Gello Marquez: Young singer, old soul


Being a pop idol, well-loved balladeer, rock star or hip-hop hottie is a status hard to reach for Pinoy music talents. Being highly patronized in the video-sharing networks is no assurance that you’ll be offered a slot to be a regular performer in a weekly musical-variety show, signed up by a recording company that can publicize and promote you, and encourage producers to star you in a concert and well-paying gigs.

Gello Marquez, who joined Idol Philippines of ABS-CBN in 2019 when he was only18 years old, was signed up in July this year by Star Music, a division of ABS-CBN. It took four years for Star Music to give him a break as a recording singer.

Actually, though Marquez did not make it to the grand finals, ABS-CBN took him in as a talent. He was given guesting stints as a singer in various shows in 2019 onward. He was also asked to attend network-sponsored acting workshops because management found him good-looking enough to be an actor.

Marquez was given a major role in the iWant series He’s Into Her, which topbilled Belle Mariano and Donny Pangilinan, in 2019. He was retained for the series’ second season. The young man was also teamed up with Karina Bautista, a network discovery in one edition of the reality show. This was in the short series Love Bites.

Marquez got enough assignments to earn a living even as he had to quit college at Centro Escolar University at some point so he could sustain his singing-acting career. He is Manila boy who is closed to his mother. During his free time and in the days of the pandemic, he posted a lot of videos of himself doing covers of old songs, foreign and OPM.

He did vlogs which he called Gello TV and in one episode, he played a game with his mother, who isn’t shy about facing the camera. In another episode, mother and son played a prank on Joao Constancia, another young actor on ABS-CBN. The young Marquez has a sense of fun.

In 2023, Star Music prepped him up to be their recording artist. He was asked to try out songs sent by composers and he began to record some of them. By July, he was asked to sign a contract. On 6 September, his eponymous album of all Filipino songs was launched at the ABS-CBN Music Lounge right at the ABS-CBN compound in QC.

The self-titled album’s tracks include “Hanap Kong Baby,” “Kumot At Unan,” “Duda-duda,” “Kaibigan,” “Teddy Bear,” “Torpe.” His first single, “Penpen, “ was released last month.

The easy-listening tracks were chosen based on Marquez’s affinity for old songs.

“It’s a modernized version of old songs kasi sobrang love ko ‘yung mga lumang kanta,” he revealed at the album’s media launch where he sang live about half of the album and snippets of old foreign songs he loves.

Marquez’s dream now is to have a solo concert–”kahit mini-concert lang po!”

The showbiz scribes gleefully responded: “Mas bagay sa iyo ang major concert!”

Rainner Acosta

Guts and gumption

There’s another singer who has to be brought back to wider (and wilder?) popularity in the country after he won at the 2023 World Championships of Performing Arts in Anaheim, California, USA, in July-August this year.

It’s a competition that publicizes itself as a “Talent Olympics for performers.” Although several Pinoy singers and talents have won dozens of medals at WCOPA, the only one who has become undeniably famous and well-followed in the country is Jed Madela, who joined in 2005 and emerged grand champion in many categories and divisions.

The singer is Rainner Acosta, who, in December 2017, was a defending champion at the Tawag ng Tanghalan singing contest on ABS-CBN’s noontime fare It’s Showtime. He also joined the first season of The Voice Philippines on ABS-CBN and got into the bunch coached by Lea Salonga.

Unlike Marquez who became a protege of ABS-CBN after joining Idol Philippines, Acosta resumed his career as a professional singer on his own. He had been a well-earning but hardly known band vocalist in the country and abroad even before he joined TNT.

At WCOPA 2023, Acosta harvested six medals for various categories: a gold medal as a grand finalist; gold for Senior Vocal Pop Group; silver as a semi-finalist for Solo Vocal; silver for Senior Vocals Contemporary; another silver for Senior Vocals Variety; and bronze for Senior Vocals Country & Western.

Acosta is a singer, songwriter, arranger and dancer rolled into one. He began singing professionally as a band vocalist in 2004, after a long stint as a member of the Caloocan City Youth Chorale.

Marquez has the guts and the gumption to form bands himself, and one group he put up was a trio he called Paragon Child, which placed first runner-up at Gangstarz Malaysia in 2008.

Because of his splendid performances, many fans and singing aficionados have dubbed him the “Bruno Mars of the Philippines.” But he has no contract with a well-established recording company and an influential manager to craft him a highly visible career. He has yet to do an album. But he is really a superb singer, judging from social media postings of his performances.

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