One of the country's highly-esteemed music icons, Ryan Cayabyab, celebrates his 60th birthday with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic orchestra with a night of celebration called The Music of Ryan Cayabyab on May 3, Saturday, at the CCP's Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. The maestro admitted he feels blessed to have gotten to this point in his life. “I'm very thankful that I got to 60. Why? Because my mom died at 43 and my dad died at 72 and when we were trying to average that 57 so nalagpasan ko na yung average age ng parents ko! (laughs). Masaya na ako na 60. My mom died of cancer and she was an opera singer and you know the reason why it's significant to me is during her time supposedly ang hirap hirap ng buhay ng isang musician,” he shared during his presscon held last April 22 inside ABS-CBN.
Apart from having composed some of the country's most unforgettable music and film scores, Ryan admitted he is still has more dreams to achieve. “Hindi ko alam kung ano pa ang puwede, siguro I want to do maybe another orchestral work or another opera or another musical but I did already opera so hindi na talaga siya dream. I have about nine to ten musicals already so hindi na talaga siya dream na dream. But for me to do a new one, I'd be happy to do one more. I have not been writing a lot because I've been doing a lot of music advocacies. We're trying to teach young musicians tools. I have Elements songwriting camp—a yearly camp in Dumaguete. I have another foundation, Phil-Pop Musicfest, a competition where the advocacy there is we go around the country and teach. I also go around the country and teach contemporary acapella and writing, arranging,” he said.
Unlike past decades, Ryan admitted that he does not see the proliferation of singing contests as an easy way for performers to make it to the top. “It's entertainment. It's okay, the contests are good fodder for entertainment. You have a new crop of singers every time and you are able to inspire the young people to live the dream and become performers. Winning is one thing, but sustaining your career as a performer is another thing. Many singers who started out from the gutters, meaning nagpuyat at nagkasakit, singing three sets a night, they know ang halaga nung pag-abot nila sa rurok ng pangarap nila. They know the value of that,” he said.
Acknowledging Daniel Padilla and Anne Curtis are some of the most popular acts in the country today, Ryan said he does not look at these celebs’ sold out performances as a sign of decline of the standard for the music industry. “If you ask me, si Daniel Padilla iba yung niche niya, iba yung entertainment value na binibigay niya. Hindi natin alam in the future kung saan pupunta yan, ang masasabi ko lang, which is true everywhere in the world, pagka may bago ulit na mas magugustuhan nila at masasbai natin na malalaos ang isang tao, pag nalaos malalaos siya pero gagawan din niya ng paraan yun. What I'm saying is we do not judge a person right now for example somebody like Daniel Padilla. Alam ng tao yun, alam naman nila kung ano yung binibili nila. Alam din nila kung ano yung gusto nila. So kung binibili nila yun and alam nila na nag-o-auto tune siya, alam nila na hindi siya kumakanta ng magaling, binibili nila yun for other aspects. The same as Anne Curtis, she's not pretending to be a singer. Ganun din. Of course now she's raking it in sa mga concerts. But again very exceptional lang yan. Maybe the people like her for her being candid and like for her being so out of tune, natutuwa sila and kahit na nag-aaral na siya ngayon na kumanta ng mas mabuti, if she does not hit her note tatawa ang mga tao and they were entertained di ba? Minsan yun lang naman ang habol ng mga tao na entertained sila. That's why it's wrong to compare them to serious artists. Because serious artists are really concentrated on their craft,” he explained.
Ryan said that performers like DJ and Anne have the potential to be better singers if they just focus on the craft above all else. “They have to train, they have to put aside hours and hours and hours of training in the day just to get it right. And I think they will get it right kasi unang-una may tenga sila [for music] eh. Siguro ngayon kaya sinasabi nila na ganun kasi hindi naman talaga siya nag-train, pinapakanta lang siya. Producer ako, kilala siya, baka bumenta yung CD. Pero now si Daniel is doing originals. Basta we know what we're talking about, entertainment. Nag-entertain siya, hindi natin siya babatikusin dahil he's trying to sing kasi hindi naman yun yung point behind there eh,” he admitted.
Watch The Music of Ryan Cayabyab tribute concert with performances by Piolo Pascual, Martin Nievera, Ogie Alcasid, Basil Valdez, Mitch Valdes, Celeste Legaspi, Hajji Alejandro, The Ateneo Chamber Singers, and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra with Gerard Salonga as conductor on May 3, Saturday with performances at 3 pm and 8 pm at the CCP's Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Tickets are available through ticketworld.com.ph and 891-999 or through Karlo Cea at 0915-624-6808. Bonafide students are entitled to a 20% discount for the matinee show.