After Tawag ng Tanghalan finalist Shantal Cuizon issued an apology after posting a controversial (now deleted) tweet towards judge Louie Ocampo earlier this week, Lea Salonga admitted the incident did not sit well with her. “I was mortified when I heard about it, and it made me feel really bad for Louie. I didn’t watch it yet (the apology) so I have no opinion on how it came across kasi somebody might say, ‘Anong klaseng apology yan?’ but somebody else might say, ‘No, that’s acceptable. That’s okay.’ So it’s hard. I haven’t seen it. Oh my gosh, first of all to say blank ka lang, what if somebody to my face siad, ‘Ay, singer ka lang.’ Excuse me! Like don’t you know who I think I am? (laughs) No, just joking. Number one, don’t ever say blank ka lang for any profession because minamaliit mo yung profession ng iba. When every profession is one of dignity and huwag mong i-la-lang ang kahit sino na parang minamaliit mo yung kung sino man yung naging propesyon nila. And then you say that about Louie Ocampo,” she said.
The Voice Philippines judge, who just finished performing to sold-out performances last weekend at her Perfect Ten concert performed once again at the launch of the official theme song for the 2019 SEA Games “We Win as One” last September 3 in Resorts World Manila. Lea hopes younger performers will be more respectful of veterans in the industry. “I’m very pleased and I think all of us are just happy with the way the show went. What a fun, fun weekend it turned out to be. But I think this is a lesson hopefully for that singer to know who these people are who are judging you. They’re sitting in those judging chairs because they have achieved something in their chosen lines of work. Please don’t be ignorant of who the composers are. Even if you don’t know their work, know their standing in this industry.
The Broadway actress also shared just how close she is to the veteran composer. “When did I first meet Louie Ocampo, maybe I was in my early teens when we first started working together. It was for an event and he was also performing on this keyboard na parang gitara. So we’ve been working together, collaborating for so many years. And the same goes for people like Mr. C (Ryan Cayabyab) and so many other writers and composers in this country. So when one of my friends and one of my colleagues, somebody who I’ve known for over 20, 25 years is ni-la-lang lang lang sila, that personally hurts me. Because have you no idea who these people are?” she said.
Lea said that through The Voice, they hope to teach more singers to recognize those who have come before them. “Something that we teach also on The Voice to the younger artists that we get to work with is you have to understand who this person is and what they have done and for how many years they’ve been working. And the artists that they’ve written slashed arranged for. Yung mga resume nila mga nobela na. So it’s a performer’s responsibility to be aware of who the oldies are as well as to try and catch up with who the new ones are as well who have undoubtedly been influenced by people like Louie,” she added.