(The Philippine Star) | Updated November 6, 2015 - 12:00am
Lola na ako!
Told that she doesn’t look (yet!) like a grandmother, Lani Misalucha said that she wants to have more apo, the first courtesy of the younger of her two daughters.
“Masarap maging lola,” added Lani during a one-on-one with Funfare after her presscon the other day at The Theater Cafe of Solaire where she’s performing on Dec. 4 and 5 in the concert Voice of the Nightingale with Arnel Pineda. “I look forward to retiring and taking care of more grandchildren.”
What, retiring? With more and more offers coming her way both here and abroad, how can Lani ever think of retiring?
“That was what I planned when my family migrated to the US 11 years ago,” revealed Lani. “We wanted to start a new life in Las Vegas.”
In Las Vegas, the entertainment center of the world?
No way! With the hypnotic neon lights heralding the shows of various artists from around the world, can Lani retreat to domesticity without being tempted?
“’Yon na nga, eh,” admitted Lani. “But my husband told me, ‘God has given you this talent, why not use it for as long as you can?’ That made me think. Sunud-sunod ang offers at naisip ko rin na mayroon pang demand for me. Sumusunod pa rin sa akin ang pagkanta. So here I am.”
After her recent show in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, the first featured artist at the sprawling venue, Lani will fly back to Las Vegas to reunite with her family before she goes to New York City for her concert debut at The Town Hall on Nov. 22 (incidentally, the 52nd death anniversary of JFK), with promising young tenor Jared Martin. Part of the proceeds from the concert will benefit ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata Foundation which supports child abuse victims in the Philippines and the Filipino-American Community Development Center of Ocean City, Inc. (FCDC), a non-profit group that helps preserve Philippine culture and heritage. Then again, back to the Philippines for her shows at Solaire, and off to Las Vegas where the family is spending Christmas.
Doesn’t frequent long-haul traveling adversely affect her vocal cords?
“Ay, nakaka-apekto kaya ‘yon! Those travels take a toll on your body. But you can’t really do anything about it, especially if you are in my kind of work. Pagbalik sa US, that’s when I get jet-lagged but not the other way around.”
And how does she deal with it?
“You just have to take a good rest, especially now na wala na ako sa 20, wala na ako sa 30. Remember, lola na ako, hehehe! If you are younger, okey lang kahit anong sad-sad mo, kakayanin mo. But now, somehow mararamdaman mo na. So I have to take multi-vitamins. Three days after I arrive in the States, once naka-pagpahinga na ako, I exercise my vocal cords — the usual, vocalization. I practice the vocalization technique that I learned from Andrea Veneracion of UP.”
Has she adjusted well to the American lifestyle through the 11 years?
“Oo naman! Simple lang ang buhay ko doon, hindi masyadong komplikado. Here, kilala ako. There, it’s only the Filipinos who know me. ‘Yung mga puti, they don’t know me. So, hayun, simpleng-buhay lang.”
Does she have time to be mother and wife between shows?
“Oh yes, especially now that I am a lola. Just like everybody else, we do everything…household chores, lahat-lahat na kailangan mong gampanan.”
Lani has so familiarized herself with “the American way” that she can get around easily.
“The best lesson that I’ve learned so far? Unang-una, ang yes, yes; ang no, no. No gray area. I like it that way. Pangalawa, straight-forward ang mga Amerikano and even Filipinos who have been raised there, mga Fil-Ams. They tell you straight to your face kung ano ang gusto nila at kung ano ang hindi. Ayaw nila ng magulo.”
Competition in Las Vegas is very stiff, to the point of being cutthroat. How does Lani reinvent herself, update her repertoire (that includes her pahiga-higa gimmick while singing, earning her title “title” Reclining Diva, a big hit even among foreigners)?”
“You’re right, competition in Vegas is matindi. There are so many big shows going on, all of them with multi-million budget, so you have to make extra effort to be noticed,” said Lani who has been called Siren of the Strip; she won Best Singer (Staff Pick) Award in Las Vegas Review Journal’s 27th Annual Best of Las Vegas poll. “Like me. I have four back-up dancers na talagang mahuhusay. One of them dances and paints; one is a TV anchor woman who writes a column for a newspaper; one is a chiropractor.”
Not surprisingly (thanks to her unique style), Lani attracts not only kababayan to her show but foreigners as well.
“I did a show on Oct. 10 at a resort where Martin (Nievera) also had a show and 60 percent of the audience mga puti. Most of the Filipinos who watched the show were those who have already watched my previous shows. Some of them had to drive pa from neighboring places.”
Any pointers for Filipino artists who want to follow in her footsteps?
“Kailangan hindi ka lang kumakanta. Dapat mayroon kang ibang mai-o-offer. You should keep on thinking of more gimmicks to attract more audiences.”
Tickets are available at all Ticketworld outlets (www.ticketworld.com.ph / 891-9999) and all SM Tickets outlets (www.smtickets.com / 470-2222). For more information, visit www.starmediaentertainment.com
Voice of the Nightingale is a production of Starmedia Entertainment and for the benefit of PMA Makatao Class of 1989 and St. Paul College Manila Class of 77 — for Bahay ni Maria Home for the Abandoned Grandmothers in Calamba and Little Sisters of the Poor — San Lorenzo Ruiz Home for the Elderly. The Philippine STAR is among the sponsor.