Saturday, November 13, 2010


Happy days are here again for Nina

by Vanessa A. Balbuena

CEBU, Philippines - The Diamond Soul Siren not only entertained the crowd gathered at the Ayala Terraces’ “Think Pink Cocktails for a Cause” event with her originals and cover songs, she also shared her spotlight with the talented Cebuanos among the audience that night. Nina plucked out random people from their seats and did impromptu duets with a few gentlemen who turned out to be pleasant singers in their own right.

The concert, whose proceeds went to the iCanServe Foundation, was definitely a fun way of capping a month-long celebration of striving to be in the pink of health!

In a post-show interview, Nina said she is currently working on a new album that will hopefully be released by middle of January. "I only have two cover songs in there and the rest are originals. It's going to be sexy-soul which is like singing from the soul but when you hear it, there's a degree of sexiness to it. That's me 'eh. I'm really a singer that sings from the soul, bonus na lang 'yung sexy na part," shared the "ASAP" mainstay.

And because once upon a time, Nina was this unsure aspiring artist who almost let go of her dreams, she made certain to include in this latest project a song encouraging her listeners to pursue their goals despite adversities.

"Meron akong song dun na may message about not giving up on your dreams. Importante yun for me kasi ako, muntik na talaga akong mag-give up," she said.

It's a good thing she didn't because after her 2002 debut album "Heaven", Nina went on to sell multi-platinum records and make number one singles, released the fourth biggest-selling album in OPM history, and thus became the only female Diamond awardee in the Philippine music industry.

"I have changed a lot. From the time I came out with the 'Heaven' album, syempre bago pa lang ako nun at hindi pa ako confident and a lot of people were putting me down. I gained a lot of the confidence that I have now when I started gaining awards but not too much that it went to my head. It's confidence in my singing and performing and letting people know that I'm a singer."

On people putting her down earlier in her career, Nina elaborated on her experiences with the "palakasan" system in some networks. "For example, I wouldn't be given spots simply because new ako and there were people who were older than me that I guess were threatened. So imbes na ako ilagay, yung iba na lang."

Nina is content enough to be known simply as a singer; in fact, she's among the industry's rare personalities who have avoided crossing-over to acting, hosting and the like. All she wants to do is sing, she made that very clear.

When not doing shows, Nina keeps herself physically flexible and strong by going to ballet classes and playing a lot of tennis. Her advice to aspiring singers who wish to reach her achievements? "If this is what you always wanted to do, if this is your dream, don't lose hope. Go for it. Me, I almost gave up and if not for my faith and belief in God, I would have lost the hope that was left. So, keep on reaching for your dreams lang talaga."

Of her legal battle with ex-boyfriend Nyoy Volante's parents whom she filed an estafa case last year on grounds that they failed to pay her debts totaling to 1.4 million pesos, Nina said the case is doing okay but "medyo nagkaroon lang ng delay."

She and fellow singer Nyoy (who guests in "ASAP" every now and then) are still not on good terms, that's why there was no problem for her when another ex-BF Jimmy Bondoc, whom she's good friends with, composed the song "Utang" for his new album. The song is obviously a taunt to Nyoy.

"Before he recorded that song, he gave me the demo and nakakatawa siya. I'm not really afraid of any backlash from that because siguro it's not only for me but for everyone na nautangan din na nasaktan."

The court case and ex troubles notwithstanding, Nina revealed that she is in a happy place right now, what with a blossoming career and a stable relationship with a non-showbiz man. Asked to name a song that would best describe the current state of her heart, the pixie-haired singer lets out a small laugh before answering, "I'm happy with my life right now kaya 'Happy Days Are Here Again'..."