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Shirley Pizarro
Vicor celebrates 40 years of commitment to the Filipino artist


Did you know that to play non-stop, all Vicor Music Original Pilipino Music (OPM) hit albums would take more than two years?

That�s because for four decades now, the record label has been home to important Filipino recording artists and their 3,000-strong catalogue of OPM modern classics. Among these are works by Basil Valdez, Sharon Cuneta, Rey Valera, Gary Valenciano and Regine Velasquez all the way to April Boy Regino, Aiza Seguerra, and Nyoy Volante.

Steven L. Tan, the young President of Vicor Music, attributes this success to the label�s investments on quality output. Only 32 years old, Steven nevertheless has the credibility to say so having been with Vicor for a decade now during which he worked his way from rank and file level to top brass.

"Vicor has never been afraid to give breaks to deserving new artists that have genuinely good music to share, " he rationalizes. "The label has always believed that legendaries are but byproducts of real talents and right timing. Music and musicality are the all important merits that outweigh everything else."

An example, Steven cited was April Boy Regino. Launched by Vicor in the early 90�s, Steven recalled that nobody wanted to take the artist in because they thought his music was too jukebox for the scene.

"Other labels laughed at us when they heard that we signed April up. We got the last laugh, though, when we ended up selling more than five hundred thousand copies of his albums! I guess you can say it was a matter of getting a pulse on what the market wants � even before they realize that they want it!" Steven says.

Another artist that Vicor successfully launched into superstardom is Aiza Seguerra. Like April, other record labels have turned down Aiza before she came knocking on Vicor�s door. But the latter saw differently, heard differently.

"We knew upon listening to �Pagdating Ng Panahon� that it would become a mammoth hit. True enough, not only did that song buoy Aiza�s debut album to ship Platinum several times over, but it became the precursor of the present acoustic trend," tells Steven.

Then again, even if Vicor doesn�t produce another superstar, the industry is already forever indebted to them for their back catalogues alone. On the occasion of their 40th year anniversary in 2005, thus, Vicor will be concentrating on re-issuing the biggest albums of legendary artists they�ve produced in CD compilation formats. A taste of this is the recent release of Tito, Vic & Joey�s "Tough Hits" series, as well as early works by Zsa Zsa Padilla and Sharon Cuneta.

"The good thing about these CDs is that we don�t have to exert effort at all to get the interest of the market," Steven reveals. "On the contrary, many people from all over the world have e-mailed to thank us for putting out these albums on digital format. They recognize that the intention behind this is posterity you can�t always rely on the then cassette and vinyl format. Indeed, these are works that will always be used as reference by the industry it has impacted immeasurably."

Recently, too, Vicor has branched out into distributions of films on VCD and DVD formats via Vicor Flicks.

When asked if Vicor Music has plans to tie up with international labels as others have, Steven discloses which heart is on the label�s sleeves.

"Our commitment has and will always be to Filipino artists," he says. "There are more than enough deserving and world-class talents here that need our full support. Besides, our allegiance is to the Filipino music-loving masses. We know that it�s good Filipino music they want and that�s what we plan to give them � as always," he ends.

* * *

Our friends at BMG Records (Pilipinas), Inc. has just released a special edition of Luke Mejares� recent release "Stop, Luke & Listen" in audio-VCD format (please forgive us, but we really truly wish they could have thought of a better title for this album).

Anyway, the new package includes two new songs, a remake of the RiverMaya hit, "214," and El Debarge�s "Who�s Holding Donna Now," plus music videos of his first two releases "Paano Na" and "Livin� Without You."

"Stop, Luke & Listen," (sigh!) initially released May this year, contains compositions by Mike Luis, Ogie Alcasid, Keith Martin and Jimmy Bondoc. It also includes two other remakes � "Spell," originally by Deon Estus, and "Rock Steady" popularized by The Whispers.

The album happens to be Luke�s first major solo outing since his decision to leave South Border three years ago. Many thought he�d never make it, but he managed to prove them wrong.

"After leaving the band, I asked myself many times: �Tama ba ang ginawa ko? Kelan kaya ako makakapasok sa industriya uli?� I knew there�d be difficult times once I�m on my own, but I had to do it," he said.

Luke has no regrets. Aside from the solo CD, Luke also had a good solo show at Onstage Greenbelt in Makati last June.

"It�s a lot scarier to go solo when one is used to being with a band. The pressure�s all on me," Luke noted. "But it�s also more challenging."

If the initial release of this album managed to elude you, perhaps this is the chance for you to grab an even better copy with this repackaged release.

* * *

SNIPPETS: The UST Education High School Batch 1975 will celebrate its 30th (Pearl) aniversary via an alumni homecoming "Bisita Eskwela" at the UST Education High School grounds on Jan. 26, 2005. The culminating event will be the grand alumni party with the theme "One Wacky Night" on Jan. 28, 2005 at the Makati Shangri-La�s Rizal Ballroom. Those interested should call Junjie Rayos at 0917-826-3820 or Frenie Adona-Bautista at 0918-7368955....

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