John Rendez channels his soul and artistry in his newest single entitled “Baby I’m Coming Home (on Christmas)” which is now available for streaming in various music platforms.
He had such a soulful aura when we sat down with him for a solo interview last Friday.
Sharing with us what his new song is all about, he noted that it’s a timely song. “It’s more of a pop/country/ballad feel. Written and composed by Jonathan Manalo under ABS-CBN’s Star Music. I’m very proud of the song. It’s a very great song. People have to listen to it to get their own idea of the song.”
“It’s about a person who’s been away from his family because ‘pandemic.’ Or it could be any reason,” he added. “It’s like ‘I’ve missed you so much. It’s been a long time since I’ve been with you. I’m ready to pack my bags. I’ve got my gifts to bring to you. I’m gonna see you this Christmas…’ Actually, it’s somewhat a love song. It’s like someone singing to someone who’s very dear to him that he hasn’t seen for a while. I think, anyone who listens to it — may relevance din — they can feel the song.”
When it comes to his preparation for “Baby I’m Coming Home (on Christmas),” he highlighted that that he’s been preparing all his life.
“This is what I do. This is my bread and butter; I’m a singer. When Jonathan Manalo approached with a project. ‘Let’s do a song for Christmas.’ I said, ‘Send me the demo.’ We got to the studio and we knocked it out in less than two hours for the final cut. With Jonathan Manalo being Jonathan Manalo, if he says ‘it’s good,’ then you know it must be good.”
Being with Star Music
This is already his fourth single under Star Music.
John Rendez started with them back in 2019 with the “Start All Over Again,” composed/arranged by Jonathan Manalo. It was followed by “Think About It,” which he himself composed and was also arranged by Jonathan Manalo. His third single was entitled “Not Superman,” composed and arranged by Jonathan Manalo with John Rendez’s rap lyrics.
With this impressive body of works, he takes pride in the appreciation of people around him — the praises he gets for his song and the positive feedback for his singing.
“When people hear my song and they say they really like my songs, it makes me feel good,” he explained. “I don’t always listen to my own songs. I’m not that narcissistic. I’m proud of the things I’ve done with Star Music, with ABS-CBN. I like the feedback. It makes me feel like, at least, may nagawa akong quality na contribution to the OPM scene…”
“The output of support that I’ve received from my songs in my career is overwhelmingly enthusiastic and it makes me more excited to continue down this path: creating original songs — good songs — from the heart.”
Behind the songs
But who is John Rendez behind his songs, we asked him.
“Actually, I’m a very introverted person. I’m a very private person pero I’m also opinionated. I have my ups and I have my downs. I’m like you! I’m like everyone except… I don’t try too hard to please anyone. I tried that; it didn’t work. I just try to please myself by getting closer with my God and counting on my hands the people who really matter to me, and not try to go overboard with being liked.
“I like all kinds of music. It’s like food. There’s beef, there’s pork, there’s chicken. Some dishes are really good, some dishes are not good.”
If his latest single were a dish, what would it be?
“A Christmas dinner. Tastes like mashed potato, something that fills you up in celebrations. Pasta, ham, lumpia… That’s the spirit of Christmas,” he remarked happily.
On being Nora Aunor’s “only child”
With his name being frequently associated with Nora Aunor, and with her being his handler, there’s no denying that he is more than a fan of the Superstar. In the midst of the local artists paving their own ways in showbiz, there is only one name that stands out — and for him, that is “Ate Guy.”
“I like a lot of what I’m hearing from the local artists. Big artists are also people only. I try not to be a fan of anyone. That way, there’s respect…The only person I can be a fan of is probably Ms. Nora Aunor. Everyone else, I just see them as really good artists.”
He further shared his experience with Ms. Aunor and fondly quipped that he is her “only child.”
“I’ve known her for over 30 years already. We’re family. That’s my boss. Meron nga akong biro: ‘Ako lang ang nag-iisang anak ni Nora Aunor! Wala akong kapatid!” But that’s a joke kasi marami kaming nagmamahal kay Ate Guy. Kaming mga anak niya, ang turing namin sa kanya, we love her like a mother, a mentor, and a patron — someone who supports us in our career because she believes in our talent.”
Does she have any specific lesson that he keeps on living by?
“Yes! Humility is the key,” he firmly answered. “Always be humble. Always be respectful. Always be thankful. And never look down on anyone because you’ll never know what that person is going through. Sometimes, you also have to make distance to some people because not everyone has their best intentions.”
When asked about his Christmas wish for his “boss,” he said he wishes for her good health.
“Basta kung saan siya masaya, doon tayo masaya. Gusto ko lang siya maging masaya. I will always support her. For 30 years na, walang pagbabago! Gano’n pa rin!”
Roots in showbiz
Taking us back to that moment 30 years ago when he first met her, he narrated how he was working as a DJ at a subway disco in Adriatico many years ago. She came in with Direk Elwood Perez and some producers as they were looking for a new face for their movie, ‘Pacita M.’ “It just happened that I was [literally] at their top, working as a DJ.”
He related the experience of being asked if he has any acting experience or if he knows how to act.
“Oo, marunong ako! Ang galing-galing ko nga e!” he quipped. “From that moment on, we had our working career. At that time, I was a rapper also. I was being managed by Francis Magalona. I decided to forgo my rapping career. When I became friends with Nora Aunor, I decided to focus on my acting career, but there came a time na para bang nahirapan ako, dahil ang daming tsismis! Hindi ko na tinuloy ang acting career ko. Sabi ko, hindi na ako mag-aartista. Kahit mag-bodyguard na lang ako sa ‘yo. Okay lang?‘ ‘Wag naman! Ang galing mong artista! Wag ka lang mawalan ng gana. Wag kang mawalan ng tiwala. Darating tayo diyan!’
“If you don’t put in the effort. If you quit—if wala kang tinanim, wala kang aanihin.”
“Minsan, matagal yan. Yung iba nga diyan, ang tagal-tagal nila. Their big break comes after years of hardship. And I think I’ve gone through enough years of hardship. I can safely say that I made the right decision.”
“Longevity ang habol namin dito. When my life is done, I’d have a resume of the works that I did that I can be proud of. Hindi yung sa sampung ginawa mo, nine ang sablay pero isa ang maganda. Lahat ng ginawa ko, maganda.”
Humble earning of awards
John is more than proud of the awards he received and acknowledges that it is better for other people to say if he is good in his career or not.
On top of his list of achievements include “Yung awards na binigay ng Star Music Awards for Best Country Music Song, for Best Rap Album noong 2011 under Polyeast. Yung mga pelikulang nagawa ko like ‘Pacita M.’ and yung kay Ronnie Ricketts na mga action movie… Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, mahiyain akong tao. Mas maganda if manggaling sa ibang tao. Nahihirapan nga akong magkuwento ng tungkol sa akin. I’m thankful that they recognize me.”
Just recently, he was awarded with ‘Gintong Parangal 2021 – Notable Filipino Music Artist of the Year. He was also the Outstanding Male Singer of the Year awardee at the 3rd Laguna Excellence Awards.
Now that we are easing out of the pandemic, he said that he is taking it step by step. “I don’t want to get a false sense of complacency. It’s not over yet.”
For now, his Christmas plan is to enjoy the holidays with his family and friends.
“Have a simple Christmas lang… What I really want is to have a good day. Every day is a good day,” he struck with a smile.
“I’m inviting all of you to listen to my newest single, ‘Baby, I’m Coming Home (on Christmas).’ I’m thankful for your giving me this opportunity to help promote this song and to share maybe a little bit too much of myself. Thank you so much.”
Listen to John Rendez’s latest single here: