"One of the nicest men that I've met."
These were the words of Broadway star Lea Salonga when she described Michael Buble, her fellow judge on Kumu's virtual singing contest Sing For The Stars.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Lea shared that she met Michael during the press conference of the singing competition.
"I mean we met virtually at the press conference for this and he was so lovely, so funny and I even told him, man, you make Canada really good. So many talented people coming out from that country and he is definitely one of the foremost artists that came out of there," Lea said in the interview.
Lea also highlighted the kindness that Michael possesses.
"He's just kind. He comes across as a really kind, fun artist... And one of the prizes of the competition is a session of mentoring with him so that's gonna be one majorly lucky human being that gets to have that opportunity. So I'm excited for them. He's a lovely guy," she said.
The Broadway star also shared her experience judging a virtual singing competition for the first time.
Asked if she had challenges judging via online, she relayed, "The only challenge for me is that the screens are so small that we really don't get the full picture of the artist performing. We don't get a head to toe view so we don't know it they are expressing with their hands or the rest of their body."
On the other hand, she thinks it is cool that what she sees as a judge is also what the audiences sees when they watch the competition online.
"Here's another cool thing, the judges... we see exactly the same thing as everyone else [who are] watching the livestream. So I'm commenting on something that someone say in Tuguegarao, or in General Santos, or in Iloilo, or in Pasay City, that's what they are seeing. Basically it's a common shared experience and I'm commenting on what we are all seeing," she said.
On her advice for female artists who want to follow in her footsteps, Lea said, "It's not just about the artist. It's not just about the person that gets on the stage. It also means surrounding oneself with people you can trust to support and empower, you know, and to dream alongside you which was what my mom did especially in the early stages of my career where with so much determination and the refusal to accept ‘no’ for an answer, she really moved things forward with such power, and persistence, and perseverance, name it, she did it," she stated.
It was in early March when it was announced that Lea, alongside Michael, were chosen as judges of Sing For The Stars.
Kumu CEO and founder Roland Ros stated that the virtual singing contest aims to discover new talents in a new way.
"Kumu is the home of musicians. Through this competition, we're discovering and highlighting new voices on a world stage in a unique and brand new way," he said in a statement as reported by ABS-CBN News.
He added, "We’re really hoping to find talented, breakthrough artists who embody our core values of positivity and authenticity."