Dubai: “Please Google me,” Martin Nievera directs a slightly self-depreciating joke at millennials who “may not know who I am”, drawing a hearty laugh from a packed crowd who came to witness the free concert featuring the Philippine concert king and sultry singer-actress Arci Muñoz at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Nievera, the voice behind some of the most enduring Filipino love songs, is certainly equal parts singer and funny man – the quintessential total entertainment package.
“You will find that I have been doing this for the last 36 years,” he would add, noting that he was the first singer to perform for a Philippine television network’s international launch in Dubai two decades ago. “Was anyone alive then?”
Nievera sat down with Gulf News #Pinoy to talk about his upcoming show and ideas for an episode in Dubai. The balladeer also graciously accepted this week’s #Pinoy Challenge – watch the video below!
Nievera has been a talk show host just as long as he has been singing his way into the hearts of millions of Filipinos. And after nearly four decades in the spotlight, the Friday concert, part of activities in Dubai that marked the 120th Philippine independence day, showed that he is still on top of his game.
Belting out a number of his timeless classics such as Be My Lady, You Are My Song and Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin, Nievera worked the crowd for almost an hour of wistfulness and laughter for many homesick Filipinos.
The 56-year-old balladeer’s recording career started in 1983 when he released Martin…Take One. He has also been host of late night shows such as Martin After Dark and Martin Late @ Nite, as well as several variety shows. He was also a presentation host during the 1994 Miss Universe.
Nievera’s latest hosting gig is an upcoming talk show, LSS with Martin Nievera, which will also be aired in the UAE through The Filipino Channel.
Q&A with the Philippine concert king
Tell us about your new show.
It’s called LSS, Long Story Short. It’s a show that I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. There’s a lot of talk, a lot of fun, a lot of adventures with my guests as opposed to sitting down in a couch, in a desk. We’re doing away with the desk and we’re going to different locations.
What took you so long to get back to hosting a talk show?
Television has changed a lot, not just in the Philippines but all over the world. The talk show era seems to have died for a while. [TV network] ABS-CBN has so many shows, there’s no room for those laid-back, slow talk show. So now, I’m on ANC, which is still with the ABS-CBN family where they have a time for this kind of a show. Everything now is fast, you know Facebook live, everything is on social media, everything is fast and quick. We are hoping to get that same feel and still be able to give you a little bit more about our favourite stars, politicians, heroes in the Philippines.
Any plans of having an LSS episode in Dubai?
Oh, that would be so great. I already have shots of me just having fun in Dubai. That would be great. The show is open for anyone, for everyone. It’s not just for celebrities. I want to have the Filipino women who have somehow been displaced from work for whatever reasons. That would be one because all of us here in ABS-CBN, we have our own foundation, which is sensitive about those things. I also want to go to restaurants here and then go to karaoke bars and have some singing, that’s the kind of show that we will be doing.
With inputs from Irish Eden Belleza