By Sara De Los Reyes
There’s no business like show business.
There really isn’t, especially in this country. Any Filipino from whichever social class, living locally or living abroad, primetime viewer or otherwise can tell you straight off the bat that the entertainment industry is larger than life in the Philippines. This isn’t surprising because homegrown talents are often, if not always, triple threats. They sing, they dance, they act. They are beautiful, naturally poised, perfectly packaged, and always on cue. They are versatile and innately creative, and their fame is the obvious benefit of practicing the art form of their choice. It’s living the dream, doing what you love, and getting paid for it.
Or is it?
Is this really the true backstory of the talents of Philippine showbusiness?
It all starts with a fan.
All you need is one fan; one fan that wonders if his artistic heroes really are the people they project themselves to be. Are teleseryes really what she wants to be known for? Are ballads really his signature style, or is there a rockstar begging to be let out? Is she always this full of pep or does she actually brood and sulk and dream of winning more sullen roles, rather than always playing the bubbly romantic lead? All you need is one fan with a curiosity so strong and insatiable that he decides to rally up the troops (i.e.: fellow performance art lovers and wonderers of the real lives performers live) to investiage.
Fans will be glad to hear that the investigation did take place, and only very good things ensued.
This is what we found out.
From the birth of the very first fandom, fans have enjoyed seeing their heroes be two very different things: great performers, and equally awesome yet totally mundane humans like you and me who just want to be left alone to do what they want to do and be who they want to be. Fans are just as hungry to see if their favorite actress likes the same chip flavor they do, if this singer is a cat or dog person, if this talent builds Lego models as a hobby. In short, fans have always wanted to see their favorite acts unfiltered, being real, stripped of all the glitz and glamor.
That’s not a shocker. The investigation’s real deal is that artists themselves are also in search of a venue where they can be themselves. They too want the opportunity to be recognized as the people behind the names, and definitely not just as headliners in a cleverly designed promotional poster.
The end result of this investigation?
There has never been an organized venue to feed and satiate this curiosity, so Stages Sessions is exactly that: a venue that caters to both sides of the stage. Both fan and artist have long craved for a place where they can see eye to eye and enjoy each other’s presence as much as the other. Artists crave to reconnect with their art after days and weeks and endless nights of crowd pleasing and well-timed encores and sing alongs. They too want to just sit down and hang out, sing the songs they want, have good conversations over their pieces with no pressure whatsoever.
Unscripted, authentic, and sincere.
Stages Sessions held its first Season from September to December 2015, and as of now, is focusing on musical acts. In every session, the stage belongs to the artist and their time up there is unscripted, authentic, and sincere. It gives artists the freedom to design their own performances with no interference from an entire army of a production team. They choose their own set lists, can stop mid-verse to speak to their audience, and ask you “kung may hugot nga ba yung mga lyrics nila,” as casually as your singer friends might have asked in one of their many garage jamming sessions before a record label signed them. Stages Sessions is the place to be for all fans who wish to see their music heroes get real right before their eyes. Backstages passes here have become a thing of the past, as Stages Sessions is the concert and the backstage experience put together. The cherry on the cake is that all of this, from concert to post-show conversation, happens all for free. No explanation is needed for why fans will love a show like this one.
You know you’re onto something good when a featured artist, a headliner in both the sessions and in larger tours, speaks to you about this project and says, “Kailangan yan.” Two words, but two very powerful ones that give you all the validation you need.
That’s a wrap!
We may be wrapping up our first season with this year’s last show on December 13, but we’re way more than ready to to rub our hands together in excitement for what lies ahead in 2016.
Season 1 was all about helping artists down from the pedestals and allowing music gods and goddesses to walk among mortals (oftentimes literally, as featured acts really did step down from the stage to sit with fans at their tables after their set). Stages Sessions successfully showed that performances can be even more awesome if they were all about the heart and soul of the music without the flashy production design. The strength of the connection between artist and art, between fan and artist, and fans appreciating the creative process behind their favorite music is the trinity of the Stages Sessions experience.
Season 2 will definitely still be anchored on the same principles, but fans can expect Stages Sessions to expand from musical perfomaces to allowing artists to show what else they like doing outside of their musical personas. If fans have learned anything from Stages Sessions, it’s that musicians are still people, people with varying interests and pursuits just like them.
Every artist’s session will be more unique, as their material will be all about them. Musical performances will be complemented by content showing what the creative geniuses behind such great tunes are like off stage.
Help us spread this newfound appreciation for the artist behind the art by bringing your friends, your mom, your officemates, your soulmate, heck, your soulmate’s mom. We assure you that there will be something for everyone.