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Hailed as Asia’s Romantic Balladeer, 27-year-old Christian Bautista has succeeded in carving a niche for himself not only in the Philippine music scene but also in the hearts of his adoring fans. A studio and stage veteran early in his career, the singer-actor has decided to take the torch from another musical legend by releasing “Romance Revisited: The Love Songs of Jose Mari Chan,” a cover album of the latter’s work. The first single off the record, “Tell Me Your Name,” has already hit No. 1 on local air waves, as its highly anticipated music video featuring Thai beauty Paula Taylor made its television debut on MYX.

“When we discovered [Christian] 5 years ago, he was this tall, lanky guy with nothing but his dreams,” shares Audie Gemora, the country’s “King of Musical Theater” and mentor to Bautista. Describing his protégé at present as debonair and sophisticated, Gemora’s faith in Bautista’s talent as a moving performer is evident. “I think Christian is the perfect guy to sing these songs, because he has a ‘swoon factor,’” says Gemora.

Indeed, Bautista’s clean-cut good looks and heart-melting voice have kept him a constant favorite with female fans, not only in the Philippines but in Indonesia and Malaysia as well. The new album (his first under Universal Records) is sure to please romantic fans, as the track list reveals an impressive mix of timeless ballads—many of which have kept Jose Mari Chan’s name on the charts for decades.

“Fate just connected us together,” says Bautista of the project under Universal Records. “I could not let this pass; this is a once in a lifetime experience. I always dreamed of singing Jose Mari Chan’s songs.” The crooner is unmistakeably a huge fan of his predecessor’s work, citing “Beautiful Girl,” “Tell Me Your Name,” and “I Remember the Girl” as a few of his all-time favorites. Not surprisingly, all three songs appear on his new album. “It was a dream that I could record this—and it came true!” he declares.

To appeal to a wider audience, the album includes all of Chan’s original melodies—with a youthful twist. “I relied on my own instincts... [The record label and I] wanted to stick to his melodies and yet still add our own style,” explains Bautista. Fans should expect the same tender tunes rendered in modern arrangements, including duets with local divas Regine Velasquez, Sarah Geronimo, and Lani Misalucha, who sent over her voice recording all the way from Las Vegas.

At present, the now-single Bautista is completely focused on promoting his new album and making it as successful—if not more—than his four previous ones. He is confident in the record and anticipates many potential hit singles from it. What, then, can we expect in the future, after “Romance Revisited” has run its course? Bautista plays it coy. “We’re still cooking up some ideas. I’ll get back to you in a year.”

“Romance Revisited: The Love Songs of Jose Mari Chan” is available exclusively at all Odyssey outlets. The album package comes with a 2010 Christian Bautista Photo Calendar, Limited Edition “Romance Revisited: The Love Songs of Jose Mari Chan” CD, and free minus one CD. To hear these songs live, catch Christian Bautista at SM Fairview on October 11 and SM Baguio on November 20.

 

(Photo courtesy of Keisha Go)

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