support of the people who have been there for me since the beginning. I think a bit of it also and I feel is also just as a important is that I just really love to sing and I enjoy what I do. Of course, there are hurdles and there are obstacles but because this is something that I really wanted to do... I just enjoy the journey.

What would you say is your favourite song to perform live?

There’s a lot of songs, but I think one [song that’s a] favourite... [favourite] would be an understatement. This song is one of the most important songs for me because I feel like that’s really what built my name in the industry. This is an original song that I was given the honour of interpreting back in 2014. This is a song called ‘Akin Ka Na Lang’ and it’s written by a good friend of mine, Kiko Salazar. If it weren’t for this song, I feel like I wouldn’t really grow as an artist. Just because this also moulded me to where I am and what I am today as a singer. So many people have just been loving it ever since the beginning and I’m so happy to know that a lot of people still play it in their daily routines despite it being released a while back.

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What would be your dream location to perform at?

I haven’t really thought of that. But I feel like the best answer would be Madison Square Garden in the States because I feel like that’s every artists’ dream... to be able to perform for a big venue and crowd like that. Especially if you’re able to also just share your original music.

What can fans expect from you in the near future in terms of music?

I’m actually going to be releasing so much new music. This is only towards the end of the year... I am very fortunate to be in the position where I’m able to collaborate with different music labels here as well in the Philippines, despite being in a label that I also co-started, which is Underdog Music. There’s gonna be so many releases, some of them are revivals of old classics here in the Philippines, but also a lot of them are also new songs. So I am definitely looking forward to that. And another is just so many more opportunities to be able to perform live for people. Especially here in our country where things are finally starting to come back, especially with live shows. I am looking forward to finally having so many different opportunities and platforms to be able to sing for people live again.

Don’t miss it!

Pinoy Piyesta takes place on September 2. Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 9pm. Tickets are available online and start from Dh125.