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‘Old school’ Pops Fernandez learns new ways of making music

January 5 ------ Pops Fernandez feels “very blessed and grateful” that she’s still making strides in the entertainment business since she launched her career in the ‘80s. “When I started, honestly, in my mind, ‘Pa-cute lang ‘to.’ I just want to experience showbiz because I felt that when I was younger, I wanted to be in showbiz because my mom and dad were in showbiz,” she told reporters during a press conference and contract signing with Viva Artists Agency (VAA). 


Pops is the daughter of action star Eddie Fernandez and singer Dulce Lukban. “So, I thought back then when I was starting, 10 years was long enough. I told myself that after 10 years, maybe I can go back to school. I wanted to finish my college degree and all that, and I wanted to go to college,” she went on. However, as time passed by, this plan didn’t materialize because a lot had happened in her life. “Looking back, who would have thought that I would still be in the business after over 40 years? For me, it’s a blessing and I’m very, very grateful for all that has happened to me, sa lahat-lahat na nakatrabaho ko.” 


The 57-year-old singer-actress’ latest releases are the heartwarming Always Loved and the more upbeat Get It Poppin’ under ABS-CBN Star Music. The Philippines’ Concert Queen is also gearing up for her forthcoming concert titled Always Loved on Feb. 9 and 10 at The Theatre at Solaire. In this digital age, old-school Pops is still learning the business of music distribution as she targets wider listenership for her music, especially the younger generation. “Actually, recently ko lang naintindihan (streaming platforms). I’m still trying to understand Spotify,” she said. “I didn’t know that I already had an artist account there until, of course, I did a new single. So I am, like, learning a lot of things,” she shared. “So, yes, one of the reasons why I wanted to record again and I did approach Star Music — they were very, very kind to me — kasi nga sabi ko parang I need something new for me to celebrate my 40th year and I am planning to celebrate it via a concert again (Always Loved). “I said, I need a new song. Nahiya naman ako to celebrate and I don’t have a new song to present and that’s why I recorded again. So, hopefully, it’s another way of reaching out to my audience and my listeners, (especially) now that I discovered Spotify.” 


Pops looked back on the art and craft of music-making in the early days of her career, comparing how it was back then in contrast to creating music in today’s internet age. “Before it was really hard work,” began Pops. “When you say recording, ‘pag mali, you take it from the top. Alam mo yun? Talagang aaralin mo yung kanta. Sometimes, aral mo na but wala namang feelings. You have to do it again.” Such experience was very important for Pops because it honed “our professionalism and artistry.” She learned much from that, she added. “Yung magpupuyat ka sa recording studio kasi nga hindi pa rin nagustuhan ng producer ko yung line na yun. I had to repeat it. So it was tiring. It takes a lot of your time. But wow! I really learned a lot from it.” “I liked that experience. I’m glad that I experienced that because it’s really different now. Kasi papasok ka, kakanta ka ng isang line for the others, ‘Sige, let’s repeat it. Ah, yun na ba yun? Pwede ulitin ko ulit?’ Alam mo yun,” she continued. “Because I’m used to (the style) before. But then again, I’m not putting it down. Thank God for technology, it makes life easier. And somehow, they still come up with beautiful music.” 


Nonetheless, Pops is still thankful because she was able to experience the traditional way of recording, promoting, creating, and performing songs when technology wasn’t that popular or advanced back then. She particularly learned from the directors and producers she collaborated with in the past. Considered as one of the icons in the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) scene, Pops advised the aspiring musicians of today’s generation to pursue their passion for music “as long as you have the courage and artistry.” She noted how easier it is nowadays for the new breed of artists to be heard via the various digital platforms. “They’re very, very lucky,” she commented. “Before kasi kami pahirapan i-play ang kanta. I remember there’s Side A and Side B (cassette tapes). Isa-scratch pa yung side B para side A lang ang i-play. And then they would count the number of plays on the radio.” “They are very lucky now,” she reiterated and commended the new bunch of singer-songwriters that are “doing very, very well.” “They will just upload it (song), nagandahan yung kanilang followers and it will automatically generate million views. So, I think they got it more than kaming… I’m still learning it until now. They are very lucky as long as they believe in themselves. And they are very talented.” She further pointed out that these artists know the “formula” on how to gain more views for their content. “I feel that they are very, very lucky and sila pa ngayon nagta-travel rin. They get to do a lot of shows outside the country. Before bago ma-notice ‘di ba, it’s such a big deal to make it internationally. “Now, it’s easier because there are plenty of ways to be noticed and to get there. As long as, again, you have the courage and the artistry (you can do it).” 




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