Musical Talent of Filipinos – Making the World their Stage

Musical Talent of Filipinos – Making the World their Stage
Bernadine Racoma

It has long been known that Filipinos love to sing and that music is a part of life of almost every Filipino. Music is in their blood and Filipinos have an innate sense of rhythm. And they are well-versed in different music genres, wowing audiences wherever they perform. The musical talent of Filipinos is comparable to some of the best singers in the world.

Several musical talents in the United States are of Filipino descent, which could surprise many since their names and their looks belie their ancestry.

American musical talents of Filipino ancestry

Enrique Iglesias

He is a very popular Spanish singer. He is the youngest son of an equally famous balladeer father, Julio Iglesias and Isabel Preysler, a magazine journalist and socialite from the Philippines. He started in theatre when he was still in preparatory school. Enrique does not speak Filipino but he is fluent in English and Spanish. He loved singing but did not want to be in the shadow of his famous father and used Enrique Martinez as his first stage name. He was taking a business course at the University of Miami before finally deciding to drop out of college to actively pursue a musical career.

Bruno Mars

His real name is Peter Gene Hernandez, was raised in Hawaii by his half-Puerto Rican father, Peter Hernandez and Filipina mother, Bernadette San Pedro Bayot. The record producer, singer and songwriter had written, co-wrote, produced and sang several music hits. Top of mind are “Billionaire,” “Grenade” and “Just the Way You Are.” He’s had seven Grammy nominations, winning the Best Male Vocal Performance Award in 2011 for “Just the Way You Are.” In 2012 Bruno Mars won the award for Best International Male Solo Artist at the Brit Awards.

Allan Pineda Lindo

He is known popularly as is a member of American band Black Eyed Peas. Pineda was born in Angeles City in the Philippines to a Filipina mother and an African American father. He was raised by his mother, Cristina Pineda. The Pearl S. Buck Foundation found him a sponsor, Joe Ben Hudgens, who adopted Pineda when he was 14. He later moved to the U.S. to live with Hudgens.

Nicole Scherzinger

She was born in Hawaii and raised in Kentucky. The front-woman of the Pussycat Dolls and its lead singer is of mixed ancestry. Her father, Alfonso Valiente is of Filipino descent while her mother, Rosemary Elikolani is of Russian and Hawaiian heritage. She took the last name of her German American stepfather who adopted her when she was only six years old.

Neal McCoy

He is a country singer , whose full name is Hubert Neal McGaughey, Jr. He was born in Jacksonville, Texas. His mother is of Filipino American descent while his father is Irish American. He first made it to the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1988, but his first single to hit the Top 40 was “Where Forever Begins” in 1992. In 1993 he had Number 1 singles back-to-back, “Wink” and “No Doubt About It.” He’s had commercial success since late in the 1990s, with his 2005 single, “Billy’s Got His Beer Googles On” reaching the Top 10 in the Billboard country music charts.

Dustin Perfetto

He is a hip-hop artist, better known as Nump Trump. He has a Filipina mother. He has released quite a number of solo albums since 2006 and singles, including “I Gott Grapes.” He had worked with several artists including (Black Eye Peas), DJ Shadow, MIA, DJ Qbert and E-40 among so many others. He is also a recording engineer and has worked with top acts like Iggy Pop, Smash Mouth, Green Day and Blackalicious.

Dan Layus

He is the lead singer and guitarist of Augustana, a San Diego, California band. The half-Filipino is the main songwriter of the group. They are the group behind the hits, “Sweet and Low” and “Boston.”

Joe Bataan

He is from the Spanish Harlem in New York, where he was born in 1942. He is of Filipino-African American descent. His real name is Bataan Nitollano. Bataan used to be a famous Latin soul singer, singing with his band, Joe Bataan and the Latin Swingers. His music was influenced by African American doo-wop and Latin boogaloo. He has released quite a number of singles and a few albums, with hits like “Gypsy Woman,” and “Riot.” His latest album “Call My Name” was released in 2005. One of his songs, “Subway Joe” is included in the soundtrack of the video game “Driver Parallel Lines.” He is the father of Asia Nitollano, a former singer with the Pussycat Dolls who has later embarked on a solo career.

Kate Earl

She is from Anchorage in Alaska. Her mother is Filipina and her father is of Dutch and Welsh descent. She’s released three albums so far. “Fate is the Hunter,” her debut album was released in 2005. It was followed by a self-titled album, “Kate Earl” in 2009 and “Stronger” in 2012.

Richard Baluyut

He is from Detroit. He is the guitarist and lead singer of the bands “Flower,” “Versus” and “Whysall Lane.” He composed the soundtrack for the 17-minute film, Midas’ Son in 2009. Richard co-owns Remora Records and produces singles for indie bands.

Jessica Sanchez

She is of Mexican and Filipino blood. The young lady from California had been an aspiring singer since she was young, and started to sing when she was two years old. Prior to being a contestant in American Idol, she was a competitor in the reality TV show, “America’s Got Talent” in its first season. She was eleven years old at that time. A year earlier, she was runner-up to Jonathan Liberato on the TV Show, “Showtime at the Apollo.” She’s been invited by the San Diego Chargers to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” twice, in 2008 and 2009.

Sanchez auditioned for the 11th season of “American Idol” in 2011. For her first appearance on screen she sang an updated version of “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” by Buddy Holly. Her voice is very much suited for ballads, and her renditions of songs by Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, Jazmine Sullivan and Alicia Keys earned her rave reviews from the judges and the media. However, she received the lowest vote on April 11 and the three judges were unanimous in using the “Judges’ Save” option to spare her from being ousted. She may have a very great voice, but later on in the competition, the judges reminded her that she needed to have an emotional connection with the song. At the finals, she emerged runner up to Phillip Phillips. Jessica Sanchez has signed up a recording contract with Interscope Records.

Fil-Ams in American Idol

In the TV show “American Idol” alone, the musical talent of Filipinos was shown with half-Filipinos who have tried their luck in the prestigious singing competition, starting from Season 1 (Brad Estrin) of the franchise. Only in Seasons 8 and 9 have there been no contestants of Filipino origin. Some of the well-known contestants were Jasmine Trias (Season 3), Ramiele Malubay (Season 7) and Thia Megia (Season 10).


Comment Below
  • Seni Gaid

    The first Filipino who first set his.
    foot to the foreign land many years ago,
    had a big dream and a vision, that by.
    helping family back home will help the.
    nation’s economy.

    Today, there are Millions of Filipinos abroad who have.
    followed his footsteps. If only he is alive today, he will be.
    extremely proud of Filipinos abroad (whom he can refer to as.
    his grandchildren and great grandchildren) who are gaining huge success and.
    recognition on the world-class stage.

    May these talented individuals served as inspiration to the.
    young generation of Filipinos in the Philippines and here abroad.

    And the list continues…

    You can look at this site:

    Please keep adding to the list if you know someone of.
    Filipino descent who made great contribution to the country.
    you now resides.

    Note that many young Filipinos are good in Spelling.
    Bee contest, and Vincent Medina did very well, and was once invited.
    to the White House. He should be added to the list.

    Filipinos are very proud of you all

  • Hiroshi Buno Fukuda



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